Feature Article

January 23, 2013

BlackBerry Enterprise Service 10 Now Available - RIM Joins the EMM Club

It is almost an “Et tu RIM?” moment – Research in Motion is now fully on board with the latest enterprise buzzwords: enterprise mobility management (EMM). It’s almost sad that we won’t have BlackBerry Fusion to kick around anymore, although BB Fusion was deployed just about as often as cold fusion has been (ok, well, maybe that isn’t fair - deployment has been a bit more than zero). In any case, RIM is now engaged with proper 2013 enterprise terminology.

What are we referring to here? RIM has announced that Blackberry Enterprise Service 10 (BB ES 10) is now available for general download to all of its enterprise customers – which is a big deal, in that it means Blackberry 10 is finally real. It has been an enormously long time in coming and as RIM prepares to go global with it next week, it is good to see direct and irrefutable proof of its existence. CEO Thorsten Heins looks to have RIM on schedule at long last and it looks to us that he has also finally righted a ship that was previously full of potential mutineers.

But…before we detail what exactly RIM released today, let’s take a moment to note something that we weren’t particularly thrilled to hear about. The company’s long standing yearly conference, which underwent a name change to Blackberry World last year and has now undergone another name change to BlackBerry Live, has been scheduled for May 14 through May 16 this year. Typically, the event has happened earlier in May. So?

Here’s the thing – Google is scheduled to hold its annual worldwide developers’ conference the same week, and which will run May 15 through May 17, 2013. In the old days, this would have smacked strongly of Lazaridis and Balsillie hubris to do such a ridiculous thing. So perhaps we need to toss in here, “Et tu Thorsten?” Why RIM has chosen to challenge Google head on in this way – given all of Heins’ practical and mostly smart moves to date – is impossible to fathom. Which of these two events will we be attending? Yesterday, we would have said both. Today we’re left saying it’s going to be Google’s event.

While it is true that BlackBerry Live (and its previous incarnations) has traditionally been specifically focused on RIM’s enterprise customers, and that RIM’s enterprise business will be central to any recovery the company may pull off in 2013, it fails to take into account that Google will no doubt have significant Android, Nexus and Motorola news to share.

Or maybe RIM is taking this into account and believes it can hold its own? Does anyone seriously doubt where the bulk of the media attention is going to go? Or what consumers – who will also be a key part of RIM’s recovery, will pay attention to? Thorsten – RIM is shooting itself in the foot ala Lazaridis and Balsillie with this move.

BlackBerry Enterprise Service 10

RIM now refers to BB ES 10 as its EMM solution and the product is now available for immediate download, along with a 60 day free trial period. The new platform brings together mobile device management (MDM), various enterprise security capabilities, and mobile applications management (MAM) for all BlackBerry products – tablets, older BB 6 and BB 7 devices, and of course the new BB 10 smartphones that will be launched on January 30, 2013, as well as Android and iOS devices, into a single integrated enterprise management solution.

BB ES 10 should prove to be highly scalable, and through the inclusion of support for devices that are not BlackBerry devices, will provide BlackBerry enterprise customers with flexibility to manage a wide range of mobile deployments, all through a single integrated admin console. These enterprise devices will be represented by a large mix of corporate- and user-liable (BYOD) hardware. BB ES 10 also supports BlackBerry Balance, RIM’s product that creates separate and secure work applications and data from personal content on all BlackBerry devices.

BB ES 10 delivers management controls for securing and managing employee work profiles, including hierarchical group management with Active Directory integration, support for customizable administrative roles at a very granular level, an intuitive enterprise enrollment process for employees that offers a self-service console and, of course, centralized control of assignable profiles for e-mail, SCEP, Wi-Fi, VPN and proxy servers.

RIM has also put into play “BlackBerry World for Work,” a new corporate app storefront specifically for BlackBerry 10 smartphones, that organizations will be able to use to easily manage apps for employees. Administrators can push and install an organization’s mandatory apps to both corporate and personal-owned devices and publish them as needed.

It should all sound familiar – most of the MDM/MAM vendors offer the same collections of functionality. The key difference is that if an enterprise is also a RIM shop, it will no longer need to use third party MDM/MAM platforms on top of RIM’s services.

Peter E. Lesser, director of global technology at Skadden, Arps, Slate, Meagher & Flom LLP notes that, “We’ve been testing BlackBerry 10 and BlackBerry Enterprise Service 10 in our environment and we’re pleased with the manageability, security and reliability that the solution offers, along with expanded management capabilities to other devices within our network. BlackBerry has been a trusted partner of ours for many years, and we’re excited to implement BlackBerry Enterprise Service 10 in our organization.”

BlackBerry Enterprise Service 10 (as well as client access licenses) is now available on a limited 60 day free trial. As well, through the BlackBerry 10 Ready Program existing RIM customers can take advantage of a free license trade up program, which RIM is making available through December 31, 2013.

Blackberry 10 is finally becoming real. There has been very little hype under Heins leadership, a good bit of being humble about the world RIM now lives in (though it’s a pity about Blackberry Live intersecting with Google’s developer event), but as well there has been a great deal of promise from Heins. BB 10 ES is the first step to fulfilling that promise.

Next week we’ll see if RIM can deliver on the devices as well.

Edited by Brooke Neuman

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