BlackBerry Turnaround Progress: 7 Positive Takeaways


BlackBerry continued its transformation into an enterprise software provider focused on cross-platform mobile security and productivity, as multiple data points from its Q4 FY15 call on Friday showed.

Besides achieving profitability and positive cash flow (as well as a $3.27 billion cushion in cash and equivalents at the end of FY15), BlackBerry’s software sales grew 24% quarter over quarter to $67 million, as the company won 2,200 customers, including many competitive displacements, said Executive Chairman and CEO, John Chen. They included:

  • Delta Airlines
  • First Great Western trains
  • Dignity Health
  • Tarpon Energy Services
  • The Government of Canada
  • Social Services Administration of Colombia
  • Australian Transport Safety Bureau
  • Essar Group (one of the largest conglomerates in India)
  • Sonora Quest Labs
  • Kyocera Mita
  • IMS Health

Specifically in the financial services industry, BlackBerry customer wins included SAIC, HSBC, Citizens Property Insurance, ERGO Insurance Group, Credito Familiar and the United States Government’s Internal Revenue Service (more on that below).

“There are many good things happening in the enterprise,” Chen said. “We are pleased with the progress we’re making.”

Here were six other signs of momentum:

  • Interest in BBM’s enterprise offerings. For instance, 400 customers are trying our new BBM Meetings mobile collaboration app, including many carriers, said Chen (note: we just released the Microsoft Outlook plug-in for BBM Meetings). As for BBM Enterprise (formerly known as BBM Protected), the secure, encrypted version of our popular mobile messaging app, the United States Government’s IRS is a new paying customer, said Chen.
  • Customer interest in our other enterprise solutions. They include WorkLife, our solution to give enterprises a ‘soft SIM’ card to ease their financial management of employees’ BYOD phones, as well as the just-launched BlackBerry IoT Platform in medical and logistics industries. This builds upon our foundation in the automotive industry, where our closely-related QNX platform is the longtime market leader and has just been used in its 50-millionth car infotainment system.
  • The growth of BBM as a mobile commerce and advertising platform. BBM, which recently hit 100 million installations via the Google Play (Android) store, is already handling 20 billion ad requests per month, said Chen. We have also launched digital goods such as custom PINs (see a good summary of all our activity here).
  • More and more telecom carriers and other partners are selling our software to their enterprise customers. According to Chen, BlackBerry added 300 reseller partners in Q4 alone. For instance, both China Mobile Hong Kong and 3 Hong Kong (the mobile arm of Hutchison Telecommunications) are offering Enhanced SIM-Based Licensing (ESBL) from BlackBerry. This makes it very easy for enterprise customers to get the cost of BES12, our cross-platform enterprise mobility management (EMM) platform, integrated into their monthly subscribers’ bills. This eliminates the process of migrating licenses, consolidates their operational costs into a single invoice, and other things that big organization CFOs value.
  • Increasing our investments in our vaunted security. These include building up our already top-notch security team, including the hiring of a new Chief Security Officer, David Kleidermacher. Read some of his initial thoughts on mobile data security
  • Broad carrier support for our latest smartphones. Chen noted BlackBerry Passport and Classic are being carried in more than 7,000 retail stores by 160 carriers operating in 86 countries – numbers that should only increase, he added. “That is the best carrier support we have seen in a number of years,” he said, benefiting new devices such as the coming all-touch BlackBerry Leap (watch the latest video here).

Read the BlackBerry for Business blog to learn more about BlackBerry’s other recent enterprise news, such as our partnership with Samsung KNOX or our alliance with Google for Android for Work, or our coming BlackBerry Experience Suite for iOS and Android.

About Eric Lai

I have written about technology and mobility for Computerworld, ZDNet, Forbes and others. I oversee the blogs and social content here at BlackBerry and continue to track and opine about the latest news and trends in enterprise mobility. Follow me on Twitter (ericylai)

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