Keeping the faith: the organisations sticking by BlackBerry

By Danny Palmer
10 Jun 2014 View Comments
Blackberry Z10 and Q10 were announced in London

BlackBerry, once the mobile device of choice for business use, is losing its grip on enterprise mobility. Indeed, recent Computing research revealed that if CIOs had to name one mobile ecosystem they wouldn't choose for their business, over half named BlackBerry.

The well-documented problems at the Canadian smartphone firm have persuaded some CIOs to move their mobility strategy away from BlackBerry. One such CIO is Paul Mease of the Unite union.

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"Everyone is aware about the situation at BlackBerry and their financial issues. The latest devices that have come out from BlackBerry and their cost doesn't warrant us continuing with them," he recently told Computing.

However, there are still many organisations that still see BlackBerry as the number one choice for mobility, and its products are still widely used in government and other environments where security – one of BlackBerry's main selling points – is key.

One organisation standing by BlackBerry is Cordia LLP, a care services provider and a subsidiary of Glasgow City Council. BlackBerry devices remain the primary mobile device for its care workers, and service delivery manager Alistair Lang sees no reason why this should change. If anything, he told Computing, the firm is looking to deepen its BlackBerry infrastructure.

"We've been doing this since 2008 on old BB5 devices and we're currently looking to expand what we can do on mobile to further business efficiency. Because BB5 is end of life we evaluated the market and came to the conclusion that BB10 was the way forward for us to achieve those objectives," he said.

A BB10 rollout is now under way and BlackBerry Z10s will be given to 100 staff. Affordability, security, ease of manage and the device's large screens were the main drivers behind this latest BlackBerry deployment, Lang said.

"Because of the nature of our business, everything is set to maximum security. We're not going to enable the camera; we don't need to take photos. It's purely a secure business device," said Lang, who added that BlackBerry "meets every security requirement we have."

Security is also a key consideration for law firm Taylor Vinters. Director of IT Steve Sumner told Computing that the firm has been using BlackBerry since 2006 and had flirted with the idea of issuing lawyers with an Apple or Android smartphone before deciding to stick with the Canadian vendor.

"We looked around but found BlackBerry still ticked all the boxes that we wanted to tick in terms of our strategy and security," Sumner said.

"We have a lot of confidential data moving around between lawyers and clients and they need to know that's safe and secure and that if the worse should happen, you can wipe it remotely" he said. "I can sleep at night without worrying about mobile device security."

The firm is rolling out BB10 devices to its 100 staff, with Taylor Vinters opting for the Q10 "because the guys wanted something with a keyboard".

With those security and keyboard features tailored to the enterprise, BlackBerry senior vice president and regional managing director for Europe Markus C Mueller told Computing the firm is confident in its ability to attract customers.

"Large companies are moving to BB10, they're using BES10 [Blackberry Enterprise Server], so we see a fairly good adoption of BES10 and BB10 devices," he said, before going onto describe BlackBerry as more trusted than Apple or Samsung.

"Security comes back to trust. Because as a customer you have to believe what the vendor tells you. But because we have a history with those customers, we have built up their trust over the last 10 years, that gives us a lot of credibility," Mueller explained.

It's that trust with has kept Taylor Vinters on as a BlackBerry customer, with the security management tools on offer important to the law firm.

"Being a regulated industry, that regulation can sometimes change and become stricter. So knowing we can up our security levels is important if we really need to lock it down," said Sumner, who is pleased with the direction BlackBerry is taking.

"I think they've been very good since the change of management," he said. "It's all good positive vibes."

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