Wednesday, January 18, 2006

Mobile Enterprise Weblog: Calculating the cost of BlackBerry transition

Saw this article in Computerworld yesterday about a study from Jack Gold at J. Gold Associates that found "replacing wireless e-mail such as Research In Motion Ltd.’s BlackBerry service for 1,000 workers would cost $845,000, or $845 per worker.

Since I'm a bit wary of these types of economic impact figures from past experiences, I thought I would wait for the expert analysis of ex-Aberdeen analyst Daniel Taylor at the Mobile Enterprise Weblog to weigh in on the numbers. Taylor writes that he

can't see much to argue with in these numbers: they're as good as any others. And if you have a 1,000 seat deployment, it's a reasonable estimate. But how many companies actually have a 1,000 seat BlackBerry deployment? I've seen some in the 300-400 seat range, but 1,000? How representative is that number?
Taylor finds the device pricing estimates Gold uses as pretty close, but wonders, "what about less expensive devices? and less expensive services?" He notes that the prospect of carrier-provisioned mobile e-mail services, such as the "offering from Seven can support devices well under the $300 price."

Taylor concludes:
So the numbers make sense for an apples-to-apples transition from BlackBerry/BES to a Treo/Good, Smartphone/Visto, or Smartphone/Intellisync solution.

And yet there is another question at hand. If a company with 1,000 BlackBerry users is contemplating an alternative, would that company consider a carrier-provisioned solution for some, or all, workers? Are there alternatives available today that would allow a company considering a 1,000 seat mobile e-mail solution to make an altogether different decision?