“UC faces challenges from regulatory mechanisms”

by Faiz Askari    Jul 20, 2012

Sunil LalwaniResearch In Motion, maker of BlackBerry devices, is aggressively pushing its unified communications solutions in the Indian market, with Sunil Lalvani, Director - Enterprise Sales (India) at RIM being the driving force. In an exclusive interview to CXOtoday.com, Sunil shares some key insights and trends which are driving the UC space and the uniqueness RIM offers in its enterprise services. Excerpts.

What new offerings has RIM introduced in India since it repositioned Blackberry as a must have device for people from all walks of life rather than only for C-level executives?
In last few years, the focus of Blackberry’s market has diversified. From just - Level executives we started targeting towards mid to junior level professionals, entrepreneurs from the SME vertical. Our focus towards enterprise mobility has also increased and we realised that the market potential for us is much more than push mail services. We have launched new products and services in our bid to deliver best possible mobility for an enterprise user. Blackberry MVS, Mobile Fusion, Blackberry Enterprise Server and Blackberry Enterprise Express server are some of the new products and services that we have introduced.

What is driving the adoption of Unified mobile communication solutions in India? What are the key differentiators Blackberry has to offer in this space?
As a strong trend, users prefer better and easy access of information. Better collaboration and less complexity in the overall management. These are some strong user demands and we can call them industry trends as well.

Blackberry users get a key differentiator by getting some unique technologies, applications in a secured manner. Blackberry users can have seamless connectivity by having a single number reach. The end user perhaps can manage both it’s work related data and personal data in a single device. And overall a comprehensive communication console can be availed which also covers business critical applications.

What are the emerging trends in the enterprise mobility space?
Among some key trends, in this space, BYOD (Bring your own device) is a very strong trend that we are witnessing. More and more organizations in India are adopting this trend. It is mainly because of the upfront cost savings that organizations are making. But at the same time, BYOD brings great amount of security concerns. The BYOD strategy can be very vulnerable for the data which is stored on the specific device.

As a mobility solution provider, what is RIM’s advice to businesses who want to implement a BYOD policy and at the same time ensure their data is safe? Also what about seamless integration of various devices?
We understand the security concern and vulnerability to the organization’s data. We have a solution called Blackberry Balance Technology. This solution or technology creates two storage bifurcations in device so that corporate data can be kept separately and personal data can be housed separately. With such partition, the end user can take the data wherever he is going but he cannot copy or share the corporate data with anyone. There could be over 450 policies which can be implemented by this solution. These policies can define the level of security preparedness of the organization.

Seamless integration is a big challenge in most of the IT infrastructures. Around two months back we introduced a solution called Blackberry Mobile Fusion, This solution ensures integration and absolute interoperability between various handheld mobile devices. It is actually a management console in which platforms like Apple, Android, etc can be managed easily. Main idea behind this is to bring value to the IT manager who faces challenge in handling multiple devices with varied platforms. We already have 250 users already subscribed to this application within two and a half months of its market activity.

Could you tell us more about your MVS offering?
Blackberry MVS is designed uniquely to let the executive stay connected in a very cost effective manner. In this, the corporate PBX gets integrated with the mobile phone. So in common terms the mobile phone acts as an extension of the corporate PBX by which the person who is travelling anywhere in the globe can be approached by dialing the local land line or PBX number. This gives an edge of single number reach. All it requires is to have a Wi-fi access. According to our experience and estimates, we have seen over 40 % of cost savings in the communications expenses while on roaming. This boasts employee productivity as well.

What is the market potential of unified communications in India? What is the RIMs share in it?
According to a third party research, the unified communication market is growing at a rate of 15 percent year on year. The latest market figure shows that the size of unified communications market is Rs 2600 Crore in India. However, as a listed company we don’t have the breakup of country wise revenue figures. But according to our previous annual results, globally, we registered 41 percent of revenue from the software business and remaining 59 % was from the hardware business. However, Indian market for Blackberry is showing almost similar trends in terms of software and hardware breakup.

With regards to better adoption, what are the key challenges ahead of better mobility and unified communications in Indian enterprise market?
With regards to technology, I do not feel that there is any challenge. The main challenge that unified communication is facing today is from the regulatory mechanism and guidelines. In order to achieve seamless connectivity for the end use regulatory changes are required.
With regards to customer’s will, I do not witness any challenge. But the awareness is still required. Once the IT manager gets a hands on experience with something like MVS, it is very difficult for him to return to the old PBX mode.

How do you ensure SMBs adopt unified communication, since they have a different mindset as compared to large enterprises?
SMEs are relatively more cost cautious. But we consider Indian SMEs as our major growth drivers. So we not only understand their pain points but we also bring several attractive finance options like EMI schemes for them. We also have pay per use kind of model for SMEs. We also have Blackberry Enterprise Express Server, which is uniquely designed for the needs of SMEs. In addition to this we also have buy back schemes in which we motivate users to upgrade the technology. Some of our applications vendors also offer custom made applications on hosted model for the typical SME customer.