As the mobile industry gathers in Barcelona for the industry’s largest annual event, we provide our opinion of the most interesting announcements made today. For further information on any of the following, please contact the analysts named below.
RIM’s new SME platform and business model
RIM has announced the BlackBerry Enterprise Server Express (BES Express), a simplified version of its platform tailored for SMEs. The new proposition will no longer charge software and license fees to small companies with basic needs.
RIM is looking to address two market opportunities with BES Express: smaller companies wanting the “enterprise-grade” functionality that BES provides but not needing (or wanting to pay for) all the advanced features; and companies wanting to add employee-owned BlackBerry smartphones to corporate email systems.
This second opportunity recognizes the fact that many companies do not provide devices for employees requiring mobility. And, more importantly, in many companies employees prefer to choose their own devices and then ask their IT department to support them. This can cause a major device management headache for IT managers, particularly where multiple device platforms are used.
BES Express will support MS Exchange and Windows Small Business Server but not IBM Lotus Domino or GroupWise (which is supported in the full version). The BES Express solution will be targeted primarily at the low end of the SME market, with up to 75 users on a single existing Microsoft Exchange server in a premise solution.
This announcement represents a major change in RIM’s business model, and shows its growing focus on handsets as its main revenue stream. It makes sense since it addresses, to some extent at least, the competitive threat from iPhone and Android devices being brought into the enterprise through the back door and challenging its dominance here.
- Claudio Castelli
OnRelay moves to the cloud
Enterprise FMC vendor OnRelay now offers partners a fully cloud-based Mobile PBX for resale as software-as-a-service (SaaS).
OnRelay’s new cloud partner program offers its renamed Unified MBX via hosting in Amazon’s Elastic Compute Cloud (EC2). Twenty companies have already pre-registered with the program to certify for resale in the UK, Nordics, Benelux and the US. In addition to the cloud-based approach, OnRelay also supports a ‘tenanted’ model, in which the PBX functionality is hosted in the operator’s own network datacenter.
This is a change in direction for OnRelay, which initially focused its sales effort directly on premises-based solutions for large enterprises wishing to mobilize their workforce.
OnRelay still plans to persist with this approach, alongside the new strategy. As well as using operators themselves as channels for a white-labeled MBX offer, the cloud orientation enables OnRelay’s offer to be opened to smaller resellers, which will typically be serving smaller enterprises with cloud-based mobility. It continues to work directly with telecoms service providers launching FMC offers.