One of those resources is Vox Mobile, which originally focused on enterprise BlackBerry deployments but now specializes in a full range of consulting, procurement, deployment, management, and support services for large-scale mobile deployments, regardless of the OS platform. For BlackBerry, Vox also currently hosts webinars and information briefings aimed at enterprise IT staff contemplating the move to BES 10 and the new BlackBerry 10 devices.
Reclaiming the enterprise?
The challenge BlackBerry now faces in the enterprise is reflected in how Vox itself has changed since it was spun out of its parent company in 2006, one year before Apple unveiled the iPhone, and changed everyone's idea of what mobility was. At that time, "BlackBerry was the only thing going on in enterprise mobility, and we got very good at it," says Jim Haviland, chief marketing officer for Vox.
But for BlackBerry and other mobile phone vendors, such as Nokia, within a few years sales began falling fast as Apple's iOS devices, first iPhones then iPads, began an unprecedented growth in the enterprise. The advent of Android devices accelerated this shift. Vox followed the market and now offers services to support enterprise deployments for these rival mobile platforms.
"Eighteen months ago, BlackBerry didn't offer a platform for [modern] mobile application development," says Haviland. "And that was next wave of productivity: apps for accessing information, and for collecting it and sharing it, often automatically."
Companies that saw this link -- between apps and new productivity opportunities -- then made tactical decisions, looking at 12- or 18-month horizons, to embrace iOS and Android as the basis for creating new mobile apps to transform the way employees worked, according to Haviland. With BlackBerry 10, the new handsets, a panoply of development tools and aggressive outreach to developers, and a revamped server infrastructure, BlackBerry can now finally offer a competitive mobile platform, according to Vox's Haviland and Wilson.
BES 5 is the first step to BES 10
For the many enterprises that currently run the older BES 4 release, the first step will be upgrading to BES 5, which is "much more robust, and introduces high availability, and features like BlackBerry Balance," says Vox's Wilson. Balance is software that lets a BlackBerry user separate and secure business apps and data and personal apps and data. With BB10, its now "baked into" the new line of BlackBerry devices.
That upgrade, Haviland says, is straightforward. "It's not a major break or shift: They're just updating their existing BES as they have in the past," he says.
"For a lot of companies, the [existing] BlackBerry 6 and 7 devices and their services are still the corporate standard," Haviland says. "They're reliable, secure, rock solid, they work great, and they're nearly free."
The BlackBerry 10 devices, co-existing with iOS and Android, need more, which is where BlackBerry Enterprise Service 10 comes in. Adding BES 10 means installing two new BlackBerry server programs (in May, BlackBerry will release a single integrated product) and accepting a new level of complexity, according to Wilson.