iPhone smooths way for Mac in business

IT managers increasingly asked to support personal devices

Marketcircle CEO, Alykhan Jetha

Marketcircle CEO, Alykhan Jetha

Apple’s iPhone is helping to bring Mac technology into the small and medium business space, with workers pushing to have their devices integrated into the work practices.

IT managers are increasingly being asked to support mobile devices, even when the devices are not part of the standard operating environment. And the iPhone phenomenon is opening the door for other Mac technologies, according to Marketcircle chief executive officer, Alykhan Jetha.

Marketcircle is a Canadian-based application developer for Mac OS X and the iPhone. Its most successful product is business productivity management software, Daylite, which the company build to help its own business grow. Daylite operates on Mac OS X but the software is also available as handheld application, Daylite Touch, allowing businesses to sync an iPod Touch or iPhone. The application is free on the iPhone app store and users pay a license fee at the backend, a similar proposition to Saleforce.

Jetha, who has been in Australia for a series of seminars, said Daylite is based on the two principles required to grow a business: Bringing in new business and delivering on promises. He said the application is based on the productivity pyramid, which begins with a base of tasks and events, moves through a middle layer of people and builds to a top layer of opportunities, projects and objectives. The information can be shared so that users have greater visibility, or it can be customized according to roles. Syncing happens wirelessly.

“We also realised that different people have different orientations. In Daylite, everything is linked to everything else so they can see all the perspectives.

“We target between one and 50 users and the sweet spot is between three and 20. In Australia, something like 96 per cent of businesses are 19 people and below.”

Daylite is a Apple-only product, but it can still be integrated into companies that don’t run Macs by using a Mac Mini Server. Jetha said IT departments are having to adjust to the iPhone phenomenon, as end-users insist on using personal technology in the workplace.

“The end-user is now using their own handset at work and saying, 'deal with it'. We hear a lot of stories of people going and buying an iPhone with their own money and the IT department having to make it work.

“The Mac platform is more approachable. We’ve been noticing these smaller companies starting with Mac because they had it at home or they feel less intimidated by it. The other interesting thing is in days past, these advanced systems were used by large enterprise. That technology is trickling down and we’re now seeing enterprise capability as the sophistication of the technology is increasing. It’s really interesting to see so many people empowered.”

One of the benefits, according to Jetha, is that IT managers and integrators are having to be more open in the standards they choose. He likens it to the browser war that has led to a more open web.

“Look at open standards like HTML5, CSS, JSON and you’re in good shape,” he said.

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