Gartner: 'BlackBerry Organizations Must Decide On A New Course Of Action'


Gartner's BlackBerry warning urged clients to "decide on a new course of action" in a Sept. 27, member-only report. As a minimum solution, the report, which was not made available to the public, called for organizations to devise a mobile device backup plan within the next three to six months in order to avoid disaster.

Ken Dulaney, Gartner analyst and author of the report, "BlackBerry Announcements Require Enterprises to Take Action," said the risk of remaining a BlackBerry loyalist is high.

Dulaney told CRN, "at last report, [BlackBerry] had about $2.5 billion in cash, but a report coming out today says they are burning through it pretty quickly."

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Though the company's financial backing is solid enough to sustain its customer base for now, Dulaney said the uncertainty surrounding BlackBerry's future once it is sold has caused "a significant increase in risk."

BlackBerry has until Nov. 4 to seek out alternative deals to the Fairfax Financial Holdings $4.7 billion offer delivered on Sept. 23. The company's second-quarter earnings report revealed a $1.3 billion annual loss, a number BlackBerry CEO Thorsten Heins called "very disappoint[ing]" and promised "a series of major changes" as a result.

According to Dulaney, BlackBerry's downward spiral will likely result in the company "breaking up into pieces."

Dulaney cited BlackBerry's strong enterprise customer base as a point of interest for a company looking to acquire a portion of BlackBerry. He added such an acquisition will sustain BlackBerry environments long enough for clients to migrate to other solutions.

In regard to the BES 10 security software now available on multiple platforms, Dulaney said it would be beneficial to "put a separate mobile device management system in for Apple, Android and Windows" mobile devices.

Though a rise in adoption of the BES 10 solution was a flicker of hope on the otherwise grim BlackBerry earnings report last week, Dulaney said it is "just too big of a risk" to rely on the software to support other hardware.

Gartner's strong warning may open a floodgate of channel opportunities in the case enterprises choose to listen to it.

"BlackBerry sales are now at about $5 billion a year, 70 percent of which is in hardware, though that number has been fading," Dulaney said. He added, "There is a lot of transition going on out there, and what channel partners ought to be doing is advising [clients] on what their best options are."

Though Dulaney emphasized clients and partners have no need to panic immediately, he said taking time over the next three to six months to plan ahead is highly recommended.

PUBLISHED OCT. 3, 2013