Who is the biggest victim of IT consumerization?
Research in Motion has been no stranger to the total domination of Android and iPhone – in fact it lost a remarkable part of it’s market share to the new consumer-friendly phones and it just has not been able to keep up with the gadgets. Blackberry used to dominate the business world and is the single biggest victim of consumerization. Nearly all it’s senior management (co-CEO’s, CTO, COO and directors) are out and RIM is either going to be sold or licensed away.
When iPhone launched, many dismissed it’s potential in the enterprise. It lacked so many IT department requirements to be allowed on the network that many never thought it would be a part of the business world. But here is the secret – business people are still just people. And we the people use what we like. IT departments crumbled when it came to policy enforcement and iPhone/Android tag team now dominate the enterprise. This brings up a question for some of you that want to argue the MDM myth – if the IT departments (with all the rules, policies, concerns and logical arguments) were so powerless to stop the Android/iPhone from coming onto the network, what makes you think the IT can sneak it’s way back onto the device to manage it?
RIMM management and their co-CEO’s were as much to blame for the string of errors – from outages (which in the end only cost $54 million, vs. 30% of the stock market capitalization it lost during the outage), the Blackberry tablet and many promises about how great next stuff is going to be.
Now Blackberry has to defend itself from the misunderstanding that it’s leaving the consumer market! It’s not a totally unreasonable misunderstanding, considering how little attention they have paid to the consumer and virtually cornered themselves into being a business solution for companies where IT security still matters over employee happiness. Kind of like the shops that insisted on using faxes when we all got email or places that still use tractor feed printer paper.
Will Blackberry just go Google? There is more and more evidence that Google is heading directly in front of the consumer and with their constant push to the enterprise, would a Blackberry addition to either Android or Google Apps make sense? What Google lacks in focus (search, advertising, enterprise, consumer, maps, advertising, media, phones, cars for the blind, solar platforms) it makes up in ambition.
What can we learn from RIM and Blackberry and consumerization? First.. the fact that it’s real. IT departments, VARs, MSPs and technology advisers alike can no longer count on the reason, regulations or common sense to show their value and meaning in the technology food chain – because managers and executives are seemingly more interested in playing Angry Birds than the exposure once they lose their mobile device with saved passwords to corporate sites, contracts, files and so on. Second, it means we have to embrace the technology knowledgeable and jargon ignorant consumer as a client. It’s no longer a b2b environment and whatever is left of it is rapidly diminishing, so the marketing collateral and value proposition have to shift too. We can no longer market what we think is important and relevant to the customer, we have to promote our ability to work with what they got and what they want.