In the world of smartphones, there’s the BlackBerry, the iPhone, and everything else. The upcoming release of the Palm Pre could shake that up, but Palm hasn’t had the best track record of late. Although Apple and RIM have staked out a lot of the same territory, the segments they primarily appeal to have been pretty well established.
Standing on the shoulders of the wildly successful iPod, the iPhone is the flashy cousin. Slick prime time commercials, the game changing touch screen display, and tight integration with iTunes (the Apple media store that already boasts millions of users), the iPhone is the top consumer smartphone for a reason.
Similarly, the BlackBerry is the serious cousin. Eschewing hip TV ads, the BlackBerry has become a status symbol in its own right, the choice of business-minded professionals that depend on e-mail and voice communications. Dubbed the Crackberry by some for their users tendency to obsess over checking messages, the BlackBerry has entrenched itself as the top enterprise smart phone, all the way up to the country’s top executive, who famously had his BlackBerry souped up by the NSA for security reasons.
For all its strengths, utilizing the BlackBerry for your business has a downside- it doesn’t come cheap.A 2007 white paper by RIM and The Tolly Group estimates the cost of BlackBerry Enterprise Server for 500 users to be $36,729. That’s strictly an entry cost, and doesn’t include the cost of the actual handsets, monthly data rates, or the cost in personnel to manage the servers and applications. It’s a stiff proposition for most SMBs and startups.
There’s another downside of trying to manage these functions in house- the issue of security and data integrity. Unless you already have a bulletproof data backup and retention system and intrusion protection scheme in place (and consider for a second the word bulletproof), you will run the risk of a serious compromise in your critical business communications.
It simply doesn’t make a lot of sense to invest in technology and man hour resources for IT functions that can be done better, and cheaper, by outsourcing. When it comes to making the most of BlackBerry-based communications for your business, the answer is managed, hosted Exchange. The good news is that RIM has a specific licensing scheme that makes it affordable to obtain BlackBerry services on a monthly model.
When you move to a hosted Exchange solution, you can achieve significant benefits in flexibility, security, scheduling tools and much more, but as it pertains to this discussion, you also benefit from built in integration with BlackBerry. Steep buy in costs are mitigated, and deployment time is reduced to the point of insignificance. Your employees enjoy robust, on the go communication, at a fraction of the cost to do it in house.
The savings in employee hours and the cost of training is especially germane. By building your BlackBerry communications on a hosted Exchange platform, you reap the benefit of highly trained, certified technicians that are at your disposal, 24/7/365. It’s a level of service and support that can play a critical role in a company’s overall success, but one which would otherwise break the budget of most SMBs.
NaviSite Hosted Exchange is the right choice for startups and SMBs who need BlackBerry communications without the cost and overhead of bringing it in house. It not only makes sense based on the cost of entry, but also in the ancillary benefits of NaviSite’s enterprise grade network connectivity, data centers built with N + 1 redundancy, and Always There’s support that lives up to the name. Best of all, it also supports the iPhone. After all, where’s the fun in all work and no play?
About the Author
Casey Cook is a writer, technologist, and musician living in South Florida. He worked for over a decade at some of the industry’s largest ISPs anddedicated hosting providers in numerous capacities, including Director of Network Operations, Director of Corporate Alliances, and Senior Product Manager. He has authored countless business proposals, technical manuals, customer communications, marketing copy, direct mail, press releases, and several nationally published case studies. He is heavily involved in the development of virtual worlds and other online communities, and frequently performs live music over the internet to a worldwide audience.