By: Dustin O’Dell
Greetings Mobile Leaders and happy New Year! The Mobile Leader Spotlight is back and better than ever! This week, I am very excited to announce, that to help kick off our 2014 Mobile Leader Spotlight series, we have with us a very special guest. BlackBerry’s Senior Director of Global Brand Strategies, Jaime Kalfus. Jaime was kind enough to sit down and tell us all about the exciting things happening at BlackBerry.
Let’s get to it…
MLA: BlackBerry is often viewed as more secure than other mobile devices/OS. This perception is obviously strengthened with news like the recent announcement that BlackBerry has secured a massive US government contract. How will wee see BlackBerry shift it’s image/marketing? Will the company focus more on government contracts and B2B instead of consumers?
Thanks for doing my marketing job and highlighting that the DoD signed a massive contract with us. Enterprise mobility should not be a risky business. For many companies, especially those in regulated industries who require a more comprehensive and proven security solution, BlackBerry is unmatched. Analyst research shows that BlackBerry has almost 61 percent of MDM share in large enterprises. This point highlights that we have built a trust with our customers and have experience when it comes to managing large, complex mobile environments. We believe a secure, end-to-end solution gives IT managers and business decision makers the confidence and ability to extend corporate data, apps and access to internal tools to mobile devices. This is where our roots lie, and we are focusing on our core base to insure we meet their needs. We see security as an enabler. IT wants to empower their users with maximum access in a safe way and the end user is someone who wants the best productivity tool in their hand. Our devices will continue to innovate to help people communicate and collaborate better. This does not mean leaving the consumer market, particularly in markets like Indonesia where a new device will be delivered through our partnership with FoxConn. But you here in the US, you will see a focus in the near term on B2B in verticals that fit with our fully integrated mobility solutions.
MLA: What do you think is the biggest misconception about BlackBerry?
That we’re dead (we’ve already gone out of business). I love that our new CEO actually came out with a letter early in his stay saying “we are very much alive, thank you”. There is a transparency and honestly that has allowed us to reinforce the facts about our company that have been overlooked. Part of what contributed to this misperception is the idea that our Mobility Management Solutions only manage BlackBerry devices, which is not true. While we offer the most secure option when a BlackBerry device is chosen as the end-point of the system, we are fully committed to supporting multi-OS environments. Because we believe that security cannot be in question, regardless of the devices used. We are attacked by the small “pure play” MDM vendors daily, but what they neglect to talk about is how we at BlackBerry have earned the trust of more than 80,000 enterprise and government customers worldwide – four times more than those MDM vendors combined. We’re still the industry leader in Mobility Management.
MLA: Where do you see BlackBerry in 5 years?
BlackBerry is about security, about productivity and about communications. As John Chen has noted, those could agnostically be put on anything. His vision puts our technology into the role of “enterprise mobility computing engine” to evolve to meet the needs of modern enterprises. So while now the most common association with the BlackBerry brand is our handsets, in the future it will be more on our mobility solutions (software, servers and support of Enterprise Mobility Management tools). You could be an iPhone customer and also a BlackBerry customer or an Android customer and also a BlackBerry customer. It’s no longer mutually exclusive. This is a key message from our new leadership to help understand where the company is going. Almost all enterprises in the world are dealing with mobility issues. Most of them are doing this somewhat piecemeal, somewhat sporadic. For example, they would develop mobile applications for one platform, then they provision them on a different platform, and then manage it on a third one, and they analyze on a fourth one – and they shouldn’t have to do that themselves. There is a need for a very good integrated solution, and that is what we provide and will continue to innovate against.
MLA: BlackBerry’s physical keyboard. How or why was it determined that all devices going forward will include a physical keyboard?
The physical keyboard is a symbol of our brand and a reason why many of our loyal fans have remained with us, but our new products will not be all QWERTY. For example, the upcoming smartphone I mentioned for Indonesia will be a touch screen device. Most of us who love the physical keyboard know that it allows for faster and more accurate typing experiences. As you probably know, a snap-on keypad accessory called Typo was introduced to turn an iPhone into a BlackBerry, showing the importance of our patented, proprietary keyboard design. We will protect that point of difference and continue to be the leader in this space. It reflects the fact that BlackBerry is the right productivity tool for better communications and collaboration.
Well…there you have it!
The MLA would like to extend a very big thank you to Jaime Kalfus for taking the time to sit down with us and dish on BlackBerry’s future. It sounds like she definitely has her hands full and, I think I speak for all of us when I say, we’re extremely excited to see where she and BlackBerry take their business in 2014.
Dustin O’Dell is the Director of Content Management for MLA and Mobile Sales Manager for AdTheorent with a background in consumer data and programmatic buying. O’Dell is currently based in NYC, working with top agencies and brands applying innovative thought at the intersection of mobile technology, data, and marketing to change how brands engage consumers.