I’ve been chatting about the BES Express announcement with Ahmed Datoo of Zenrprise lately and I thought I would highlight some discussion points that haven’t been brought up yet. The BES Express announcement from RIM is very much a recognition from RIM that consumer smartphones are entering the enterprise market. The background to this announcement is centered on a shift in the enterprise world of corporate liable devices to employee liable devices. For those unfamiliar with the terms:
Corporate liable – The company distributes the BlackBerry and is responsible for the cost and maintenance of the device. Generally, this device is locked down and restricted, so as to minimize cost and security risks to the organization.
Employee liable – The device is purchased by the employee, and brought into the organization. This device may or may not be compatible with the network, and it’s up to executive management and the IT department whether or not said device will be allowed.
There is an emerging trend right now of corporations letting an increasing number of employee liable devices on the network. Why is that? Well Ahmed’s got an interesting theory that it’s due to the recession. Employee liable devices are less expensive than corporate liable devices, and while they may carry added headaches for IT, the need for cost cutting has given a large number of consumer smartphones the green light.
It’s good for RIM that they’re positioned to be ready for this influx of new employee liable BlackBerrys, and BES Express was one way of handling this shift. Before BES Express, the IT department might have denied these employee liable BlackBerrys because they either didn’t want to extend their BES license to these users for cost reasons, or they may not have been comfortable with the security risk. Now, companies are taking advantage of cheaper BIS enabled devices that get a watered-down BES experience and make employees more efficient. IT administrators are now able to enforce some basic security policies with little added cost to their infrastructure. This cost, however small, is also greatly mitigated by the savings of being on a BIS versus Enterprise plan.
What kind of employees and organizations will take advantage of BES Express? Ahmed has a client in the manufacturing business that is going to greatly benefit from BES Express. Currently, the customer gives employees on the manufacturing line laptops, so they can email managers and check certain specs in the company back-end. Management at this company are going to deploy BlackBerrys to all these employees, and BES Express is the perfect package for them. These employees are only going to need the 35 or so IT policies that come with BES Express, and the company won’t have to pay for full BES licenses. This is an example of corporate liable devices benefiting from this announcement.
Zenprise plan on certifying BES Express and their product will focus on self-help. These new BES Express users will be able to connect their BlackBerrys to the network without an added load on the IT department. Basic troubleshooting and remote data wiping is something that’s going to be important for the BESExpress users.
Is your company going to be taking advantage of BES Express? Let us know.