Enterprises run to catch up with employee smart phone trends

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Employees are insistent on using the phones they like best regardless of which devices their companies support, according to new research commissioned in the U.S. and U.K. by Good Technology, a provider of technology that allows enterprises to securely run applications on any phone.

According to the report, 80 percent of enterprises say their employees have been clamoring for new mobile options in the last year, particularly the iPhone, Android and Palm Pre phones. The iPhone is leading the way with 82 percent of respondents reporting requests for the phone (see below for more data on this). But companies are reluctant to adopt these changes, citing budget limitations, unnecessary application updates and security concerns as justification. About 28 percent of the companies surveyed by Good Technology said they had experienced a security breach related to employees using unsupported devices on the job. But a little under half said they would authorize their staffers to use phones of their choosing if security and interoperability could be assured.

This is great news for Good Technology, which provides this exact solution. Its lead product, Good for Enterprise, assures enterprises that they can securely communicate with their employees through a variety of channels. It provides the same level of safety enjoyed by the Department of Defense and the Department of Homeland Security, the Redwood City, Calif. company says. Specifically, employees are able to receive email and run applications on any device. Before now, Good for Enterprise only made these capabilities available on devices running Symbian and Windows Mobile operating systems.

With so many developers and startups building enterprise applications that run on firewalled corporate networks — including the avalanche of software-as-a-service offerings that do everything from billing to tracking employees in the field — software like Good for Enterprise will only become more critical for companies large and small. Increasingly, people want to be able to access all the information they need for work and their personal lives on one device.

In May of this year, Good Technology purchased Intercasting, a developer of cell phone software that aggregates social networking data. The deal brought it in direct competition with Blackberry maker Research in Motion, and made it a more formidable contender in the mobile email business.

Good is a spin-off from Motorola that teamed up with Visto. It went on to raise $220 million from Advanced Equity, Bank of America Venture Partners, Benchmark Capital, Broadview Capital Partners, Crosslink Capital, Kleiner Perkins Caufield & Byers, k1 Ventures and Scale Ventures. It also pulled in the $315 million raised by Visto from Allegis Capital, Blueprint Ventures, Bessemer Venture Partners, Draper Fisher Jurvetson, DFJ ePlanet Ventures, GKM Venture Partners, Meritech Capital Partners, New Enterprise Associates, Oak Investment Partners and Rustic Canyon Ventures.

Here’s the breakdown of phones that employees want most, according to Good Technology’s survey of enterprises in the U.S. and the U.K.:

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