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Old 05-11-2007, 08:23 AM   #1 (permalink)
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Default New CIO wants to get rid of BlackBerries for Window Mobile

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I work for a major construction company, and we've had a revolving door of CIO's over the last two years.

The new CIO is making a name for himself by proposing to switch everyone to Windows Mobile phones from BlackBerries. His primary reason is savings on BES license fees.

I'm high up enough to throw a fit and keep my 8100, but I'd like some amunition. I have a few questions:

1. Are the BES license fees annual? I thought once you added more licenses, you were in.

2. Loaded question, but what are the big hitter reasons BlackBerry is superior to Window Mobile? I'd like to hear some thoughts. The company issued phone he's proposing is the Blackjack. I don't know anything about that phone.

I appreciate your input.

Thanks
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Old 05-11-2007, 08:38 AM   #2 (permalink)
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1. The licenses fees are not annual. If you have a support contract with RIM, called T-Support, then this fee is annual. If you do not have a support contract you will need to pay for the version upgrades, e.g. from 4.0 to 4.1. From time to time you can get free licenses from your carrier if you activate new devices, just ask your sales contact.

2. BB is stable, stable and stable The battery life is far more better.
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Old 05-11-2007, 09:16 AM   #3 (permalink)
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The BB is:

Stable
Secure
Easy to support

What happens when users start to add unauthorized software that crash the phones?
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Old 05-11-2007, 09:17 AM   #4 (permalink)
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I know nothing of the BES side of Windows Mobile so I can't comment.

I was forced to a WM 5.0 device (Motorola Q) that I kept for two, long and tortuous, months.

The main issues, for me, were (are):
1. Extremely poor battery life - even with the extended capacity battery.

2. The EMail interface is DIRECT. If you delete it on the WM device it is deleted on your server. The WM push is not as good as BES.

3. There was no syncable memopad (notes) application when I had my WM device. I use the MemoPad a lot and not having one that would sync with Outlook was a major pain.

4. WM 5.0 was (is) very unstable - going from slow, to slower, to slowest over the course of the day. Very high maintenance OS. I never really felt secure with WM 5.0 and did not trust that I was getting all my EMails and SMSs.

5. Did I mention that by 11:30 AM, each day, I would be searching for a battery charge even after an all night charge at home.

6. No cut and paste function.

7. Would not sync distribution groups that are in my contacts folder. To send emails to multiple people I had to individually look up and add each one. The EMail cc: and bcc: portion of the form was not intuitively positioned. One had to page UP to do a cc: or bcc: on an email - just the opposite of Outlook and other email programs. DUH!

8. Moving mail to folders did not reflect on the other platform. Reading and/or moving on the server did not seem to be duplicated on the WM device and the converse if performing the action on the WM device.

I lasted as long as I could (2 months) then begged, pleaded, etc. to get a blackberry back. Had to pay full shot for the berry as my account had been renewed to get the Q. (Someone from IT has the Q now and is happy).

There are things I miss - the camera and the Windows "like" OS but they are not enough to EVER think of returning.

This was way back in November, December of 2006. Since then WM 6.x has been introduced and I have heard rumors that things are "better". I am staying with the BB and so are the technicans that work with me. We rely on them for IM communications, alarms, phone, emails and use as a notepad.

Good luck.
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Old 05-11-2007, 09:30 AM   #5 (permalink)
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As acnst stated, the BB is stable, and that is it's redeeming quality. From my experiences with Windows Mobile coworkers, they have had nothing but headaches from these devices. The Treo's are atrocious, and the operating system in general gave them the "I bit off more than I can chew" feeling. We don't use BES, but the BB users here have put their devices through hell and back, and the only repeating issues that arise are user error.

The Blackjack is not an exception to this rule. It's actually a lower-performance phone than the Treo. The processor on the Blackjack is around the same speed as the Treo 700w, which was proven incapable of running JUST the Microsoft Applications at the same time. The Treo 700wx is double the processing speed of the 700w, and still freezes up with more than a few applications running. I wouldn't give a Blackjack to my worst enemy, let alone deploy it in a corporation where communication is important.

The cost of replacing these devices, training people on how to use them and troubleshoot them would make any Blackberry fee's pale in comparison. Blackberry is simple and reliable, which is all any company really needs. Anyone who buys these Windows Devices touting their camera or additional features definitely doesn't need to have any influence over purchasing, because they obviously have not researched them at all. The camera is 1.2mp ... WOW.... You should have no problem getting his suggestion thrown out by simply asking him to provide some sort of testament to their reliability and stability, their battery life, and most important to the construction world, their ruggedness. Drop a Treo a foot from the ground and tell me how well it works.

