Research In Motion unveiled Thursday a new program intended to help its enterprise customer base transition more smoothly -- and cost-effectively -- to its upcoming BlackBerry 10 platform.
The new and multifaceted BlackBerry 10 Ready Program is targeted largely at RIM's enterprise customers already using BlackBerry Enterprise Server (BES), a solution that lets IT teams remotely monitor and secure employees' BlackBerry smartphones. Organizations planning to adopt RIM's new BlackBerry 10 devices will need to upgrade to the new BES 10 software for compatibility, and the BlackBerry 10 Ready Program is meant to facilitate that move.
One stand-out component of the program is BlackBerry Enterprise Server License Trade Up, which lets enterprise customers purchasing new BlackBerry 10 smartphones trade in their existing BES licenses, on a one-for-one basis, for new BES 10 licenses free of charge. The trade-ins can be completed online, RIM said, and the offer exists until the end of next year.
Also offered through the program are training, tools and others services meant to ease enterprises' transition to the BlackBerry 10 OS, which is slated to launch Jan. 30. Among these services is a new BlackBerry 10 Webcast Series, which will run weekly, web-hosted tutorials on the new software, along with BlackBerry 10 Readiness Services, a bundled set of services RIM said provides change management and planning migration tools related to BlackBerry 10.
According to Jeff Holleran, senior director of enterprise product management at RIM, the company will also be calling on its channel partners to help enterprise customers embrace BlackBerry 10.
"If you look at the history of RIM, we're not a big direct sales organization," Holleran told CRN in an interview this week. "Our devices are sold through our carrier partners; our server licenses are typically sold through any variety of channels from the carriers to the small IT system integrator shops that exist in every local town around the world. So we will leverage them very heavily as we do this."
Next month's launch of BlackBerry 10 is a major one for RIM, which has forfeited much of its market share to rivals Apple and Google over the past few years. BlackBerry 10 will give way to a new generation of BlackBerry smartphones and introduce features such as BlackBerry Hub, a central console through which users can filter all messages, appointments and notifications, and BlackBerry Flow, a tool that allows users to run up to eight applications at once and seamlessly "flow" between each.
RIM told CRN this week it's counting down the days until the BlackBerry 10 launch and is confident in its success.
"We are a big believer in getting that customer feedback," Holleran told CRN. "Just this week I've have started to get the first round of feedback from our enterprise customers that are actually testing BES 10 and BlackBerry 10 devices, and the feedback has been awesome."
PUBLISHED DEC. 6, 2012