With BlackBerry on life support, it's time to accept the likelihood that there won't be a BlackBerry a year from now. Your business be in for a rude awakening if it relies on the once-mighty smartphone for mobile communication and productivity.
You don't need to abandon BlackBerry immediately and run for the lifeboats, but you do need to know what your options are. Here are five things you should start thinking about now in order to prepare for a transition away from BlackBerry.
[ Also on InfoWorld: BlackBerry founders consider buying the beleaguered company. | iOS vs. Android vs. BlackBerry vs. Windows Phone -- see how mobile security measures up in each OS in InfoWorld's breakdown. | Keep up on key mobile developments and insights with the Mobilize newsletter. ]
1. If not BlackBerry, what?
If you've built your entire mobile ecosystem around BlackBerry, the first issue you need to address is which mobile platform (or platforms) you should switch to if BlackBerry ceases to be an option.
"Ownership matters," says John Dasher, vice president of product marketing for Good Technology "Assuming your BlackBerry devices are company-owned, is your go-forward plan the same? Or is BYOD in your future? Or maybe a mixture of the two options? The answer here potentially affects your security model and deployment plan."
Take a step back and consider why your business uses BlackBerry devices. Which BlackBerry features or benefits are most important to your business or your users? With those considerations in mind, you can compare Android, iOS, and Windows Phone to determine which platform(s) can best meet your needs.
2. Mobile device management
BlackBerry essentially invented the concept of mobile device management (MDM). BlackBerry Enterprise Server gives companies direct control over their mobile ecosystem, as well as the tools needed to provision, protect, and manage BlackBerry devices.
BlackBerry is unique among the major mobile device manufacturers in offering its own proprietary ecosystem. Android, iOS, and Windows Phone devices, in contrast, rely on the wireless service providers--and companies that use them have to invest in and implement some sort of third-party MDM system to manage it all.
If you want to switch from BlackBerry to Windows Phone, you're on your own. But if you choose to migrate to iOS, Android, or both, BlackBerry can help. It offers its customers BlackBerry Mobile Fusion, which extends the familiar BES environment so that it can manage Android and iOS devices along with BlackBerry hardware.
It's not a permanent solution, but BlackBerry Mobile Fusion gives you a short-term means of transitioning from BlackBerry by attrition. Eventually, however, you may still need to migrate to a third-party MDM.