Melanie Turek's Blog

Companies Must Support Multiple Devices

22 Jan 2010 | by Melanie Turek
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One of the big themes at Lotusphere 2010 was the idea that the software must support multiple devices. Indeed, this was the top principal listed by Bruce Morse in his keynote on unified communications.

Usually when vendors talk about device support, they mean they want their apps to run on both PCs (Windows, Mac, Linux) and all the "leadin" mobile devices--and typically, those mobile devices are smartphones (Blackberry, iPhones, etc.). (Videoconferencing vendors will sometimes throw in desktop phones, too, but I don't know any knowledge workers bent on accessing their apps from a desk phone.) I couldn't agree more... but I also no that when it comes to real companies operating in the real world, multi-device support is a fiction.

That's because most enterprise IT departments pick one OS for their PCs, and one smartphone for their mobile workers. If you as an end user choose to run something else, Godspeed and good luck. This fact was recently brought home to me after I purchased a nifty new Droid Eris, only to discover I couldn't access my Lotus Notes account--not even through the web-based client. (The good news--at Lotusphere a kind developer took pity on me and made the darn thing work! Thanks, Ron!)

The funny thing is, this is true even within tech companies like IBM, which officially supports the Blackberry. IBM's iPhone users have created internal communities to figure out how to access all their nifty Lotus software from their trendy little device, without the help of IT support. Most companies don't frown on such antics; indeed, many, like IBM, encourage it. But I'm looking forward to the day when employees can really choose what the want to use--and not have to be or know a hacker to do it.