BlackBerry Enterprise Server (BES) 5.0: Five Features CIOs Need to Know About

RIM plans to ship the latest version of BlackBerry Enterprise Server (BES), version 5.0 or "Argon," some time before this summer. But you don't have to wait to see what's coming down the pike. Here's a look at five key changes that CIOs and their BlackBerry administrators need to know about BES 5.0.

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Thu, February 12, 2009

CIO — On Wednesday, Research In Motion (RIM) officially announced and demonstrated the latest version of its BlackBerry Enterprise Server (BES), the core piece of BlackBerry infrastructure for secure, mobile enterprise messaging, at a press event in New York City.

Though many of the details on BES 5.0 leaked months ago, some of the tweaks and feature enhancements outlined yesterday should be particularly interesting to CIOs and their BlackBerry administrators. Formerly codenamed "Argon"—in reference to the element, which is particularly stable—BES 5.0 is designed to increase the "R" in CIOs' Return on Investment (ROI) without increasing the "I," says Alan Panezic, RIM's VP of software product management.

BlackBerry Enteprise Server (BES) image

Panezic also calls BES 5.0 "the highest quality release of BES ever." Here are five reasons why. (And when you're done reading, don't forget to check out our companion article, "BES 5.0: Five Features USERS Need to Know About.")

1) Redefined, Web-Based BlackBerry Administration Service in BES 5.0

The new BlackBerry Administration Service in BES 5.0 is Web-based, meaning no desktop client needs to be installed on administrators' machines. This gives BES admins more freedom and allows them to perform BlackBerry-related tasks from machines that aren't necessary their own.

With BES 5.0, you simply log in to your BlackBerry account and you've got the full features of the BES at your fingertips.

2) Wireless Device Upgrades for BES 5.0 Users

BES 5.0 features new functionality that allows administrators to search for updates to their users' handheld operating systems (OS) directly through BES, instead of having to scour several carrier sites or RIM's own BlackBerry downloads page to see if new software is available. Admins may also now download and wirelessly push OS upgrades to individual users or groups of users, and if desired, schedule those upgrades in advance so as not to disrupt user productivity.

That improvement's no small matter, since device software upgrades are among the most-time consuming, and therefore costly, activities for BlackBerry Admins.

In the past, BES managers might have had to schedule physical upgrade appointments with individual users, eating up both the BlackBerry admin's time and the user's. With BES 5.0., an admin can plan for a user's BlackBerry to update on its own at two in the morning on a Sunday--if that time works for the user.

"The only reason you'll ever cable your device with this version [of BES] is to charge it," Panezic says.

BlackBerry users even have a say in the upgrade process; they can choose when updates take place; however, if they haven't performed the action by a set date in the system, the upgrade will go out automatically.

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