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  Intercomms Issue 19
Issue 19 Articles

Research in Motion (RIM) logoPreparing Your Organization
for a Mobile Future

InterComms posed several questions to Paul Lucier, Vice President, Government Solutions at Research In Motion, about the future of mobile communications and how organizations can prepare to maximize opportunities

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Q: Enterprise usage of mobile devices is at an all-time high, with many different devices and applications. Where are the pitfalls in this?
A: Without a doubt, there are more choices of smartphones, tablets and applications than ever. And mobile communications will only continue to grow.

A recent white paper by Osterman Research found that 32 per cent of employees in mid-sized and large North American organizations employed a smartphone in late 2011. It is estimated that this number will grow to 41 per cent in 2012 and 50 per cent by 2013. BlackBerry continues to lead with 42 per cent of smartphone devices in the workplace followed by Apple iPhone (30 per cent), Google Android (21 per cent) and Microsoft Windows Phone (six per cent).*

This is good news for enterprise and government organizations. Employees with mobile access to their organization’s technology network can be more productive when on the move. From an employee vantage, they have greater flexibility to work where they want when they want. And they, and the organization, stay connected to today’s social media driven world.

Applications play a key role in maximizing the potential of mobile communications, whether by smartphone or tablet. They provide instant connection to online tools for improved business collaboration, productivity and innovation.

The shift from company-provided devices to bring-your-own-devices (BYOD) has provided IT departments with a new challenge: how to provide accessibility to corporate IT systems without jeopardizing security and manageability.

The upside to the organization of employees using personal devices is that it can save hardware costs. The downside is lack of control, increased security risks, difficulty updating software, and potentially greater costs having to support multiple platforms. Government departments and agencies are particularly sensitive to protecting confidential information, as are financial and healthcare organizations.

Q: How important is it to have a clear vision of what you want to achieve through their usage?
A: If organizations haven’t already started to do this, they must begin to envision how they will work in a mobile computing environment. They must understand how their service offering will be impacted and they must consider what this will mean for their organizational structure. How employees and organizations communicate is changing. Organizations that will prosper in the coming mobile revolution will be those that clearly understand how that environment will work and how they will work within it.

Service delivery by government will be affected by the shift to mobile communications, which encompasses both telephony and computing. As consumers become accustomed to accessing information, purchasing products and services, and paying their bills through their mobile devices they will expect the same from government services.

Mobile communications can also free service providers from their desktops and laptops to work directly with the public. Law enforcement is an excellent example of this. The Baltimore Police Department in the United States uses BlackBerry smartphones and Side Partner, a suite of policing apps, to provide communications, criminal database access, GPS locations, and video and photography in the field. The result is time savings for officers and dispatchers, faster access to information, and more warrants issued.

The starting point to managing a mobile ecosystem for most organizations is to understand the capabilities of handheld devices and the range of applications available, and to match them to key functions. This is followed by determining security access levels for employees. Once this assessment is done, determining who can benefit from a company provided device and who is able to use a personal device can be undertaken.

Q: Within this, is there a clear advantage in using the same device and specific applications?
A: It is generally much easier and cost-effective for IT departments to administer one mobile device platform and limit applications to those that are secure for an organization. With multiple platforms, hardware and support costs are greater. Updating of software and applications is more complex. Additional IT support staff is needed, and they must be trained.

International law firm Clifford Chance LLP, for example, a long time BlackBerry customer, made the decision to also support staff who wanted to use their own devices for work. To avoid the complexity and cost of having to manage multiple platforms, they installed BlackBerry Mobile Fusion, which allowed them to manage BlackBerry, iOS and Android devices from a single, centralized console. The company noted that they experienced reduced costs in carrier billings especially when compared to other solutions they have used on a similar scale.

BlackBerry offers another unique service that keeps corporate and personal data separate called BlackBerry Balance. In addition to many other features, it allows an organization to remotely wipe corporate data from a device without affecting an individual’s personal information and applications. BlackBerry Mobile Fusion with BlackBerry Balance together deliver unprecedented manageability, scalability and security.

Q: What are the key areas in terms of savings that can be accrued?
A: In discussions about BYOD, supporters are quick to point out that an organization no longer bears the cost of providing and managing devices. However, that is only one factor to consider.

According to the Osterman white paper, there can also be additional staffing costs involved such as the training and education of IT staff on multiple platforms, and more IT staff needed to support more mobile users.

The research found that staffing required to manage smartphone users is increasing, from a median of 2.9 FTE staff member per 1,000 smartphone users in 2011 to 3.6 today and 4.0 in 2013. The annual IT labor cost per smartphone user increased from $229 in 2011 to $294 in 2012. It is estimated to cost $339 per user in 2013.*

The key factors driving MDM, according to the Osterman report, include: data retention and security, regulatory requirements for archiving and monitoring communications on mobile devices, increased features and capabilities for managing a greater number of mobile devices, and scalability.

Q: How is Research In Motion working with government and large enterprise to achieve correct usage and results?
A: Research In Motion (RIM) is constantly communicating with its 78 million BlackBerry subscribers in 175 countries. More than 90 per cent of Fortune 500 companies and over one million public service employees in North America alone rely on BlackBerry for secure, reliable mobile communications.

For governments, certification standards are critical to ensuring security and privacy. For example, BlackBerry products meet or surpass FIPS 140 validations in North America and Common Criteria Certification in 25 countries globally. In the United Kingdom, BlackBerry is the only smartphone solution to have been formally evaluated by CESG (the National Technical Authority for Information Assurance advising the UK government).

RIM is rapidly expanding the range of applications available to BlackBerry devices with a 220 per cent increase in apps from one year ago. That brings the total number of BlackBerry apps to more than 100,000. Developers have already submitted more than 25,000 PlayBook applications to BlackBerry AppWorld, many of which will run on BlackBerry 10, and tens of thousands more are expected.

Q: Where do you see the market going and how will you look to lead this?
A: From an enterprise and government perspective, there are tremendous opportunities to enabling employees to have the same communication and computing capabilities on a mobile device that they do on their desktops in terms of productivity, increased client interactions, and new service capabilities.

Our goal at BlackBerry is to create the ecosystem that will keep the user extremely well-connected while ensuring security, privacy and manageability for the user and the organization. That involves the effective integration of devices, applications, and support infrastructure. It also involves providing an engaging user experience.

Mobile devices will also increasingly play a pivotal role in the growing area of machine-to-machine (M2M) communications. M2M is already becoming prevalent in industry to monitor assembly lines, utility meters and shipping. In Europe, technicians are freed from their desks with BlackBerry PlayBooks that allow them to monitor processes from wherever they happen to be.

Research In Motion is responding to these trends with the launch of BlackBerry 10. This is not just another smartphone. It is an entirely new platform that will support the next generation of mobile devices and embedded operating systems. With QNX as the engine, BlackBerry 10 will be powered to be a best-in-class mobile Real Time Operating System (RTOS).

BlackBerry Enterprise Service 10 will be introduced at the same time to provide organizations with an enterprise mobile management (EMM) solution that allows IT managers to administer a multiplatform universe simply from one console, supporting an organization’s diverse security and privacy needs.

The future is about being connected, both socially and professionally. It is no longer just about communicating person to person. It is about communicating with the whole network around each of us.

* Mobile Devices in the Enterprise: MDM Usage and Adoption Trends. An Osterman Research White Paper. Published June 2012.

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