I’ve been talking with Brian Reed at BoxTone about this latest BESX announcement and he has some interesting insight into what this means for SMBs but also large enterprise. During our discussion, I was surprised to hear that only 10-20% of the Fortune 2000 companies are using mobile devices. I assume this number is so low due to large manufacturing industries that have less of a need for mobile, but the number is still very low. As more people in general get smartphones, we’ll start seeing this number inflate in the next 3-4 years, possibly as high as 70-80%.
With so many more employees using smartphones, companies will want to have these users on a BES, without paying the exorbitant costs for every user. BES Express opens up new doors for these companies, allowing them to connect with more functionality than “activesync-connected” and yet same price – free. This announcement therefore goes a long way to addressing the claim that the BES solution was too expensive, and providing companies with a freemium style service. It almost makes you wonder why it took so long to get here.
So that is what’s going on in the large enterprise space, but RIM specifically mentioned the SMB and consumer market. RIM are pointing to couple of different angles and prosumers vs consumers can easily get blurred. The first angle is consumerization of IT, where end users are in control and making their own demands. The second angle, as it were, is that these users are buying their own smartphones and then asking IT to connect them. The original prosumer model was just use BIS in the cloud or run standalone. What’s new is these consumers are employees and demanding to get them connected to the enterprise, large or small, and do not want to run them in isolation.
The third angle that RIM isn’t really addressing is the consumer who doesn’t have an enterprise – the ones who have a BlackBerry very little understanding of what it can do. These users are coming from the feature phone world, and they’re the ones you see TV and print marketing targeted towards. This is not for them at all. Personally, I think this market has the most potential to swell over the years, and RIM is going to have to push out a BESX type solution to them. Consumers want the same sync and BlackBerry Shield features that enterprise want, so give it to them.