BlackBerry’s: BIS vs. BES vs. Neither?
Last week we had a request from two of our lovely clients: “Can you setup our new BlackBerrys for us? “Fine, no problem” I said “let us know who the users are and we’ll add them to your BlackBerry Enterprise Server Express (BES Express) installation. From there it’s just a case of putting their email address and activation password into the Enterprise Activation screen and job’s a good’un”. That’s where all the fun started.
Email on BlackBerrys works in two very different ways. One is called BlackBerry Internet Service (BIS) and one is called BlackBerry Enterprise Server (BES). The city folk you see on the daily commute hammering away on their BlackBerrys all have BES. Their IT team (like us) know it’s a good thing. It does proper two-way synchronisation of contacts, calendars, tasks, notes and email and the IT team can even wipe the device if it gets lost or stolen. It’s a cinch to setup for both us as the administrators and the user of the phone. It’s great!
Then there’s BES’ ugly cousin: BIS. It’s configured through a website where users have to put all the settings in themselves. BIS doesn’t do contacts, calendars notes or task synchronisation and the synchronisation it does do isn’t even push! BIS is rubbish! Unfortunately BIS is what you get with most BlackBerry tariffs in the UK and if you want to upgrade to BES you’re now expected to pay an eye-watering £28 + vat per month for each device (confirmed with Vodafone and Orange)! For the vast majority of our clients this leaves them stranded in a gaping void between the “business- focused, great for email” brand BlackBerry markets itself as and what clients end up with.
And it gets worse still for BlackBerry - the real problem for BlackBerry is that the functionality we’re talking about here (which is really the only functionality clients care about) is available on iPhones, Android phones, Nokias and a whole host of other devices already out of the box – for nothing!
The way I see it Blackberry has a consumer email solution (BIS) which is vastly inferior to other solutions we have for SMEs and it has its corporate BES solution which it continues to milk its large corporate customers for. As for our SME clients they fall into the big crack down the middle. You want my advice? Don’t buy BlackBerrys.