Good luck, and have fun. Should be a no brainer.
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Old 05-11-2007, 09:47 AM   #6 (permalink)
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My last windows pda was a dell axim, so it's been a while. But my last straw was several times when I had to do a soft reset the device had somehow crashed and lost all my PIM data. Actually, it was like I had done a hard reset. So I started backing up to an SD card, but next time it happened (and I was on travel, too) some error prevented me from restoring from the backup. Anyone had that happen with current generation WM or PPC?
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Old 05-11-2007, 09:48 AM   #7 (permalink)
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To add on to FroogleThis' comments about training, you also need to consider support. For the most part, BB devices are all the same, with the same menus (yes, some have trackballs now vs. trackwheels, but they still do the same thing). Even if you're using different models of BB's (as we do), you can still count on Security Options being under Options. Security Wipe is always found in the same place, etc.

If you switch to WM5, you'd have to standardize on ONE model of device, to minimize support issues (and not doing so would drive up soft/internal costs).

Not to mention the security aspect that has already been mentioned. Being able to lock them down and remotely wipe them is excellent security.

I hope you win this argument, I believe your CIO is making a horrible mistake.
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Old 05-11-2007, 10:35 AM   #8 (permalink)
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Sometimes, what appears to be an opportunity to save money turns into a monetary disaster. He needs to realize that though it may appear to be costly, you get what you pay for. If he has lots of free time on his hands and welcomes problems, by all means switch to WM. The smarter move would be to do nothing.
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Old 05-11-2007, 10:47 AM   #9 (permalink)
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i would guess that your new CIO is bias to the WM platform. check his hip for a blackjack, treo, or q.

ask if you would have to pay early termination fees on every phone that is still under contract.
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Old 05-11-2007, 10:54 AM   #10 (permalink)
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Let's not forget that the centralized management tools for Blackberry are light years ahead of WM.

Your CIO needs to consider total cost -- not just licensing costs. IT staff time wasted on supporting WM devices will cost the company money. Employees aren't free even though many companies take them for granted. There are also the more difficult to quantify costs such as end user frustration, training, etc. that need to be taken in consideration.
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Old 05-11-2007, 10:55 AM   #11 (permalink)
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Quote:
Originally Posted by jojo6 View Post
i would guess that your new CIO is bias to the WM platform. check his hip for a blackjack, treo, or q.

ask if you would have to pay early termination fees on every phone that is still under contract.
Excellent point on the Early Termination fee. From what the poster said, he's got a Pearl? Standard Business contracts (wireless) usually are 2 years, due to the lower cost of the devices. At least from my experience. I don't recall the Pearl being out two years ago. ;)
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Old 05-12-2007, 01:17 AM   #12 (permalink)
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I'm just your regular gadget geek, but I am a professional in marketing as well. I have to admit, I tried everything besides BB first. I've actually abandoned WM three times! I went from WM SmartPhone 2003SE to Treo 650 to WM SP 2005 to PPC 2005.

Treo was quick and user friendly but hardly stable. Lots of apps. Great Mac support.

WM... well Mac support isn't too bad considering the source. But it is absolutely inexcuseable to miss a phone call because your phone went into standby and never woke up. Soft resets were a 5-6 time daily occurance. The phones would get slow with use to the point that I had to set up an automated reboot every night. WM SP in particular (both versions I used) would sometimes hang indefinitely requiring a hard reset. This necessitated a nightly automatic backup with subsequent reboot. Push and 3G data were awesome on the PPC device. Unfortunately, that caused the battery to be spent within 5 hours typical use. Many times I would check my voicemail because I thought it odd that I didn't have any calls or voicemails during the day. Surprise! I would have 5-8 waiting for me that I was never notified of!!! Totally inexcuseable. Clients would think I flaked or was ignoring them.

I almost went back to Treo, but took a chance on BB. BB is pricier, that's for sure, but it's worth it. My Pearl is just rock solid. It always works. Never needs a reboot. It has been up since I got it nearly 4 months ago. Email always comes through. Calls come through. Voicemail comes through. I do miss the 3G data, and plethora of apps. But there seem to be more and more every day for the BB and I've finally found all the apps I need. Mac support with version 1.0.1 of MissingSync is all I require. I'm as happy as the proverbial pig in xxxxx.

In short, you really should tell your CIO to look out his belly button to keep from running into things because his head really is that far up if he thinks Windows Mobile can provide a pleasurable user experience and deliver the level of reliability necessary for business, let alone life!
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Old 05-12-2007, 07:39 AM   #13 (permalink)
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Call me a jaded officer of an IT consulting company, but when I see CIO's make sweeping uninformed decisions like that, I always check to see how close to to retirement they are, who they play golf with, and try to figure out where they plan to be working next and how their decision fits into their overall career plan. It's often at odds with the best interest of the enterprise they are supposed to be serving.

That being said, is he nuts? If the BB's are working, he needs to look at lost man hours in retraining (would he bring in consultants for this -- has he worked with them at past jobs?), he needs to look at migration costs and implementation costs (see above, re consultants), and has he looked at lost productivity associated with the inevitable lost and missed communications during the long learning cruve?

If your company is normal, there are probably a lot of real problems that desperately need to be addressed that this guy could tackle. Instead he chooses to break something that's working. Why???

Forgive me, I have spent a week battling COMPLETE IDIOTS entrenched in IT management bureaucracies. Left me predisposed to cut to the chase.
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Old 05-12-2007, 08:12 PM   #14 (permalink)
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Quote:
Originally Posted by takeshi View Post
Let's not forget that the centralized management tools for Blackberry are light years ahead of WM.

