Severn Trent looking past BB10 with “much wider, holistic view” for five-year BYOD plan

By Peter Gothard
14 Mar 2014 View Comments

Severn Trent is looking elsewhere for mobile device management [MDM] solutions, potentially bringing to an end a long-standing relationship with BlackBerry and its BlackBerry Enterprise Server product, CIO Myron Hrycyk has told Computing.

Describing its company-wide BlackBerry loadout of Z10 and Z30 smartphones as "our company standard device", Hrycyk nevertheless revealed that, in a multi-platform, BYOD-led future, Severn Trent will be taking a "much wider, holistic view" on how to proceed with mobile management.

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Even taking into account BlackBerry's attempts to reposition itself as a multiplatform management vendor, Hrycyk still maintained that "options are open", naming Citrix XenMobile and Airwatch as other solutions Severn Trent is currently assessing.

Hrycyk stated that, in line with regulator demands that water companies must provide a five-year business strategy, he is now looking further afield at other MDM offerings. When asked if the default choice would be BlackBerry, Hrycyk replied:

"No, we're taking a much wider, holistic view with what we do with that."

Explaining the company's original choice to adopt BlackBerry Enterprise Server 10 as being driven by a desire to use its new generation of Z10 and Z30 phones, Hrycyk revealed that Severn Trent has history with BlackBerry.

"We had a big population of BlackBerry, they were quite secure, people were familiar with them," he told Computing.

"BlackBerry is our company standard device, and we had a good relationship with BlackBerry."

In terms of the upgrade cost from previous BES versions which, at the time, BlackBerry was still enforcing for existing customers, Hrycyk stated:

"It wasn't a big investment for us to do that - they worked with us," adding that Severn Trent "worked with BlackBerry to get the BES 10 devices to work" when adoption was decided.

Now, "it works - it works fine," Hrycyk concluded.

He also called the Z30 a "rock-solid device", dropping the smartphone on a table top to illustrate the phone's rugged build.

"But does it have the kind of iPhone, Android interface? Probably not. It's not quite at that level," admitted Hrycyk.

BlackBerry's CIO, John Chen, revealed the company's plans to become an MDM provider across platforms back in February 2014 at Mobile World Congress. Read Computing's analysis of Chen's business plan to find out more.

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