‘Game Over’ for BlackBerry in the Enterprise?

By Jack Rosenberger

Enterprise customers of BlackBerry’s smartphones and enterprise management software should find alternatives to the financially troubled company’s products over the next three to six months, according to a recently released Gartner report, a copy of which was obtained by Computerworld. The Gartner report recommends three courses of action.

BlackBerry responded with a statement, saying: “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.” 

The Waterloo, Ontario company, however, has not fared well during recent months. A brief timeline of its recent troubles include the disclosure of plans to lay off 4,500 of its 12,500 employees; a loss of $965 million in the second quarter of fiscal 2014; and a decline in revenue by 49% in fiscal Q2 from the previous quarter. Meanwhile, the company’s sale to Fairfax Financial Holdings of Toronto for $4.7 billion is pending.

Gartner analyst Ken Dulaney’s 8-page report, which the firm released to select BlackBerry enterprise customers, suggests three courses of action:

  • Abandon all BlackBerry devices.
  • Contain the use of BlackBerry devices, with users being informed that their devices will be discontinued, while allowing for possible exceptions for users who are approved by management.
  • Upgrade a limited number of users to BlackBerry 10 devices, while supporting Android, iOS and other platforms.
  • Despite its dire situation, BlackBerry remains a presence in the enterprise. In August, Gartner conducted a poll of 400 business and IT leaders and found that 24 percent are on the BlackBerry platform. However, the respondents expected that number will decline to 9 percent by 2016, according to Computerworld.

The decline of the once-mighty BlackBerry offers a key takeaway for IT leaders: The importance of monitoring and periodically reviewing your vendors and service providers—and watching for troubled companies that, like BlackBerry, might be unable to fulfill your IT needs now or in the near future.

About the Author

Jack Rosenberger is the managing editor of CIO Insight. You can follow him on Twitter via @CIOInsight. You can read his previous CIO Insight article, “How to Lead Like Red Burns,” by clicking here.

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