Your CIO needs to consider total cost -- not just licensing costs. IT staff time wasted on supporting WM devices will cost the company money. Employees aren't free even though many companies take them for granted. There are also the more difficult to quantify costs such as end user frustration, training, etc. that need to be taken in consideration.
takeshi's got a good point here...support for WM devices becomes tedious by IT staff over time, trust me, I am in IT and we support a wide array of phones (WM,Treo (sorry folks) and BB's). All in all, BB's have never given us issues, except for the outage, but I am not counting that!
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Old 05-12-2007, 10:21 PM   #15 (permalink)
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Quote:
Originally Posted by jcalchi View Post
The new CIO is making a name for himself by proposing to switch everyone to Windows Mobile phones from BlackBerries... The company issued phone he's proposing is the Blackjack.
I'll pray for you.
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Old 05-13-2007, 10:43 AM   #16 (permalink)
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Quote:
Originally Posted by jcalchi View Post
The company issued phone he's proposing is the Blackjack. I don't know anything about that phone.
Did he just get hired fresh out of training?

I can't speak to the IT side of things. I am the guy that IT supports. The rep out in the field using the devices. I know enough about the Blackjack to know that it is similar to the Pearl in one respect: It is the WM based version of a Smartphone designed to appeal to business/personal users. In practice, it doesn't do either one well. Check cnet.com or other review sites, the Blackjack does not get good reviews. I researched them quite a bit before I got my Pearl. It was the counterpart available to me when I upgraded my phone. The rep in the store was very down on WM devices--especially the BJ (pun intended). He suggested that if I had to have a WM device, he would go with a Treo before the Blackjack. But for total reliability, he handed me the Pearl and the 8800 and said these are your choices, if reliability is what you need.

A fellow parent in my son's Cub Scout Den is an IT tech, carries a Treo for work. Prefers the BB system hands down, but his company is on the Treos. He spends more time supporting the Treos than he does their network workstations and laptops. He also steered me to the BBs if I had the choice.

I haven't had an issue yet with my phone that required a complete reset or was too complex to resolve without support. Something I think the CIO should consider. If the average user can't fix a minor problem without support, the "cost savings" on the license fees will be more than offset by the manhours lost to IT's increased support.

I would ask the CIO for a report on how many hours a week the IT people spend in direct support of mobile devices vs. other systems (laptops, etc), if it is possible. If there is very little, why fix something that isn't broken?

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Old 05-13-2007, 11:47 AM   #17 (permalink)
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YMMV but we have one person that supports Blackberry devices and one BES admin. Both are only part-time with regard to Blackberry support as they have other duties that take up the majority of their time. We have several hundred devices deployed. Based on my experience I don't think we could do this with WM devices (or even the PalmOS-based Treos).
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Old 05-14-2007, 12:08 AM   #18 (permalink)
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From the standpoint of a new environment that currently does not have a mobile email roll-out, looking at Windows Mobile for an Exchange shop would be warranted. For a company with BlackBerry already rolled out, then I don't think it'd be worth even looking at, as the ROI would be minimal for the first year or two.

As for the CIO, does he care about security? If so, an easy test to show him the differences is to send him my IT Policy spreadsheet and a screenshot of the 10 or so options available with WM/Exchange. It's a hoot to see the available security feature differences.

I used my Treo for about a week then canned it to the basement. My recent acquisition of a Nokia N95 sent me crawling back within an hour.

Just curious, has he simply made the proposal, or has he actually done the financials? From an annual cost-perspective, you won't take a hit, except in support (assuming you have an annual Exchange support contract, otherwise there's absolutely no difference, as both would be costly). How are your current licenses for the BES, and do you guys add more on a fairly regular basis?
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Old 05-14-2007, 10:57 AM   #19 (permalink)
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If he likes the WM devices, just let him know that he can still have those devices on the system. I recall reading that RIM is writing/written software for WM devices to run this software that will allow a BES interaction.

Here is an email I sent out to my Department

In a nutshell, a user can theoretically come up to us with a phone running Windows Mobile 6 that is running a RIM software on it that basically emulates the Blackberry environment. The article mentions that FULL BES and/or BIS will be available to these devices. This is slated to be available later this year. So yeah, letxxx8217;s get that Blackberry policy updated!

Article:

Henrik Walther Blog Blog Archive RIM Announces New BlackBerry Application Suite for Windows Mobile Devices
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Old 05-14-2007, 01:17 PM   #20 (permalink)
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I work for a construction company as well. There are several good reasons to stick with Blackberry devices, many of which are listed above. To add to the list, one of the primary reasons we use Blackberrys is push to talk. Don't know if the BlackJack has PTT or not, but our field people would be lost without it and there are some projects on which we wouldn't be able to bid/work if we didn't have it as the general contractor requires it.

Don't know if your company makes use of PTT, but if so, that might be reason enough. It is for us anyway.

Good luck.
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