AT&T and Research in Motion (RIMM) have worked together to launch Blackberry Professional Software in an attempt to lure small and medium sized businesses to the BlackBerry service.
This new BlackBerry software package makes the handheld email system cheaper and easier to use than ever. The package can cater for up to 30 users and offers a wide range of features such as access to email, contacts, a calendar facility, and internet access, which allows small to mid-sized businesses source information or even update their own content managed website remotely from anywhere in the world.
The new software package is much simpler than the Enterprise version of BlackBerry that is used by larger businesses. It doesn’t need a dedicated RIM server, and it can be easily installed on a number of e-mail servers such as Lotus Notes and Microsoft Exchange. In addition to this, the new software system employs a number of predefined user policies. These policies provide a straightforward version of the security and IT features provided by BlackBerryâ€™s Enterprise service, so they give small businesses access to a number of important features, including the ability to limit features on an employeeâ€™s handset, as well as being able to lock down lost and stolen BlackBerry handsets.
Michael Woodward, AT&T’s vice president of business voice, data and wireless products, believes that their new software will help small and medium sized businesses to take advantage of the BlackBerry services that were previously only available to larger companies. He said: â€œBlackBerry Professional Software will allow our small business customers to more easily afford and implement BlackBerry service so that they have many of the controls and security features and the productivity benefits of staying connected that large business customers enjoy.â€
BlackBerry Professional Software offers businesses the opportunity to take advantage of either a five or ten user package. These packages are available at a reasonable price, making them far cheaper than the larger Enterprise service. The new software is only available to businesses with fewer than 30 employees. However, if a business on the new programme finds itself outgrowing this limit, their software can be easily upgraded to the much larger Enterprise server.
Analysts believe that the simplicity of this new BlackBerry programme will make it a resounding success. Jack Gold, analyst with J. Gold Associates, said: â€œBasically, smaller businesses still have wireless e-mail needs, but generally don’t have IT departments to install and maintain complex e-mail systems. This is a good way for AT&T to sell more smartphones, while offering their clients a way to enable wireless e-mail.â€
Chris Hall, senior director of BlackBerry offers at AT&T, echoed this sentiment. He said: â€œSmall and midsized business need voice and e-mail to do business, and this solution fits the needs of legal firms, to small financial companies, to catering companies.â€
BlackBerry Professional Services is currently available in the USA, although it is unknown if and when it will be made available to small businesses in the UK.
Phoenix Business Journal