I did my own BlackBerry research the other day. I must qualify this post’s headline — I called five SMEs to talk about their BlackBerry usage. Each of the companies I called are British companies, they are all primarily engaged in the manufacturing industry and they all employ 25-500 people. I think I probably called about 7 firms in total but stopped when I’d got 5 results.
I recognise that this is less than scientific but they can certainly be considered anecdotal. I simply spoke to the IT director or senior manager — whoever was available to have a chat.
When I called, I introduced myself as the Editor at Mobile Industry Review and gave them a quick overview, pointing out that I was doing a quick bit of BlackBerry research.
I came up with three questions as I didn’t want to impose too much on their time. Indeed I didn’t expect them to be as polite as they were. (I ended up getting a whole load of feedback from each question.)
Here are the questions I asked along with the rather simple results:
- – – – -
Do you have BlackBerry email services?
100% (all five said yes)
Do you intend staying with BlackBerry for the foreseeable future? (i.e. 12-24 months)
80% (4 out of 5)
Are you considering other smartphone platforms?
60% (3 out of 5)
- – – – -
So, yes, RIM are going through a lot of trauma but I wonder whether their core business will still remain relatively secure. That said, relying on core business simply won’t cut it in the smartphone wars. Also rather worrying is that 3 out of 5 are having their heads turned by other platforms. This is not surprising given the consumerisation of IT and the amount of employees hankering to try out the latest gizmos.
[An interesting aside -- one of the chaps I spoke to pointed out that they currently pay for their BlackBerry services and licenses via their operator but plan to stop doing this soon because they intend swapping to Office365. They'll still need BlackBerry 'service' from their operator, but they won't need the client access license costs for their exchange server -- because it's all wrapped into the Office365 monthly service fee. This is good news for RIM's continuity but bad from a reduced license revenue perspective.]