BlackBerry wants you on BES12: Play the waiting game

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BlackBerry is making promises that BES12 will be backward compatible, manage iOS and Android and potentially get you out of your enterprise mobility management pickle. The burden of proof, however, is on BlackBerry.

BlackBerry wants you back. You the enterprise tech buyer who wants classic BlackBerry with the keyboard and BlackBerry 7 devices. You the person who still has to manage BES5 and BES7. And you, the person abandoned with BlackBerry's big fork in the road called BES10, a new infrastructure to go along with BlackBerry 10 devices.

And yes, you the BlackBerry loyalist who is probably a bit miffed right now and looking for an exit to another enterprise mobility management player. Fortunately for BlackBerry it still has a base and the EMM market isn't quite mature enough to supplant it yet. In other words, BlackBerry still has a shot to be a major EMM player. 

Related news: BlackBerry's future rides on supporting the past

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What should you do? For now, it may pay to wait and watch how this BES12 saga turns out.   BlackBerry has to prove itself. If you haven't chucked BES5 and BES7 yet what's a few more months of evaluation?

BES12 promises the following:

  • A November launch.
  • An easy upgrade program that starts April 1 to convince you to go from BES10 to BES12.
  • Backward compatibility to BES5.
  • The ability to manage new BlackBerry devices, old ones as well as Android, Apple iOS and Windows Phone.

On its recent earnings conference call, BlackBerry didn't talk pricing for BES12, but let's face it---you'll get a deal. The pricing for BES12 isn't likely to change from BES10, but BlackBerry could give any large enterprise some serious volume discounts because it needs to keep its corporate base. 

Meanwhile, the competition is going to squeeze BlackBerry. MobileIron has been aggressive with pricing. AirWatch, soon to be part of VMware, is also aggressive. Good Technology isn't a chump. And Microsoft just launched enterprise mobility management tools.

BlackBerry needs you for its turnaround plan. CEO John Chen obviously knows the drill. He said:

BES12 highlights will include the following: We have a new architecture offering customers the option of on premise, cloud or hybrid solutions. Backward compatibility allows the unifications of the BES10 and BES5 deployment into a single platform and console, supporting the BES10 and BBOS device.
This is huge, and when I went and talked to -- have time to visit customers, the customer likes a lot of the BES10 features, but they were complaining about having two  infrastructures that they have to manage, which is the old  BBOS infrastructure, as well as the BB10 infrastructure.
This is the first attempt to merge that two into one, so the customer could move on to newer technology, and yet still protect the investment they already made at BlackBerry. So I know this is huge. We obviously also enhanced the platform support for the iOS devices, Androids and Windows Phone 8.

I believe in Chen, who gets the enterprise. However, you're best bet is to squeeze BlackBerry hard. Wait it out because BlackBerry will need BES 12 reference accounts.

What to do now:

  1. Check out BES10 and the promises behind BES12;
  2. Keep up with BlackBerry current events;
  3. Contact your BlackBerry contact and press them on the ability to manage iOS and Android;
  4. Wait to see if this backward compatibility is real and that means a big pause before BES12 launches.
  5. Evaluate other EMM platforms along the way. 

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