RIM's free server tool a fine SMB play that could be better

RIM's free server tool a fine SMB play that could be better

Summary: Research in Motion unveiled its BlackBerry Enterprise Server Express, free server software that's designed to appeal to small and mid-sized businesses (SMBs). It's a nice move that could be better.

SHARE:

Research in Motion on Tuesday unveiled its BlackBerry Enterprise Server Express, free server software that's designed to appeal to small and mid-sized businesses (SMBs). It's a nice move that could be better.

BlackBerry Enterprise Server (BES) Express connects BlackBerry devices with Microsoft Exchange or Windows Small Business Server. RIM is pitching it as an economical choice for SMBs that delivers enterprise-grade security and manageability features (Techmeme, statement). BES Express is also being pitched as a way to easily connect consumers, who bought BlackBerry devices, to corporate networks.

Also: RIM debuts new BlackBerry browser, BES Express for SMBs

BES Express connects to Microsoft Exchange 2010, 2007 and 2003 and Microsoft Windows Small Business Server 2008 and 2003. Simply put, BES Express synchronizes email, calendar, contacts, notes and tasks.

So what's the big picture from the Mobile World Congress in Barcelona? TechRepublic's Jason Hiner and I were kicking around ideas.

Strategically, BES Express is a way to keep RIM's server tools in the SMB market. These companies will eventually grow up and stick with RIM in the future.

However, RIM's approach could be better. As Jason noted, if RIM really wanted to court SMBs and keep them as customers in the future it would offer free hosted BES for up to 25 users.

If the economics look good for BES Express just imagine how a hosted freebie would fare.

Simply put, RIM's BES Express is a good start that could be better.

Topics: Servers, Enterprise Software, Hardware, Mobility, BlackBerry, Software, Wi-Fi

Kick off your day with ZDNet's daily email newsletter. It's the freshest tech news and opinion, served hot. Get it.

Talkback

4 comments
Log in or register to join the discussion
  • Blackberry Data Plan

    One benefit from this new version is that you don't need the Blackberry Enterprise data plan. Meaning that the basic internet / data plan will sync with BESE.

    http://na.blackberry.com/eng/services/business/server/express/ComparisonChart_NA_012110.pdf
    dvm
  • RE: RIM's free server tool a fine SMB play that could be better

    "RIM also announced a new, free software platform for small-business users called the BlackBerry Enterprise Server Express, intended for corporate customers and SMBs with fewer than 200 BlackBerry users who want enterprise-grade security and manageability."

    This was under your "Top Stories" heading about the release of the new RIM browser....

    So which is it? 199 or 25 users?
    toolman30044
    • Re:

      From the BB website,

      "BlackBerry Enterprise Server Express is
      certified for up to 75 BlackBerry smartphone
      users to be installed and run on the same
      server that runs Microsoft? Exchange 2003 SP2,
      2007 SP1, 2010 or Microsoft? Small Business
      Server 2003 and 2008. () If you require greater
      than 75 users, BlackBerry Enterprise Server
      Express has the flexibility to be installed on
      a separate server, supporting up to 2,000
      BlackBerry smartphone users."

      http://na.blackberry.com/eng/services/business/
      server/express/features.jsp
      dvm
  • RE: RIM's free server tool a fine SMB play that could be better

    I don't think the main problem is that fact that BES Express is server based. Since it's free, you might as well set it up on your servers (if youre ready to bear the TOC of setting up a server based software). The problem is - BES Express lets you sync with Microsoft Exchange. Assumption - you should already have Exchange. Is that viable for SMBs?

    For medium sized businesses yes. But most small businesses cant afford MS Exchange.

    Th best solution is. A hosted email solution that lets you set up messaging features AND synch with your BlackBerry. And at a substantially lesser cost than regular hosted Exchange providers charge, which is around $20/user/month.

    We think we have that covered at HyperOffice..Keep watching us over the next few weeks.

    Pankaj
    http://www.hyperoffice.com
    pankajunk