The popular tech site ZDnet has reported
that BlackBerry Enterprise Server Express 5 will be RIM's last version of their free enterprise software catered to SMB's. BES Express allows small to medium size business the ability to wirelessly synchronize their data from Microsoft Exchange or IBM Lotus Domino to their BlackBerry smartphones. In addition the software also includes BlackBerry Balance and support for newer Microsoft Office products. All of these features are offered with no software license fees or additional per user license fees, which makes it the ideal choice for SMBs.
One has to wonder if RIM shot themselves in the foot with this one. With no free enterprise service package available; what does this mean for the thousands of SMB's that are currently using the free software to power their organizations smartphones? While its clear that RIM is focusing their energy on BES 10, one has to wonder how RIM will cater to the needs of the many smaller organizations that take advantage of their BES Express products.
While RIM has not announced the pricing for BES 10 yet, ZDnet was told that the pricing model would be similar to its current MDMS BlackBerry Mobile Fusion
. Meaning that the software will be free to download and install, but there will be per device license fees that will need to be purchased. If this is true, will SMBs find themselves paying a new price for the connection of their current BlackBerry devices or their new BlackBerry 10 devices?
Bringing it all together
What we are seeing from RIM now is the early stages of a massive transition of their enterprise products to support BlackBerry 10 devices. BlackBerry Mobile Fusion, BES Express, and BES are the major components that make up RIM business line of products. In order to see the big picture in what some are calling a BES nightmare, a closer look at what is really going on is necessary.
If we take a look at BlackBerry mobile fusion and throw in BlackBerry 10 support we essentially have BES 10. As part of the transitioning phase RIM will phase out the terms BlackBerry Mobile Fusion, BlackBerry Device Service, and Universal Device Service, and the end results will be one centralized management solution BES 10. BES 10 will need to be installed on a separate server and will work with your existing BES 5+ server in order to manage iOS and Android smartphones and tablet.
RIM plans on releasing an upgrade during BlackBerry World 2013 that will consolidate BDS and UDS and allow for BES 10 ad BES 5.0.3+ to be run on the same physical server. BES 10 will no longer have to be on the same LAN as the messaging server, which adds to RIM target of complete centralization of mobile device management.
The reality here is that RIM has presented quite a few options for organizations that will be transitioning to BlackBerry 10. However, they will still need to address the free-to-use model that so many businesses have grown to appreciate. Many SMBs will not be ready to embrace any additional expenses. RIM is most likely going to keep BES Express 5 around as a legacy product so most businesses would be able to operate without being forced into an upgrade. The problem may be that when users within these organizations decide to move over to BlackBerry 10 devices, as BES Express will not be able to support those devices. However, this problem already exists today with the BYOD trend that many organization are already facing. Either way there is a problem. In the end most organizations will find that BES 10 will be the complete all-in-one management solution for all of their mobile devices.