On Sunday night I appeared on CTV Newschannel, answering the inevitable questions about Research In Motion and its future following the launch this week of BB10 and some new devices. Will the company survive? Yes. Can they continue to grow? Yes. Should companies force them on people? Hmmm.
The news anchor did not actually lob that one, but it would have been among the more interesting. For all the talk in the IT industry about “bring your own device” programs and the consumerization of IT, it’s not like companies across Canada have given the green light on employee choice. There are scores of organizations for which the BlackBerry remains the officially sanctioned mobile phone. The question is whether, once BB10 and the new BlackBerry phones hit the market, they will remain as such. As companies put pressure on IT departments to give staff more options in this area CIOs and their teams may not have much choice, but there are a few points worth remembering:
- The BlackBerry could streamline BYOD. People want to connect their iPhones or Android devices to the network, which concerns many organizations, but the BlackBerry Fusion software allows IT departments to create a more “compartmentatlized” experience whereby business data is locked down but a personal profile allows users to check Facebook and do their online banking.
- The apps are coming! The apps are coming! After making considerable outreach to developers, there are a lot of popular consumer apps coming to BB10. More important for IT departments, however, is the fact that major mobile software programs from Cisco, SAP, Box and many others is also expected to be a part of the launch. This follows RIM’s formation of the BlackBerry for Enterprise program. (Don’t go bother looking for the iPhone for Enterprise program at Apple. It doesn’t exist.)
- Transitional freebies: One of the biggest challenges RIM may have given itself with this launch is failing to make BB10 devices backwards-compatible with current versions of BlackBerry Enterprise Server (BES). Perhaps to sweeten the pie as it seeks to get enterprise customers to adopt BES 10, RIM has created the BlackBerry 10 Ready Offer, which will provide free BlackBerry 10 smartphones to organizations already leveraging BlackBerry Technical Support services at the Advantage level or higher. The offer, which expires Feb. 28 of next year, is good for one device per company, RIM said. Not a bad deal to cushion the blow of upgrading.
I should probably say here that I do not work for RIM, have none of its stocks or am otherwise invested in the company’s success. I am, however, interested in the success of Canadian IT professionals, and there are plenty of them that started their mobility strategy with the BlackBerry. If you need or want to continue down that road, there is a worthy argument to be made. Use these three times as a basis for beginning that argument.
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