The small and medium business (SMB) market is fertile ground for breaking Research in Motion’s (RIM) corporate smart phone hegemony, new research by AMI-Partners (http://www.ami-partners.com) — which specializes in IT, Internet, telecommunications and business services strategy, venture capital, and actionable market intelligence –indicates. Apple’s iPhone, in particular, is making headway, especially with smaller businesses (SBs).
“The wealth of applications available for the iPhone makes it an attractive option for SBs,” says Karen Nielsen, senior telecom analyst with AMI. “Small businesses are less apt to have in-house IT support, making the application-rich iPhone an attractive multi-use option. mployees are driving a dual/multiple smart phone model by purchasing their preferred brand for personal reasons, and then using it for corporate access.”
AMI’s new study, “2010 The Dynamics of Blackberry & iPhone Use — U.S. SMB Market,” shows a solid Blackberry position along with a growing iPhone presence. Key findings include:
° The iPhone is making its way into the enterprise via employees, predominantly with SBs.
° SMBs with high Blackberry penetration tend to have in-house IT staffs.
° As the mobility features of smart phones become standard, features and applications will drive preference, especially among SMBs with little or no in-house IT support.
° In addition, the single vendor smart phone model within individual SMBs is fading.
According to Nielsen, “Employees are driving a dual/multiple smart phone model by purchasing their preferred brand for personal reasons, and then using it for corporate access.” This, in turn, is causing businesses to support multiple brands, so that employees don’t have to carry more than one device.
The study reveals that SMBs supporting multiple devices have unique characteristics, many of which are favorable for smart phone suppliers, application vendors and telcos. For example, SMBs with both Blackberries and iPhones have the highest average number of employees and the highest average revenues, and are more optimistic about their business growth: those SMBs with both iPhone and Blackberry phone use are the most likely to hire over the next year.
Vendors and retailers must prepare themselves for a multiple smart-phone environment among SMBs. This has already begun with Blackberry and iPhones. The landscape will only get more expansive with other compelling operating systems in the market.