BlackBerry (RIM at the time) was one of the first smartphone makers to invest in mobile management. BlackBerry Enterprise Server (BES) is a local service, running on a server that allows administrators to manage settings, security, and apps for BlackBerry hardware from a central location. But, if you've ever worked with BES at all, you understand the love/hate relationship administrators have with the product. It's always been quirky, requiring constant service restarts and server reboots to function consistently. I've used it extensively in the past and experienced the constant app and service crashes. But, despite its shortcomings, it does offer a solid toolset to manage a BlackBerry-outfitted mobile workforce.
Until now, BES has been offered solely as an on-premises solution. With BES12, BlackBerry is developing a Cloud-based version of the device management platform. The updated platform is intended to help the company broaden the enterprise mobility space and provide a less costly offering to entice small and medium sized businesses to its management solution.
In a world where Android and iOS dominate and BlackBerry hardware has dipped to apocalyptic levels behind even Windows Phone, one would think that a BlackBerry-only solution wouldn't gain much traction. BES12 not only manages and secures BlackBerry devices, but it also supports Android, iOS, Samsung KNOX, and Windows Phone. And, despite the solution's history of quirkiness, BlackBerry does have a lot of experience managing devices.
BlackBerry used Mobile World Congress 2015 to make the announcement and stated that the cloud-based solution will made available later this month.
Information about BES12 is already available on the company's web site (BES12) and you can also register for updates and sign-up for the Technical Preview for cloud-based solution: BES12 CLOUD. To take part in the Technical Preview, you must agree to participate in PR activities and supply the number of tablets and smartphones in your organization per each supported platform.
The mobile management industry has grown leaps and bounds over the last few years, with Microsoft finally waking to the moment and beginning its own trek into the space with Microsoft Intune. Prior to Microsoft's entry, third party providers filled the gaps along with BlackBerry. It's a crowded space for sure and so far there's no clear leader, despite the gains Microsoft communicates.