Research In Motion isn’t what it used to be. The BlackBerry maker, less than a decade ago, was able to solidify its position in the enterprise by delivering high-quality products to corporate users who had yet to fully realize how important mobile devices could be to their bottom line and corporate productivity. The BlackBerry, along with the enterprise services RIM provides, proved to be a revolutionary product for the corporate world. And globally, employees became far more productive than they had previously been.
But in recent years, some things have changed. Whereas RIM was once the only mobile company that mattered to enterprise users, now it’s just one of many that the corporate world is becoming increasingly disappointed by. The once-dominant mobile firm is being replaced by Apple, Google, Motorola and countless other companies that are starting to effectively deliver what the corporate world is after.
So, how did this happen? More importantly, how did it happen so suddenly?
Here’s a look at 10 factors that cased the once high-flying company to come back down to earth.
1. The BlackBerry is a bore
Years ago, the enterprise didn’t care about how a product looked or whether it was consumer-friendly. Back then, it was all about functionality. But nowadays, things are much different. The corporate world doesn’t necessarily want to give employees boring, old products. And unfortunately for RIM, that’s just what it’s offering.
2. Apple is making inroads
Apple was once believed to be a consumer-only product provider. But that has changed over the last couple years as the company has gone a long way in making its iPhone and iPad appeal to enterprise users. Now, many more companies are at least considering adopting the iPhone.
3. So is Android
Even more surprising is that Android-based devices have started to become enterprise favorites. Companies like Motorola and Cisco Systems have provided smartphones and tablets, respectively, that corporate users want, and RIM has so far been unable to stop them from making inroads. It’s a real issue for the BlackBerry maker.
4. Is RIM too consumer-oriented?
Oddly, RIM has tried to become more consumer-friendly over the last few years. The trouble started when it launched the ill-fated Storm to take on the iPhone, and followed that up with the similarly dreadful Storm 2. Add that to the BlackBerry PlayBook tablet, which was marketed to both consumers and enterprise users, and it quickly becomes clear RIM has a bit of an identity crisis right now.
Enterprise Customers Find the Turmoil at RIM Disturbing
5. Corporate turmoil is a problem
If there’s anything the enterprise doesn’t like, it’s a product or service provider failing to keep its businesses in order. At RIM, the company has watched shareholders engage in a mass exodus, employees complain about morale, and the board replace the co-CEOs Jim Balsillie and Mike Lazaridis with a new chief executive in Thorsten Heins. This is all spells trouble. And trouble is something the corporate world doesn’t like to see.
6. Consider the employees
Not long ago, enterprise IT staff told employees what sorts of products to use. But as of late, employee desire has become a greater component in IT decision-making. It’s the new trend of bring your own device, or BYOD. What’s more, consumerization is taking hold. Employees matter today. And they’re increasingly asking for the iPhone or Android.
7. It all comes back to productivity
Productivity matters more than just about anything in the enterprise. If employees can do more work in a shorter amount of time, the company makes more money. It’s simple. However, employees are increasingly becoming more productive using the iPhone or Android devices because they’re products they’re comfortable using at home, and come with solid email and browsing features that make using them much easier.It‘s yet another real problem for RIM.
8. Service outages don’t help
Last year, RIM suffered a multi-day service outage that left its email and messaging services offline. To say that it was a major blunder would be an understatement. The enterprise immediately revolted, and RIM did little to make it better. That’s not the hallmark of a company that fully knows what it needs to do to be successful, and it’s hurting the firm’s enterprise adoption figures.
9. Ease-of-use is important
Go ahead and try to use a BlackBerry after playing around with an iPhone for a while. After doing so, one might find that the BlackBerry falls short in nearly every way. RIM’s BlackBerry OS is obsolete, its products lack functionality, and along the way, ease-of-use is thrown out the window. The enterprise is starting to see that, and it’s a major problem for RIM heading into the rest of 2012.
10. It can
Lastly, one must consider that the enterprise is turning its back on RIM because, well, it can. There was a time when RIM was the only viable show in town, which forced the typical IT decision-maker’s hand. But things are different now. IT decision-makers do have other vendors that they can work with, and they’re doing so. RIM, meanwhile, is wondering what in the world just happened.