If you’re trying to decide whether to upgrade to BES 5 — the latest BlackBerry Enterprise Server — here are a few points to consider.
If you’re using BES 4, you can still manage devices with BlackBerry OS 5. So if you have a corporate standard around OS 5, you don’t need to upgrade at this point. But if you want to take advantage of new features in BlackBerry OS 6, you’ll need to upgrade to BES 5.
One of these features is Mobile Voice System (MVS), which unifies desk phone features with BlackBerry smartphones and Wi-Fi networks. Not only does this make users more reachable, it helps save money, since they can use Wi-Fi where available instead of always using their voice plan for phone calls. For this feature, which can be integrated with Avaya, Cisco, Mitel and AudioCodes equipment, you need to purchase a Client Access License (CAL).
OS 6 also offers Microsoft SharePoint access from BlackBerry smartphones for secure collaboration (like MVS, you need to purchase a CAL for this). This feature is optimized for BlackBerry smartphones with easier navigation, and allows users to edit and save documents back to SharePoint directly from their smartphone.
If your organization is struggling with the supporting your evolving client infrastructure, the latest OS offers BlackBerry Balance, which lets IT managers wipe corporate data, but leaves personal data. That means devices can be used for both business and personal use, without compromising security (no copy-paste from an enterprise app to a personal app, for example) — while keeping employees happy.
Another point to consider is that BlackBerry Business Cloud Services will be available early next year, and that may be the right fit for your organization. Microsoft is in beta testing of the hosted BlackBerry service for Office 365, called BlackBerry Business Cloud Services from RIM. This provides a secure link between Microsoft Office 365 messaging services and BlackBerry smartphones.
If you’re not sure whether it’s the right time to move to BES 5, it’s worth taking a more in-depth look into the latest features of OS 6 and seeing if they will help solve some of your organization’s mobile challenges.