BlackBerry is among several vendors hoping it has the magic pill to resolve corporate IT's mobile-management woes.
Enterprises continue to struggle with BYOD management, despite a plethora of available solutions and services designed to alleviate the pain.
During last week's Gartner ITxpo in Orlando, IT professionals told me BYOD ranked as one of their top concerns, right up there with recruiting and retaining top staff. Products are out there, but they're often expensive, said one technology exec at a four-state utility. He carried a BlackBerry for business and an iPhone for personal use, because he doesn't want to risk getting his own data erased. Most employees, however, wanted the convenience of one smartphone, but the preferred management provider's current price was too high, he said.
If negotiations worked, the utility planned to buy the solution. If not, it would pass and continue looking.
It's critical that companies figure out BYOD, executives agreed. Support calls, legal questions, brand image and employee retention hinge on getting it right, Jeff Holleran, senior director of enterprise product management at BlackBerry, told me. BlackBerry unveiled cloud-based, multi-platform BYOD management tools suited for organizations of all sizes. Designed to resemble the native OS, the enterprise mobility management service will be "cheaper than a cup of coffee on a subscription basis," said Holleran.
Standardize And Deliver
Kellogg Co. was in mobile chaos about a year ago: About 10,000 of its 17,000 knowledge workers used phones, and about 7,000 of them were BlackBerry devices, said Ken Thompson, director of IT workplace solutions. Another 1,000 were iPhones, and some users brought in iPads as well, he said.