Last week, Research In Motion unveiled its strategy targeting business users in the coming year, called BlackBerry for Business. While RIM has always focused on enterprise users, it’s renewing its commitment to businesses. “Consumer adoption is important,” says Alec Taylor, VP of software, services, and enterprise at RIM, “but the enterprise is fundamentally different.”
I met with Taylor last week in New York City, and he outlined ongoing changes in the enterprise space and what RIM is doing to support them.
With more 250,000 BlackBerry Enterprise Servers deployed worldwide, it is clear that BlackBerry is a force in the corporate world. RIM wants to use this enterprise penetration and mobility to drive business transformation.
“Enterprises are under pressure to perform,” Taylor says. “Business imperatives have transformed technology needs, and BlackBerry can help.”
One key transformation that Taylor sees in 2011 is that of the role of CIO. “The CIO will transform into the strategic advisor for business,” he says. Once only used to cut costs and make decisions by automating business processes, CIOs are now in a position to make strategic decisions.
With corporations drowning in data, he says, CIOs are able to help employees deal with these complexities through effective collaboration. BlackBerry Super Apps are notification-driven native apps that fill this need by delivering the appropriate information to the appropriate users—only when the user needs it.
Enterprises are also transforming technologically. Whereas they used to plan for the long term while managing risks, now companies are driving experimentation by pushing IT to the edge of the business and taking advantage of the cloud, with no compromises. BlackBerry can help drive this transformation with products that are on the horizon, such as on-premise and cloud solutions, partner solutions, and enabling technologies.
BlackBerry touches each part of the enterprise mobility landscape through hardware (smartphones and tablets), software and services, applications, and enterprise services. As such, RIM believes it offers a complete solution for mobilizing an enterprise. Below are some of the products and services coming in 2011.
BlackBerry Enterprise Server 5.0.3
Launching in early 2011, BES 5.0.3 will enable full support for employee-owned BlackBerry smartphones at work through BlackBerry Balance. It will contain encrypted attachment support and support for assigning Wi-Fi and VPN policies to groups of users. It will wipe only work data and applications when a user leaves the company, and it removes the corporate IT policies from the device itself. BES 5.0.3 will prevent users from compromising corporate data by preventing data porting to personal applications on the device. It will control and encrypt work data stored on a media card in the device.
BlackBerry Mobile Voice System
Version 5.0.2 of the BlackBerry Mobile Voice System (MVS) will launch in early 2011. It will allow a user to have one office phone identity by enabling voice over Wi-Fi (VoWi-Fi) calling. It has flexible move call features, extension dialing, and one voicemail box. It will include support for a variety of PBX systems.
Version 5.1 will be available later in 2011, with automatic handoff between Wi-Fi and mobile transports, new BlackBerry MVS client features, and platform enhancements enabling third-party ISVs to develop BlackBerry MVS extensions and applications.
MDaemon Messaging Server, BlackBerry Edition
Launching in early 2011, this business e-mail system will have built-in enterprise-class BlackBerry support. This is an on-premise solution with features similar to Exchange. It allows BlackBerry administration via the MDaemon console and allows for an unlimited number of BlackBerry users. It has BlackBerry security, management, and controls, and it also installs support applications. It has over-the-air and wired activation options.
BlackBerry Client for Microsoft SharePoint
Launching in early 2011, the BlackBerry Client for Microsoft SharePoint allows users to securely manage documents and share SharePoint calendar events while on the go. It integrates with BlackBerry applications and is optimized using underlying BlackBerry Enterprise Application Middleware (BEAM) technology.
BlackBerry Enterprise Application Middleware (BEAM)
BEAM enables push alerts/notifications to client side applications. In addition, it makes device information available to server side applications. Server side apps can query devices on demand if necessary. Large files can be moved to the server from the BlackBerry and back while masking the complexity of the task.
Cloud-Based Mobile Device Management for BlackBerry
Launching later in 2011, this Web-based console is a small business extension of BlackBerry Internet Service. It is designed for small organizations that use ISP or hosted e-mail solutions and allows for central management of e-mail or employees. It also allows for central management of BlackBerry Protect features such as lock, wipe, send message, and backup/restore.
BlackBerry Enterprise Server – Architectural Changes
The new architecture of the BES is designed for the cloud. The version of BES launching later this year will be able to support multiple corporations with one server. It will have significant scalability improvements and flexible deployment options to support both cloud and on-premise e-mail and application access. The open messaging interface will enable the new BES variants to be created by third parties.
With all of these new offerings coming in 2011, BlackBerry renews its focus on the enterprise, making it easier for corporations to build and support mobile enterprise applications as well as manage employee-liable devices, guiding businesses through this mobile transformation.