One of the more surprising results of the mobile revolution is the way that IT departments have lost their role as the providers of the technology. It's now just as likely that people will be doing business with personally owned devices, as they are to use devices issued by their employers.
As recently as five years ago, it was still expected that if an employee needed a mobile phone, the employer would provide it. If there was any integration with corporate systems, one would probably have had a BlackBerry and the IT department would have run one or more instances of its supporting platform, the BlackBerry Enterprise Server. The only exceptions to this model were those shops that had embraced other platforms, such as devices running Symbian or Windows Mobile. But in all these cases, the device was a phone with some e-mail and calendar features. Although third-party applications existed, they were at best cumbersome to install.
Today, that's no longer the case. It's increasingly common for people to bring their own devices into the business, and then expect IT to make them work with back-end systems. The credit -- or blame -- for this sea change in attitudes and expectations rests with Apple, thanks to the resounding success of the iPhone, and more recently, the iPad.
Chip Pearson, managing partner of JAMF Software, believes that iOS devices "are one of the most disruptive technologies that's come on, quicker than anything. We're seeing, really for the first time, the business driving the conversation, versus IT driving the conversation."