I've been on the phone for the last week talking to CIOs about their plans for managing mobile and accomodating a bring your own device (BYOD) model for end users. Given what I've been hearing, it came as no surprise to read John Paczkowski's recent story in All Things D that RIM is bleeding developers.
What struck me about the conversations I had this week was that RIM didn't even come up when they talked about their plans for the future. Yes, they like the device management capabilities RIM offers, which were designed for the enterprise from the ground up versus the bolt-on solutions coming out for the consumer-centric Android and iOS platforms. But in the new world BYOD is king, and the focus is moving from tight management of company-issued devices to managing only the corporate resources that reside on the user's device.
RIM has lost the apps war. Consumers are calling the shots when it comes to choosing end devices, and guess what? They want one phone, and it's not a BlackBerry.
Ironically, RIM, with its enterprise roots, is poorly equipped to compete with a consumerization trend that has put end users in charge. "BYOD has broken the one-size-fits-all model of BlackBerry and opened up more flexibility," says Christian Kane, analyst with Forrester Research.
IT has read the tea leaves, and the foot draging is over. CIOs are getting on board in a big way with BYOD right now, and RIM is fading into the background. It's not about cost savings, although savings are there to be had, says Anthony Perkins, CIO at BNY Mellon. But the bank is in the midst of a BYOD pilot because Perkins believes that his users are more productive when they use the apps they want on the platform they prefer, and because supporting BYOD is a great way to recruit and retain talent.
Being issued a BlackBerry used to be seen as a perk. No longer. The younger people coming in the door see it as an inconvenience because it means they have to carry around two phones. To them it's about as sexy as carrying around a pager. But there's still a base of BlackBerry die-hards, as the pilot program shows. "The people with BlackBerrys are working their way through it," he says, "but the new employees are ecstatic."