BoxTone's mobile management product now supports any smartphone that connects to ActiveSync. Examples of devices that work with ActiveSync include:

  • Windows Mobile devices
  • BlackBerry devices
  • iPhone
  • Palm Pre
  • Some Android devices, such as the Motorola CLIQ, the HTC Hero, and the Samsung Galaxy

"The big news is that BoxTone is now BlackBerry++, and BoxTone is now supporting as a part of the platform any ActiveSync device, which brings in iPhone, Palm Pre, Nokia soon, and other types of devices--Windows Mobile would be a given for that," said Brian Reed, chief marketing officer of BoxTone. "Anything that is connecting to the enterprise through ActiveSync, we now have the ability to manage, monitor, and support."

BoxTone offers a number of mobility management "modules" within its base suite, so you can pick and choose from capabilities such as compliance management, expense management, and user self-service. I wrote about BoxTone's User Self-Service module a few months back, and you can also check out the company website for more information about all its offerings.

Multi-Platform is the Future
As I discussed with BoxTone and have mentioned in previous articles, multi-platform is the future of mobile implementations in organizations. While it might be simple and easy to simply say "Only implement BlackBerry devices, please!", it's really not realistic in an age where a mobile phone is an identity statement as much as a networking device.

But this is about a lot more than executives demanding IT supports their iPhone so they can be cool and hip. There are practical reasons why certain employees might want the social networking integration from a Palm Pre or Motorola CLIQ, while another individual must have an app that's only available in the iPhone App Store. (And keeping the head honchos happy can't hurt either.) Fortunately, many mobile management companies are recognizing this need, and supporting a variety of such devices. In what implementations I've seen, such as BoxTone's, it seems like managing various platforms shouldn’t be that difficult for the business or IT once one of these products is put in place. Most of the manual work has already been done by the vendor.

Open the Floodgates?
So this begs the question of whether organizations should even have a standard mobile OS. That probably depends on a variety of factors, mostly involving economies of scale and bulk phone deals and bulk carrier plans. For instance, if your organization has a corporate carrier plan with Verizon, then supporting iPhones will be more expensive than another smartphone, since that user will have to have an individual plan. So, if your organization is large enough to take advantage of bulk deals, it makes sense to stick with one dominant and default carrier.

Mobile is Huge and Growing
The bigger message is that mobility is the 2,000 lb elephant in the room, and organizations can't ignore it. Whether you have a corporate plan, an open-ended plan, have employees provide their own devices, or a mix of all of the above, this sector is constantly changing, and the financial, legal, and security implications can be staggering. Carefully asses your corporate strategy to select devices, management platforms, and bulk plans to best suffice your needs.

Articles linked in this story: