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IT shops sifting RIM's bold promises and plans

At annual BlackBerry World, enterprise IT staff reactions span fear, hope, apathy

By , Network World
May 03, 2012 10:21 AM ET

Page 2 of 2

There are other support costs, says the manufacturer's IT staffer, from the largely manual client provisioning, the clients licensing costs, help desk training and support, and upgrading the BES servers to the latest software version - BES 5.0.3 -- in order to deploy the Mobile Fusion Studio administrative user interface.

REACTION: RIM faces trouble despite BlackBerry 10 

There are also the separate backend servers that host BDS and UDS. Currently the manufacturer has four BES servers, two of them as high availability back-ups, to support the BlackBerries in use. Both BDS and UDS will require one or two or possibly more servers, and if they're part of a high-availability deployment a backup server for each. The total BlackBerry server population could double or more, he said.

Because the current BES architecture will not support BB10, enterprises will have to deploy and test BlackBerry Device Service, before the rumored October 2012 release date of the first BB10 devices, he pointed out.

BlackBerry users at Liberty Mutual, the Boston -based insurer, are "way up" from two years ago, to about 7,500. But six months ago, the company finally allowed personal devices to be used, though only iOS. MobileIron was chosen as the device management application for the Apple products. The BYOD program now has about 1,000 users.

"That was more than we expected," says Chris Moore, senior systems administrator with Liberty Mutual's desktop and mobile computing group.

RIM has highlighted the progress of its online app catalog, BlackBerry App World, and showcased some marquee software vendors that have already put together early apps for BB10, ranging from augmented reality, to music entertainment, and high performance games. But for most of these enterprises, BlackBerry apps hardly exist.

At MOMbrands, BlackBerry smartphones are used solely for voice and email. Liberty Mutual deployed Salesforce for BlackBerry and an enterprise IM app, but little else. Sansol adds only an RSA SecureID app, bans the downloading of other apps and uses BES to enforce that.

Bed, Bath & Beyond is unusual among the companies interviewed in that it gives some considerable latitude for BlackBerry users to download a range of apps from BlackBerry App World. "We try to give them as much freedom as possible to do their job," wireless supervisor Rubino says.

John Cox covers wireless networking and mobile computing for Network World.


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