Most of your company's employees lose touch with each other and with your customers when they're not wired to the network. Whether they're at the airport, taking a child to the doctor, stuck in traffic, or waiting for an off-site meeting to start, they're outside the reach of corporate e-mail and collaboration systems.
The cost of a BlackBerry is easily justified for those workers who can't ever be without e-mail, and those who need such a device will use it religiously. Less dedicated users will not carry the BlackBerry everywhere they go or set it to alert them to the arrival of every new e-mail. However, almost all your workers already carry cellular phones, and they're always on. Why not use cheap, plentiful cell phones to send urgent e-mail to employees?
Using System Seven software from Seven Networks, Sprint and Cingular are helping companies do just that. For $10 per month, any Sprint or Cingular Web-enabled phone — just about every device the operators sell — can be used to securely access your company e-mail, directory, and scheduling services. Your employees and you don't have to install any server or client software, yet your company retains complete control over the provisioning and monitoring of each device. Seven Networks' solution isn't just a smart and affordable approach to mobile e-mail; it's a great model for subscription-based outsourced services.
Pay as you go
If you haven't heard of Seven Networks, don't be surprised. The company licenses its technology only to cellular operators and allows each operator to brand it as its own. In the
The setup is easy because all the server infrastructure is hosted by the operator. The subscribing company arranges a secure connection (typically using VPN, but other options exist) from its existing Exchange or Domino mail server to the cellular provider's operations center. The operator's staff, trained by Seven, guides IT through the process.
Once the link is activated, the operator provides the subscribing company with access to System Seven's Web-based provisioning and reporting console. To be added to the messaging system, a user’s mobile device must have a WAP (Wireless Application Protocol) browser and be set up with a rate plan that includes Internet access. The System Seven console lets a company's IT administrator add and remove users, and change their access rights.
Sprint's PCS Business Connection, Personal Edition (Cingular doesn't yet offer a comparable service) installs gateway software on an individual user's desktop PC. The gateway creates a secure tunnel through the company's firewall to Sprint's operations center. The Seven gateway accesses Notes or Exchange from the desktop and relays the data to the mobile user. Each desktop must be left on and Personal Edition connections can't be centrally managed.