Research In Motion is doing everything it can to push BlackBerry 10, its latest operating system, into as many enterprise hands as possible. But is it too little, too late for the smartphone maker?
RIM is optimistic that its BlackBerry 10 Ready Program will prime the upgrade pump. The program aims to help BlackBerry enterprise customers launch the new mobile operating system and BlackBerry Enterprise Service 10, RIM's new multi-platform enterprise mobility management solution.
"We remain committed to our enterprise customers and want to provide them with a headstart on understanding the power of BlackBerry 10 and preparing their existing environments for the new mobile computing platform," said Bryan Lee, senior director of Enterprise at RIM. "The BlackBerry 10 Ready Program gives customers access to a variety of services, information, tools, and special offers to help ease their transition to BlackBerry 10 and BlackBerry Enterprise Service 10."
Get a Free BlackBerry
RIM is introducing the program in a phased approach with four components. Two of the components -- The BlackBerry 10 Ready Offer and the BlackBerry 10 Ready Webcast Series -- are available now. The BlackBerry Enterprise Server License Trade Up and BlackBerry 10 Readiness Services components will be available sometime before the global BlackBerry 10 launch on Jan. 30.
RIM is starting by making an offer that's difficult for many enterprises to refuse. BlackBerry customers with BlackBerry Technical Support at the Advantage level or higher are eligible to receive a free BlackBerry 10 smartphone. Customers have to install and run BlackBerry Mobile Fusion and successfully complete an exclusive online learning course to qualify to receive the new phone in January.
Meanwhile, the weekly BlackBerry 10 webcast series offers information, answers questions about RIM's enterprise product portfolio, and works to prepare enterprise customers with the tools they need ahead of launch.
RIM is also offering customers who purchase BlackBerry 10 smartphones the ability to trade up their existing BlackBerry Enterprise Server licenses on a one-for-one basis for free, until Dec. 31, 2013. The license trade up offer lets enterprise customers secure and manage their BlackBerry 10 smartphones with BlackBerry Enterprise Service 10. Customers will be able to access an online tool for the BlackBerry Enterprise Server License Trade Up in January 2013.
Enterprises May Not Care
Michael Disabato, vice president of Network and Telecom at Gartner, said RIM needed to roll out a program to help customers transition, but it may not be as successful as the company hopes in getting enterprises to upgrade to the new mobile operating system.
"The customers I've talked to don't like the cost of moving to BB10. They don't see the value of moving to BB10. They see their employees coming to them with everything but a BlackBerry and asking IT to make it work," Disabato told us.
"RIM has to understand that, except for some really hard-core we-are-never-going to-do-BYOD companies, everybody that I talk to is going to Bring Your Own Device, and even the ones that aren't are moving from BlackBerry to something else."