If you can't beat them, secure them. That seems to be the philosophy behind Research In Motion's latest market move. RIM just launched BlackBerry Mobile Fusion, an enterprise mobility solution that marks its entrance into the multi-platform mobile-device management space.
BlackBerry Mobile Fusion plays on RIM's strength: enterprise security. The company is using what it has learned over the past decade to manage smartphones and tablets running not only BlackBerry, but also Google Android and Apple iOS operating systems. RIM's aim so to win the business of companies and government agencies looking to manage the various mobile device workers tote.
Alan Panezic, vice president, Enterprise Product Management and Marketing at RIM, said the new solution offers the "necessary management capabilities to allow IT departments to confidently oversee the use of both company-owned and employee-owned mobile devices within their organizations."
Managing Worker Mobility
RIM's smartphone sales may be suffering in the face of competition from Apple and Android, but it is nevertheless the undisputed leader in enterprise mobility solutions. More than 90 percent of Fortune 500 companies provision BlackBerry devices.
With its BlackBerry Mobile Fusion, however, RIM is tapping into a felt need of today's enterprise. Not only is the smartphone and tablet market continuing to grow, IT admins have to manage both company-provisioned and employee-owned devices.
It's well documented how employee-owned devices have introduced new challenges for CIOs and IT departments as they work to manage and control wireless access to confidential company information on the corporate network.
In competition with companies like Mobile Iron, Sybase and Symantec, BlackBerry Mobile Fusion will offer asset and configuration management, security and policy definition and management, application and software management and connectivity management. RIM said the new offering also secures and protects lost or stolen devices, features user- and group-based administration, high scalability and a centralized console.
RIM's New Beginning?
RIM announced its plans for a multi-platform BlackBerry Enterprise Solution in May. The technology is based on assets RIM acquired when it purchased Ubitexx. Certain features are expected to remain exclusive, including RIM's push technology, network and data usage efficiency, and behind-the-firewall access to enterprise applications and systems.
"RIM knows it is losing market share as well as an opportunity to sell the BlackBerry Enterprise Server, which is the gold standard for mobile-device management. Name something it doesn't do," said Michael Disabato, managing vice president of Network and Telecom at Gartner. "Now, RIM has the mechanics in place to manage iOS and Android devices. RIM is going to be a competitor as soon as they get past version one."
Although RIM is late to market, Disabato said the solution nevertheless could be attractive to companies that need a mobile-device management solution and prefer to expand an existing relationship rather than add and maintain another layer of infrastructure. Disabato sees it as a potential win for RIM, but the success is in the execution of the details.