RIM have made BES Express officially available for download today. The free server software is a watered down version of BES that allows SMBs to wirelessly sync data on Exchange or a Windows Small Business Server. BES Express works with Microsoft Exchange 2010, 2007 or 2003, and Windows Small Business Server 2008 or 2003. For more information and the free software download, visit blackberry.com/besexpress. To view a demo, go here.
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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.
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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.
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Research in Motion held a conference call today to go over the details on it’s new service: BES Express.
The call told the story about how the new service came to be and shared some insight as to who they think can benefit from it.
From the millions of new BIS subscribers yearly, many consumer BlackBerry users are naturally bringing their devices into the workplace. BES Express is a way in which small and medium-sized businesses can sync email and calendar events when getting a full BES license is not in the cards. This new flavor of BES bridges the gap between BIS and BES allowing these businesses to use their devices to their fullest.
Mobile user management solution BoxTone has announced that they will be supporting the newly announced BES Express.
“BoxTone applauds Research In Motion for its introduction of the exciting new BlackBerry Enterprise Server Express,” said Alan Snyder, CEO, BoxTone. “BoxTone supports all industry initiatives that help organizations both large and small mobilize their businesses faster.”
Boxtone helps efficiently mange, monitor, and support Smartphones of every variety for businesses large and small. Check out their software demo.
RIM launched the BlackBerry Enterprise Server Express today, a free service that lets users wirelessly and securely sync their BlackBerry with Microsoft Exchange or MS Windows Small Business Server. This new offering is targeted at SMBs that want a slightly watered down version of BES. The press release says it is also targeted to consumers, but I’m having a hard time understanding what consumers will be able to take advantage of this.
There are millions of new BIS customers using BlackBerrys but they don’t have servers to install any of this software. I’m not sure why RIM thinks this is going to benefit them. On the other hand, I do think this is a great announcement for SMBs that don’t have enough employees to merit a full BES purchase and still want the basic functionality.
- Wirelessly synchronize their email, calendar, contacts, notes and tasks.
- Manage email folders and search email on the mail server remotely.
- Book meetings and appointments, check availability and forward calendar attachments.
- Set an out-of-office reply.
- Edit Microsoft Word, Excel and PowerPoint files using Documents To Go.
- Access files stored on the company network.
- Use mobile applications to access business systems behind the firewall.
Lets hope RIM does something to address the purely consumer side with something like this.