Government // Mobile & Wireless
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1/29/2013
08:27 AM
John McGreavy
John McGreavy
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BlackBerry 10 Has This CIO Singing Taylor Swift

My enterprise will give the new BlackBerry 10 and BES careful consideration, but it appears our RIM romance is over.

My IT organization was ready to roll out an Android and Apple BYOD program, having conceded that Research In Motion and its BlackBerry had been left in the innovation dust. But Sam, our CEO, suggested I "socialize" the new BYOD strategy with our management group before proceeding.

As I thought more about our situation, I decided to weather the "When can I use my iPhone/Galaxy?" storm a bit longer and delay our BYOD plans. The mobile device management landscape is changing constantly, and buying a bit more time seemed like a good idea.

We still run numerous BlackBerry Enterprise Servers, and we haven't given up on RIM. We have technicians who are steeped in the BES platform, so we understand how to run this engine, which has been a reliable one for years. And while many of our employees have personal Android and Apple smartphones, our company standard is still the BlackBerry. What we want is an easy, cost-effective transition to a far richer mobile experience, so if an MDM system could help us manage Apple, Samsung, LG, HTC and other devices effectively, we 'd have a clear path forward.

However, I just can't imagine RIM launching a smartphone and management platform that's provocative enough to gain my attention. Taylor Swift's catchy tune rings in my head: "We are never ever ever getting back together."

[ For perspective on what users want from RIM, see BlackBerry 10: 6 Ways To Win Back Consumers. ]

Even if RIM is able to convince me that it has exactly what we need, how long could it sustain its new product strategy? There's ample evidence to suggest that RIM is quite capable of mishandling good fortune. Sure, founders and former co-CEOs Jim Balsillie and Mike Lazaridis have moved on, but current CEO Thorsten Heins's early comment that RIM largely had a "marketing problem" still irritates me. I have little confidence that even if its new BlackBerry device and server innovations are successful, RIM has the ability to innovate at the speed the market expects.

Despite all of the hype and the numerous invitations I've received to launch events, I'm not entirely clear on what my company will get from the new BlackBerry device, BES services and BlackBerry World app store. I've taken a quick look at RIM's website to get an idea of where this might be headed:

"BlackBerry World now gives you access to more of what you love. Download apps, games, music, videos, books, magazines and more. Plus, the new BlackBerry World storefront gives you recommendations so it's easy to find something new."

None of that seems groundbreaking. It's also not relevant to me as a CIO. Where is my enterprise partner, which understands my security, risk and cost-control needs?

It's tempting to look only at what BES 10 will do, but additional benefit comes from the transition strategy: What will it take to get from here to there? I'm looking for a transition that takes advantage of my existing staff's knowledge and capabilities. RIM would hold an advantage with a low-impact plan to convert to BlackBerry 10.

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I've also come to appreciate the granularity of control BES gives us. We need to manage the propensity for employees to use their company-paid device for non-business activities. I'm not looking for simple on-device management that the user controls.

I'm very concerned that more functional devices will lead to much higher usage costs. Our employees travel quite a bit, so roaming costs are a serious issue. The current BlackBerry excels at little else other than email, helping to keep roaming costs in check. We have seen enormous usage increases with Android and Apple devices. Will BES 10 allow for some serious control? Help me, RIM.

Regardless of how successful BB 10 is, we have other devices in play and will have more going forward. RIM says its Fusion MDM platform will manage it all, but I don't see support of rival products making it to the top of the company's development plan. An independent provider will do a much better job of following the market.

Many of the BB 10 invitations I'm receiving are coming from carriers, RIM's best friends. After all, where would RIM be without them? Like most companies we have significant communications contracts with different carriers, which can bundle products in ways that create value for us. This structure gives RIM an advantage of easy access to enterprises. Maybe the carriers will add something new to the mix, like bundled pricing advantages that we don't see for Apple and Android devices.

If RIM knocks it out of the park, I'll pay attention. We're definitely slowing down our smartphone migration plans to get a seat in the bleachers for the RIM show. But I won't be waiting for long. We have opportunities to pursue. Apple and Google drive the application innovation we're looking for. And the independent MDM providers are beginning to deliver the management functionality needed to harness those innovations for enterprise use.

As much as I would like to see RIM succeed, I have little faith that the company can sustain any momentum it might gain from this latest product rollout. I just don't see us getting back together.

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technews2103
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technews2103,
User Rank: Apprentice
2/2/2013 | 7:51:40 PM
re: BlackBerry 10 Has This CIO Singing Taylor Swift
Great point you make ... FYI - BES10/BB10 with Balance is truly the closest to a perfect answer, you should really check it out or check some demos of Blackberry balance
moarsauce123
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moarsauce123,
User Rank: Ninja
1/31/2013 | 5:56:29 PM
re: BlackBerry 10 Has This CIO Singing Taylor Swift
You might like it for good reasons, but do your users like it? There is a reason why nobody cares about Phone 8 and why Win8 is a flop.
AustinIT
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AustinIT,
User Rank: Apprentice
1/30/2013 | 8:05:51 PM
re: BlackBerry 10 Has This CIO Singing Taylor Swift
Have they what?

