BlackBerry turns to the cloud

BlackBerry has been sitting on a powerful internal cloud the company built several years. Now it wants to take advantage of it.

John Sims, the president of Global Enterprise Services for Waterloo, Ont.-based BlackBerry Ltd., said in an interview Thursday that BlackBerry staff called it the iCloud. It was originally built for BlackBerry’s email service.

Sims said that the company is now looking to leverage platform,  and its first step will be developing identity services for the BlackBerry Messenger (BBM). “With this we are one of the largest identity management companies in the world.”

BlackBerry’s cloud will enable the struggling smartphone maker to move up the IT stack, Sims added.

“New services will now be enabled in the cloud rather than being just a piece of software. This delivers a reoccurring revenue stream for partners and for BlackBerry,” he said.

The cloud along with security and a focus on the enterprise market are BlackBerry’s (TSX: BB)  three main pillars for growing the company and helping it maintain long term survival. Sims said that he addresses BlackBerry’s future prospects with customers and admitted they do have concerns.

“Everyone wants to understand that,” he said. We expect people will ask those questions and we are forthright with our vision. They are encouraged by our swift action that provided robustness to the balance sheet,” said the former SAP senior executive.

Sims said that BlackBerry’s goal is achieve cash flow break even by the end of this year and return to profitability in 2015.

“We have to deliver on those things. This is just a general aura of concern that started last year. We are answering those questions and showing customers a new product road map,”

A major part of that new roadmap for the cloud will be BlackBerry Enterprise Service 12, which is scheduled to be released this October. When launched BES 12 will be offered as an on-premise solution and on a private cloud.

“This will give users a hybrid environment as BES 12 can uniquely move between the two environments,” he said.

In 2016, BlackBerry will also move BES 12 to a multi-tenant cloud.

Currently, BES 10 is one of the more cost effective multi-platform enterprise mobility management solutions on the market, according a report from research firm Strategy Analytics and paid for by BlackBerry.

“The pricing offered by BES 10 creates a lowest-cost migration path from a TCO perspective,” said Andrew Brown, executive director, enterprise research at Strategy Analytics. The report was based on a five year total cost of ownership. Brown went on to say that the research firm analyzed the TCO of each solution and took into consideration multiple cost drivers, implementation, support and payment scenarios for enterprises migrating from BES 5 to BES 10 or to other mobility management platforms, as well as enterprises adopting an enterprise mobility management solution for the first time.

In a release BlackBerry said more that 800,000 BES 10 client licences have been issued to customers. The licences are free for organizations that move from BES 5 and other mobile device management platforms to BES 10.

BlackBerry’s cloud strategy will see the company focus on delivering mobility driven services and value add to regulatory industries and large enterprises, Sims said.

Identity management may be the first service but not the only one. Sims said file sharing, voice and other productivity and collaboration services will follow.

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Paolo Del Nibletto
Paolo Del Nibletto
Editor of Computer Dealer News, covering Canada's IT channel community.

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