It may not be considered an enterprise device, but there was an attention to consumer needs that could be instructive to IT leaders

There was no mention of mobile device management features. Nothing about how well it could handle enterprise applications. The word “security” was not spoken. Yet there was something in the launch of Motorola’s Moto-E smartphone on Tuesday that might teach CIOs something about creating value for users.

As expected, Motorola took the wraps of the Moto-E, a smartphone aimed to provide a balance between quality with a competitive price point of $179 without a contract. Though obviously not in the same stratosphere as Apple’s iPhone 5s or even the Samsung Galaxy S5, the Moto-E is being positioned by the company as a device that will resonate with mainstream consumers, while those with high-end needs could opt for the upgraded Moto-G that’s been designed for 4G LTE networks.

For CIOs who struggle to address the needs of users whose demands are strongly influenced by consumer technology, it’s worth taking a look at how the OEMs behind them prioritize the way they evolve.

According to Tony Iskander, who works on Motorola Canada’s go-to-market team, it all came down to the following:

Build: The Moto-E takes many of the same hardware approach of its Moto-X and Moto-G devices, including a curved design that’s intended to be easy to hold in the palm and used with one hand. “The design choices and attention to detail are what make the quality so desirable. It sets it apart from other smartphones in its class,” he said. CIOs may not actually design hardware, but paying similar attention to how devices will be physically handled could pay off if they need to chose smartphones as part of a corporately owned, personally enabled (COPE) program or even a support list of devices under a bring your own device (BYOD) program.

Power: Motorola is promising all-day battery life without worrying about plugging it in, thanks to a Qualcomm Snapdrgon dual-core processor. In a presentation that compared it to a Samsung Ace II, Iskander said the Moto-E would offer twice the available talk time on a single charge. CIOs may need to think more about battery life, and which employees will have the mobile usage patterns that demand that kind of performance.

Style: The Moto-E will be protected with Corning Gorilla Glass and an anti-smudge coating so that photos and videos will be crystal clear, Iskander said. Perhaps more importantly, it comes in a choice of black and white. That may not sound like a lot in terms of customization opportunities, but how many CIOs give that kind of choice in the devices they provide employees today?

Software: The Moto-E will be an Android KitKit machine, meaning it has the most up-to-date version of Google’s open source operating system. Iskander said the product would also be managed in “lock-step” with incremental Android upgrades, because consumers have told Motorola how much they hate having something that seems obsolete for current apps. The same is absolutely true in the business sphere. CIOs should be warned that this is the kind of experience they’re competing with.

It’s hard to say if the Moto-E will become one of the devices CIOs have to support — or worry about — but if they create a checklist based around build, power, style and software for their other projects, their chances at meeting expectations is bound to improve.

Any other key principles CIOs could learn from consumer technology? Share your ideas in the comments below.   

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