Eyes on Zenprise: How the 2007 World Champion Boston Red Sox's IT Shop Keeps BlackBerrys in the Game

Twenty-four/seven connectivity is a must for the 2007 world champion Boston Red Sox's behind-the-scenes champions, and the team counts on a mobile device management (MDM) product from Zenprise to ensure that its BlackBerrys never strike out.

Wed, December 12, 2007

CIO — One year ago, BlackBerry management wasn't much of an issue for Steve Conley, director of IT for the Major League Baseball (MLB) world champion Boston Red Sox. The Red Sox had only 30 or 40 BlackBerry users, and managing them was fairly simple. It wasn't until last February, when the organization distributed about 125 more of the gadgets to the team's scouts, that he realized he needed to find a new approach to BlackBerry management.

One of Conley's biggest problems after the rollout was delays. "The messages were getting there, but they were coming in slower," Conley says. "When you have users who are conditioned to how well BlackBerry usually works, [declining performance is] a problem."

The situation wasn't catastrophic, but after about six months and numerous failed attempts to resolve the issue, he got a message from on high: "It's unacceptable. Fix it." So Conley searched for products that not only included BlackBerry environment monitoring but also integrated problem resolution. After extensive research, he discovered Zenprise for BlackBerry. Zenprise was the only product he found with BlackBerry infrastructure monitoring and automated issue resolution instructions, so it didn't take long for the Red Sox to get the product installed. Conley says his mail latency problem disappeared soon afterward.

"[Before Zenprise] our users called us, and we would go through the general troubleshooting steps, go through the server logs, call BlackBerry support, wait on hold, try to figure it out," Conley says. "What we usually got was an answer from Research In Motion [RIM] that said it was a Microsoft problem, and Microsoft said it was a BlackBerry problem. And really they were both right. It wasn't until we got the Zenprise product installed did we know that we had some design issues, and there was a lot of tweaking to be done."

Screenshot of a Zenprise Dashboard
Screenshot of a Zenprise Dashboard

Zenprise for BlackBerry discovered that the issue was not the result of a single infrastructure issue, according to Conley. Rather, several minor issues were compounding and causing message delays. Zenprise discovers such problems by analyzing data flowing through a company's infrastructure, including BES and Exchange servers, to discover issues affecting or that could potentially affect users. The root cause of the problems are determined by a series of automated troubleshooting tests, according to Datoo, and a built-in library of RIM and Microsoft materials helps suggest known fixes. Zenprise also employs a number of BES and Exchange experts to contribute recently discovered fixes to new problems.

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