Perhaps you should re-read my post - more carefully this time.
Tony Kontzer
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Tony Kontzer,
User Rank: Apprentice
1/30/2013 | 7:25:59 PM
re: BlackBerry 10 Has This CIO Singing Taylor Swift
It sure seems to me like Blackberry, in turning its focus slightly away from the enterprise and toward the consumer, is following the market. The BYOD trend is so pervasive that worker-consumers have much more power than ever in determining what device they use for work. Blackberry is trying to appeal to that shift--attract the users, and the enterprises will follow. If they're attracted to what BB has done, McGreavy and other CIOs in his place will be able to leverage their existing BB investments. If, however, they scoff at the new BB and remain true to their iPhones and Android devices, then McGreavy and his peers will be following Taylor Switft's refrain.

Tony Kontzer
InformationWeek Contributor
Laurianne
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Laurianne,
User Rank: Author
1/30/2013 | 6:07:52 PM
re: BlackBerry 10 Has This CIO Singing Taylor Swift
No Taylor Swift at the launch event today: Alicia Keys is the new BlackBerry spokesperson. She promised to work on the "female side" of BlackBerry. That prompted some fun in the Twitter-verse. Since when do smartphones have male and female sides? What else did the Twitter-verse say about the launch? It did not speak much to enterprise transition issues -- so I expect our Secret CIO will be singing the blues on that front,
Frank Castle
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Frank Castle,
User Rank: Apprentice
1/30/2013 | 5:34:07 PM
re: BlackBerry 10 Has This CIO Singing Taylor Swift
Have they? To date I've had 3 people out of 25k ask about supporting Windows Phone. It's a failure like 6,7 and 7.5

The market is ignoring Microsoft and Windows 8
Frank Castle
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Frank Castle,
User Rank: Apprentice
1/30/2013 | 5:26:57 PM
re: BlackBerry 10 Has This CIO Singing Taylor Swift
Seeing we're already doing a BES+1 model and have a BYOD program I found your post interesting.

We're already using BB10 and BES 10 and its still quite a nice combo. You already have BES and likely some extra BES CAL's - RIM allows you to convery those for no cost so outside of spinning up another virtual server what do you lose?

A few things from running our other MDM (we use Good Technology)

- It does half of what BES does for double the cost
- Everything with iOS is either not supported or coming at some later point
- Apple provides zero enterprise support. Get friendly with your local Apple store if you have one. They do have some AppleCare options now for enterprise but it's nothing like Blackberry T-Support or other traditional enterprise support tiers.

Regarding BYOD we're found more employees choose the corporate Blackberry for a few reasons overlooked in all the BYOD hype.

- Personal privacy matters
- Extra cost matters
- NOMD syndrom

We choose not to stipend due to the tax implications so the appeal of paying for their own device isn't high on most employees mind. It's a cost shift and they know it. It's really troublesome when they travel with their personal device and need to use it for work. We've seen data bills in the thousands of dollars that corporate has washed their hand of. Make sure you have clear policy around reimbursiment or provide loaner devices. Any employee that does international travel will use a Blackberry - period. It's just cheaper.

Employees do NOT want things enforced on their device, I hear about the password and timeout every week. They also have a Not on my Device attitude. BYOD is about compromise and after reading our BYOD terms and conditions just don't bother. So best case you convert 20-30% of your corporate liable to BYOD, your taking a hit on carrier incentives, standing up another MDM and the expense of that all for a few employees who are likely primarily using their device for non work reasons and putting your data into all types of Apps.

Best of luck!
AustinIT
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AustinIT,
User Rank: Apprentice
1/30/2013 | 3:41:12 PM
re: BlackBerry 10 Has This CIO Singing Taylor Swift
Yes, Microsoft was late to the game... with a competitive product. Now, their problem is one of marketing. Not a core strength in my opinion.

With that said, I use a Windows Phone and I love it for the reasons you pointed out. It does every thing I need it to do. Plus, it runs Office365 and Office Web apps which the other platforms have a struggle with.

When I show it to Apple and Android users, they are all amazed. However, once you are on a platform, it's hard to switch gears. This is a war that MS had better be prepared to fight for a long time because none of the platforms are particularly weak now. You have to cultivate your followers carefully.
AustinIT
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AustinIT,
User Rank: Apprentice
1/30/2013 | 3:35:04 PM
re: BlackBerry 10 Has This CIO Singing Taylor Swift
Heins claims that BB has a marketing problem. One that McGreavy confirms as he explains in so many words that BB is NOT in close communication with their existing shops. At least not to the degree that they should be - if customer retention happened to be top of mind these days.

BB also has a conflict of interest when it comes to their MDM solution. To avoid that, they should spin that division off if they still think their core business is phones.

Lastly, they have huge "trust" issues going forward. This is actually more of a problem than their failure to lead the market on the innovation front.
JimC
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JimC,
User Rank: Apprentice
1/30/2013 | 12:52:40 PM
re: BlackBerry 10 Has This CIO Singing Taylor Swift
Is Microsoft simply late to this game with Win8 Phone or are they a non-contender today and in the future? I kind of like their pitch of one operating system for my business needs across the desktop, laptop, tablet and smartphone platforms.
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