While BlackBerrys were once ubiquitous, if not downright necessary in the halls of corporate America, the advent of the iPhone changed the way employees use and interact with their smartphones in a fundamental way. While the BlackBerry may be the consummate email device, employees today want their work phones to offer the same benefits afforded to them by their personal smartphones. This means access to apps and a rich web browsing experience.
That said, Clorox CIO Ralph Loura recently explained that when he took over 1 year ago, the company was “standardized on clunky Windows 2000 desktop computers and Blackberry mobile phones.”
As a result, employee satisfaction with the IT team was less than stellar.
Realizing that the workforce of 2011 has much loftier expectations from their technology than, say, the workforce of 2001, Loura decided to modernize Clorox’s technology and give users much more choice.
So, gone were the antiquated Windows 2000 PCs, replaced by new HP towers and laptops.
Even more interesting was Loura’s revamping of the company’s smartphone policy. No longer were employees forced to tote around company issued BlackBerrys. Rather, employees were now given a choice between an iPhone, an Android device, or a Windows Phone 7 device. To date, the company has issued 2,000 smartphones, with an impressive 92% of them being iPhones. 6% of issued smartphones were Android handsets while 2% were Windows Phone 7 devices.
“We live in public cloud for mail and messaging. I don’t have to worry about security because I don’t sync data to the iPhones. It remains in the cloud,” he said.
“My job is about how to be the chief risk officer, yet provide choice and flexibility. It’s about putting apps and logistics in the cloud and pushing the user interface to the edge,” Loura continued.
While inconclusive and often conflicting marketshare studies have led some to believe that Android is already on its victory lap, perpetually leaving the iPhone in second place, the reality is that demand for the iPhone has increased substantially with each successive release. The 92% figure above merely underscores that all things being equal, there’s a good chance that most folks would prefer an iPhone above all else. The reality, though, is that Android does provide a wider selection of handsets, and more importantly, more attractive entry points, with some carriers offering free Android handsets in exchange for 2-year contracts.
The iPhone v. Android battle will clearly rage on, but the real loser in all of this is RIM took too long to appreciate that employees are now demanding a lot more from their device than robust email functionality. IT isn’t running the show anymore. The employees have spoken and are choosing non-RIM handsets quite emphatically.
In any event, Loura also explained that Clorox, like a number of other companies, is also exploring rolling out iPads and is already testing the iPad with a select group of employees.
“What I want [to do is] figure out how to take that business intelligence app or workflow app and figure out way to have it be accessed in an intuitive way from the iPad,” Loura explained.