BB 10: ‘Baked-In’ MDM and Dual Persona vs. Third-Party Software and Services

Kathryn Weldon
Kathryn Weldon

Summary Bullets:

  • BlackBerry Enterprise Service 10 (the new version of ‘BES’) offers ‘baked-in’ dual persona and multi-OS device management, provided by the device OEM rather than a third-party software or services provider.
  • Does this dilute the managed mobility propositions of third-party MDM software vendors, let alone carriers or IT services companies that are key channel partners of BlackBerry and other OEMs?

BlackBerry (née RIM) has always been different from other mobile device vendors, as it is and always has been both a device OEM and a software provider.  In addition, its new BlackBerry Enterprise Service 10 software is positioned to address BYOD, as every new BB device can support dual persona (e.g., BlackBerry Balance) and multi-OS MDM.  It is clear that BlackBerry cannot claim to handle either of these functions as well for Android and iPhone devices as it can for its own devices, but that is not necessarily a problem in itself.  What is a possible problem is that in the last couple of years, while RIM’s smartphone market share shrank from over 60% to less than 5%, the ecosystem of third-party MDM vendors, dual persona and ‘container’ vendors, and the IT service providers and mobile operators that offer managed mobility solutions powered by these vendors’ solutions has evolved considerably.  Multi-OS (and multi-carrier) MDM has become a check list item for carrier and systems integrator-delivered managed mobility services.  In addition, the offerings of service providers are much broader than MDM, as they also include: TEM and logistics; containerization and dual persona solutions; and increasingly, mobile application development, delivery, and management; enterprise app store enablement; and mobile security.

As smartphone OEMs (not only BlackBerry, but also vendors such as Samsung and HTC) continue to enhance their own MDM and security capabilities, the ecosystem gets a bit muddled.  In a BYOD world, we are less and less likely to see a Samsung-only, iPhone-only, or BlackBerry-only employee base.  Moreover, while BlackBerry offers multi-OS MDM, it is doubtful that it can provide any more functionality than third-party MDM vendors; Apple and Google only let these companies in as far as they want to, so the set of MDM and security capabilities is often the same regardless of who is offering it.  The world has changed; rather than selecting a vendor based on technical features, the enterprise can now choose how they want to manage their mobile fleet, which vendors and service providers can provide the best and broadest set of capabilities (including bundling MDM with other services), and which can help them do it the most cost-effectively.  While we suspect that the only enterprises which would allow RIM to manage their Androids and iPhones are the few remaining BlackBerry-dominated, non-BYOD companies and government institutions (or perhaps there will be a new crop of strong BB 10 advocates), it is clear that the OEMs are taking on more responsibility for making their devices enterprise-grade.  As they do so, they need to be careful about not cutting out their key carrier channel partners.  Having more options is good for businesses, but it may not be good for the relationship between OEMs and their channel partners that are striving to offer value-added services.

What do you think?

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