BlackBerry puts up a brave face to hold customers

by Sohini Bagchi    Oct 10, 2013

blackberry

BlackBerry may be going through troubled times but it has put up a brave face to hold its customers. Senior officials of the company believe that the smartphone maker is very much alive and is coming up with fresh initiatives to consolidate its position in the tech world.

Akash Mainra, Manager, Enterprise Sales BlackBerry, India tells CXOtoday that the smartphone maker is proactively building its strategy around Cloud, BYOD, and enterprise solutions. “We are also expanding channel strategies aggressively and will continue to launch new and attractive handsets in the coming months,” he asserts.

BES10 is going strong

Speaking specifically for the India market, Mainra explains that the overall focus of the company is towards Enterprise. Enterprise provides us the opportunity to make more revenues. “We are known for the high level of control offered,” he says.

Although in a recent filing to the US Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC) after its latest financial results, the Canadian phone maker has admitted that sales of BlackBerry Enterprise Service 10 (BES 10) - have failed to live up to expectations, a contributory factor in a $965million loss for its second fiscal quarter, Mainra strikes back.

According to him, “We continue to see confidence from our customers with a penetration of BES 10, where we now have more than 25,000 commercial and test servers installed to date, up from 19,000 in July 2013,” he says with confidence.

Industry insiders argue that these figures were a lot less than what thy company hoped for initially.

BYOD - a key area of focus

The company also admitted in the SEC that it has struggled to cope with the growing trend for BYOD policies among its corporate customers. Some in the industry also believed that Blackberry devices have failed on grounds of security and reliability that compelled employees to choose devices by its competitors, and this has hit its enterprise subscriber account base.”

However, Mainra asserts that BYOD is one of our focus areas, with enterprises increasingly looking to manage their devices, OS, platforms in a secure and effective way, we believe BES10 can manage this environment very effectively. “Through BES10 platform, we have the capability to create a partition for corporate and personal data. BES10 architecture restricts corporate data to be copied in personal channels,” says he.

The overall focus of the company is towards Enterprise. Enterprise provides us the opportunity to make more revenues. We are known for the high level of control offered.
-Akash Mainra, Manager, Enterprise Sales BlackBerry, India

On the Cloud

At the recent Gartner ITExpo, BlackBerry has announced a new cloud-based multi-platform enterprise mobility management solution will enable businesses to easily secure and manage corporate and personal devices.

The new cloud-based service to enable easy, web-based management of mobile users and apps and will work with Android, iOS, and BlackBerry devices, and allow administrators to manage email, app, network, and security settings for all three platforms from a single management console. Moreover, security and compliance settings can be set for the mobile devices, an area where the company earlier got criticisms. The company states that app permissions can also be set for the App Store, Google Play, and BlackBerry World.

 

Mainra assures that the software’s ease-of-use will set it apart from other mobility management software in the market.

Bullish on partners

The current focus is also on expanding our channel, says Mainra. “We are partnering with mobile carriers, besides partnering with Ingram Micro to expand our reach in the Indian market. We see a lot of thrust from the SMB segment, especially in India.

He believes with the emergence of the cloud version, the company will be able to target the SMB market more effectively in the coming months.

The new Z30

We have launched three devices on the BB10 platform - Z10, Q10 and Q5 and now launched Z30 in several countries, which will soon be launched in India market. Reviewers believe Z30, with a significantly larger app ecosystem and attractively pricing, is undoubtedly the finest touchscreen smartphone the company has produced to date. However, critics are also doubtful on its hardware and its future capabilities.

Not dead yet

Blackberry had recently reacted to a comment made by a Gartner analyst who said: “Move completely away from BlackBerry devices…

Gartner analyst Ken Dulaney emphasized that all clients should have or implement backup mobile data management plans and test alternative devices to BlackBerry.

Stiking back to this comment, the company said, “We recognize and respect external parties’ opinions on BlackBerry’s recent news. However, many of the conclusions by Gartner about the potential impact of a sale or other strategic alternatives are purely speculative.

“BlackBerry is restructuring and pursing strategic alternatives to increase its focus on its core enterprise business. We remain steadfast in our mission to deliver the most secure and powerful mobile management solutions and smartphones to our customers,” says a company spokesperson.

Whether Blackberry’s new solutions and strategy can help in turning the fortunes of the company around remains a debatable question. Like other senior officials, Mainra is very positive and we just need to wait and watch!