Channel programs News

BlackBerry Rolls Out Content Solutions Specialization For Partners

Kyle Alspach

BlackBerry's push to become a top player in the realm of business software has spurred the creation of a new specialization for channel partners that's focused on the company's Workspaces enterprise file sync and share (EFSS) product.

The Workspaces Specialization builds on the capabilities of WatchDox, software for securely syncing, sharing and tracking files, which BlackBerry acquired in 2015.

The Workspaces Specialization offers partners a training curriculum in sales, technical sales, and integration around the product.

[Related: BlackBerry's Shift To Outsourcing All Hardware Work Is Smart Move, Partners Say]

"Part of the unique capability is that Workspaces works as part of the integrated [BlackBerry] portfolio--and can be managed as part of our integrated portfolio—or it can exist on a standalone basis," said Richard McLeod, global vice president for enterprise software channels at BlackBerry, in an interview with CRN.

Workspaces provides file-level control, so that when someone sends a file, the sender has total control over what can be done with the file, McLeod said. Recipients can be prevented not only from editing or sharing the file themselves, but also from taking screenshots or sharing it in WebEx, he said. The document can also be set to "self-destruct" after a certain period of time. And the controls "follow the document as the document is shared," McLeod said. "Those controls travel outside the business."

The product can also serve as a content repository, or as a layer on multiple content repositories, such as SharePoint or Salesforce, he said.

"Our experience is there are a number of customers that are looking for partners that are highly specialized in that," McLeod said. "There are connectors from our Workspaces into the SharePoints of the world, and the Salesforces of the world. There is an integration capability that the partner supplies, and services associated with that. This can be set up as a managed service, set up out of BlackBerry's cloud, or set up as a customer's on-premise solution. All the variants have varying degrees of partner specialization."

Partners that want to do deep, complex integrations can do so in on-premise environments, while partners looking to sell the cloud-based version can get support from BlackBerry without doing sophisticated integrations, McLeod said.

One of the first U.S. channel partners to go through the Workspaces Specialization is Zia Consulting, a systems integrator and value-added reseller based in Boulder, Colo.

The firm, which is focused on content solutions, has partnered with BlackBerry for the first time in order to start working with the Workspaces product, said managing partner Ryan McVeigh.

One key capability that BlackBerry created is an integration between Workspaces and the Alfresco platform, which is a major focus for Zia Consulting and crucial to the firm's ability to sell Workspaces.

McVeigh said he's also found the team at BlackBerry to be "really engaging" and "serious about enabling the folks that come on board with them."

"I'm impressed with the fact that they've worked diligently to create a partner on-boarding and enablement technology track. It's obviously working. Our folks are happy with it, and we're bringing it to market actively," he said.

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