As end users, it’s easy to get caught up in the benefits that enterprise mobility management (EMM) provides to us and our companies, such as productivity and security. But what is life like for the professionals who manage and support EMM platforms?
In search for answers, I reached out to Kenn Bartlett, an IT administrator with years of experience managing corporate mobile systems. Bartlett works as a messaging administrator for New York-based Inergex, LLC. Bartlett was thrilled to share his story with me on a day in the life of an EMM administrator.
Watts: What does a typical workday look like?
Bartlett: My main focus is always messaging and collaboration, getting the admin server to communicate with the various mobile devices. I interact with a lot of Domino (IBM) products: Lotus Notes, BlackBerry Admin Service (BAS), and Lotus Traveler.
Some clients still run BES5, and its policies are so up to date, I haven’t called BlackBerry for support in over two years. I use BAS to add and remove end users, and have never had issues with activation or mail routing. I rarely have problems arise that can’t be easily resolved by looking through BlackBerry logs.
I work on issues such as devices not being properly set up and communicating with each other, which happen more often than you’d think. I also present EMM or MDM products to clients and guide them on selecting the best ones for their needs.
Watts: I know you have a history with BlackBerry. How did you get involved with it?
Bartlett: I’ve been working in IT for a while, working on Domino administration since the ’90s. I got involved with the BlackBerry platform in 2008. An opportunity came to fill the need for a client to provide BlackBerry administration service, and I readily took it.
The client was a large industrial gas company that needed to share a high volume of information. At that time BlackBerry didn’t have a medium to support this, and I set the client up with a place to share files and collaborate on them. I literally deployed the platform from scratch, creating spaces to help salespeople follow up with leads out in the field using mobile devices. I continued working on the enterprise platform (predecessor to BES) and took it from 4.0 to 4.1, then to 5.0 in 2010. For the past year and a half, we have also been running BES10 as a live demo that we show to our managed clients and prospective customers who are looking for an MDM/EMM Solution.
Watts: How many users/workers do you support today? What are their main needs, especially around mobility?
Bartlett: In North America (including Canada), we support 9,000 users, with 22% of them being BlackBerry users. For end users, our function is to provide server support and give suggestions to solve problems, such as better ways to collaborate, help with current mobile device solutions, and provide tech consulting.
Watts: What do you like about BES?
Bartlett: I love the BlackBerry platform because it allows me to save my clients money. BES’s disaster recovery and high availability features allow the client to not spend money on a disaster recovery solution. Throughout the years, we’ve had clients move on to other solutions and devices, but my platform of choice is still BES, and I’m excited to see what BES12 can bring to the table.
BlackBerry is still at the top of the list for EMM solutions. When I consult with clients, I always show them what BlackBerry can do by setting up pilot environments so they can see it for themselves.
Watts: What other benefits does BlackBerry EMM help deliver?
Bartlett: Unsurpassed security. BES offers the entire package with Triple DES and AES-256 encryption. There’s nothing out there that comes even close to being better. You know all of your information is protected regardless of which version you’re running.
Other things I enjoy include the ability to collaborate through IBM Sametime instant messaging and other Domino applications that are served up flawlessly on BlackBerry devices, and BES’s single sign-on technology.
I also like being able to push policies to different platforms and remote management. Plus the encryption and security are truly second to none. BES5 and BES10 are just solid platforms that work, and BES12 is built from these solid foundations.
Watts: What do you think the future of EMM looks like, and how will that affect your organization’s roadmap?
Bartlett: In general, I think security is going to become a top priority with all of the hacks that are happening globally, and because of BYOD. All organizations will have to take a step back to analyze their policies and hopefully realize that BlackBerry is the best platform. Everyone is going to need separate personal and work containers (on their mobile devices), and I can see healthcare realizing how important this will be in the field.
This may be a little off topic, but key features in the BlackBerry Passport have a bright future in EMM from an end-user perspective. I love that the Passport screen is 1440×1440 pixels, and I can actually see it. The voice recognition is rarely wrong and is a huge advance plus time saver. And BlackBerry Blend is just … wow! You can leave your phone in a drawer while you’re in a meeting and still access your stuff. A phone call can pop up, and Blend gives you the ability to talk from another connected device. It has made collaboration with groups instantaneous.
But most important, as an EMM admin, I’m ecstatic about the upcoming BES12. The ability to manage the BES5 environments that run BB OS7 using the same single interface as BB10, iOS, Android, and Windows Phone is just phenomenal.