BlackBerry - The Grandfather of MDM taken for granted.

By Robert Stirling mobility expert at Telefónica UK.

My role within the Enterprise Mobility team at Telefonica UK is to help our BlackBerry customers on their journey from the traditional BlackBerry solutions – that’s the BlackBerry Enterprise Server V5 (BES) and BlackBerry 7 (BB7) OS devices – to the latest supported enterprise handsets and Enterprise Mobility Management platforms.

BES V5 has been declared as end of life by BlackBerry and will only be supported for the next 18 months. The traditional BB7 BlackBerry handsets have also reached the end of their manufacturing life and are no longer being made. In fact, our last shipment of new BB7 devices was during the first quarter of this year.

As many of our customers’ hands have been forced by the decision from BlackBerry, I’m starting to see a few key themes emerging.

First there’s the ‘I didn’t know it did that’.

BlackBerry as a platform is more than just push email, talk, text and that little red flashing light. It’s a secure platform and extension of the corporate network to a mobile device. Therefore by default it routes all traffic – e.g. internet browsing and app downloads via the corporate network so all traffic being requested by the device can be logged for auditing and compliance purposes.This is crucial if your organisation happens to be regulated by Government, Education or Financial authorities.

I’ve seen many organisations take this clever BlackBerry facility for granted, yet it’s not supported by default on modern smartphone devices. It’s actually caused a few of my customers to become unstuck.

There’s also the “Why are we getting so many user accounts locked?”

You’ll be pleased to know it’s probably not an attempt to breach your network with a brute force attempt at guessing user passwords, it’s probably due to a user changing their Active Directory password and not realising they also need to update it on their new shiny smartphone – the same goes for their tablet too. It happens because users never needed to do this on their trusty BlackBerry, it did it all for them in the background. What’s more with some users having up to 5 devices this can become quite a labour intensive task.

It’s a common problem that all stems from taking the BES 5 for granted. There are a wide range of authentication methods for mobile devices that will resolve this issue, you just need to make sure that the issue isn’t overlooked.

Finally there’s the ‘Why have my data costs spiked?’

When switching from a fixed price BlackBerry tariff to a standard smartphone tariff there are a number of considerations, not least data usage. Smartphones provide your workforce with access to millions of feature rich applications; fantastic for both end user experience and the productivity of your business. The downside is these applications can consume large amounts of data quickly without any realisation from the end user.

With Mobile Data Optimisation from O2, organisations can setup policies at a network and SIM level to ‘throttle’ the amount of data that can be used, be it on third party applications, social networking or mapping. These policies can be configured to  allow access to corporate services without restricting the user experience.

How we’re helping our customers through this journey.

Our BlackBerry Options programme is about understanding the business requirements of your organisation. It covers; security and compliance, device and platform, application and service support and even a little bit of cost comparison and total cost of ownership. The output of this understanding is the delivery of a set of options – a business case to support your business on its next transformational step.

BlackBerry have already made their move by bringing BES5 and BB7 end of life what’s yours? Let me know by tweeting @yrobs. To find out more about our managed mobility strategy visit our website.