November 12, 2014 / 2:45 PM / 5 years ago

BlackBerry set to map out enterprise strategy at San Francisco event

TORONTO (Reuters) - BlackBerry Ltd’s (BB.TO)BBRY.O strategy for serving big clients like corporations and government agencies will take shape on Thursday as it launches a new mobile device management platform, a vital component of its turnaround plan.

BlackBerry Chief Executive John Chen speaks during the official launch of the Passport smartphone in Toronto, September 24, 2014. REUTERS/Aaron Harris

At a San Francisco event, BlackBerry will outline tie-ups with carriers and service providers that will be co-marketing the BlackBerry Enterprise platform, or BES 12, according to industry sources.

Analysts and investors are watching closely to see if BlackBerry Chief Executive Officer John Chen can kick-start revenue growth.

Growth will depend on the success of the BES 12, a system that will allow large organizations to manage and secure not just BlackBerry devices on their internal networks, but devices that run on rival operating systems such as Google’s (GOOGL.O) Android, Microsoft’s (MSFT.O) Windows and Apple’s (AAPL.O) iOS.

“It is an important event and we are interested in the company’s comments around its enterprise strategy, but strategy alone won’t lead to a full rebound for the company,” said Morningstar analyst Brian Colello. “BlackBerry will have to execute flawlessly over the next couple of years as well.”

Chen said delivering on balance sheet improvements and other pledges in the last year has given BlackBerry a degree of credibility.

“Last year, even if they liked our technology they didn’t believe we’d survive, so they didn’t want to commit to our technology. That is changing,” he told Reuters.

BlackBerry has some 3.4 million clients provisionally signed up for BES 12 who are potentially set to become paying clients early next year. Despite this, analysts remain cautious, noting BlackBerry is competing in a crowded field.

“They are executing in a market that is home to a number of extremely formidable, motivated, capable, deep-pocketed rivals,” said IDC technology analyst John Jackson. “On one hand you have Citrix, IBM and SAP, and on the other it is (newcomers like) MobileIron and Good Technology.” These companies compete with BlackBerry in such businesses as mobile data security and mobile device management.

Despite BlackBerry losing market share in devices, Jackson believes it still has opportunities in the enterprise segment as demands for data security in a mobile world are growing rapidly and many enterprise clients have yet to adopt the systems needed to come to grips with it.

“The mobile revolution has come and gone, companies are only now tooling up for it and it is up to BlackBerry to bring the right tools to the party,” said Jackson.

Editing by Amran Abocar and Jeffrey Benkoe

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