Data breaches, cyber threats in BFSI, healthcare industry represent a huge opportunity for BlackBerry: Richard Mcleod

Richard Mcleod CRN

The enterprise software arm of BlackBerry has been in the turnaround mode after it lost its handset market to Apple and Samsung, from being a leader in the handset market to a complete software and services company. BlackBerry made great strides in executing its business strategy in 2017. The company believes it’s no longer in turnaround mode and is pointed in the right direction. Richard Mcleod, Global Vice President – Enterprise Software Channels, ‎BlackBerry talks about the ‘new’ BlackBerry, and getting focused on ‘Enterprise of Things’

What has been the revival journey after BlackBerry abandoned its hardware roots and focus solely on its software, continuing in the communications space but also putting more emphasis on security?
It has been an amazing journey for BlackBerry, from being a leader in the handset market to a complete software and services company. As our CEO John Chen said, BlackBerry made great strides in executing our business strategy in 2017. We are no longer in turnaround mode and are pointed in the right direction. And we’ve made that transformation impressive financially as well. With seven consecutive quarters of positive operating income and an enterprise cyber security software and services business that’s growing at double-digit rates, based on our last quarter financials. (This is based on our previous financials, we are in a quiet period).

If you think about what is the ‘new’ BlackBerry, it is a pretty exciting business. We are all about connecting people and their devices in the most secure manner. If you look behind the scenes, it is also transforming how enterprises develop, market, distribute and sell products. This is what BlackBerry calls, ‘The Enterprise of Things’ or EoT. BlackBerry’s focus is on providing enterprises such as the world’s largest banks, hospitals, law firms with the highest standard of security, ultimately enabling them to be BlackBerry Secure.

How is BlackBerry enterprise business doing in India and rest of the market? What are your expectations from the India market post the partner expansion strategy?
We are very excited to see the growth opportunities in India. As BlackBerry has transformed to be a leading security software company, we have been very focused on bringing the global customer experience through top brands in banking, government and regulated verticals. We are seeing growing opportunities in the India market. India is a crucial market for BlackBerry, with millions of small and large organisations that are vulnerable to attacks and breaches – and they need our help.

If we look at the global cyber security market, it was expected to grow from US$ 137.85 billion in 2017 to US$ 231.94 billion by 2022. According to NASSCOM, the Indian IT industry is set to reach a size of US$ 350-400 billion by 2025. The country can build a cyber security product and services industry of US$ 35 billion by 2025 and generate a skilled workforce of one million in the security sector.

For our leading security solutions and services, India is a major market. Data shows spend on IT by banking and security firms in India is expected to grow 8.6 per cent year-on-year, with the potential to be a US$ 8 billion market by this year. Interestingly enough, the data breaches and cyber threats/crimes are focused on banking and financial, and healthcare industries – this represents a huge opportunity for BlackBerry in the marketplace.

As we leverage our over 30 years of experience in secure mobile application delivery, we are truly finding the market moving towards us. As companies are aggressively moving towards mobile-first applications, there is a massive shift towards software as a service.

Could you explain the shift in BlackBerry’s channel operations from carrier/service provider to ISVs?
Carriers and service providers continue to be an important growth market for BlackBerry. If we go back five-six years, there was a close relationship between a BlackBerry handset and the secure mobility of an email. As we moved ahead with our enterprise security software, we de-coupled that relationship from the handset to the software cloud. Our secure cloud application which was the first email is now virtually available on any application.

Now we de-coupled that from BlackBerry devices and made it available on all operating systems and IoT devices. As we made that transition, the solution provider for systems integrators (SIs) and ISVs becomes very important, as SIs are providing that application integration, application delivery and workflow solution to customers. BlackBerry Secure platform allows for open APIs and SDKs, so those partners can offer significant value and manage all devices as a part of that solution in a secure fashion, integrating it into back-end solutions that are cloud-based.

Please share some of the key customer’s count and name of your solution? How are you leveraging BlackBerry’s partner strength towards this end?
From a global perspective, we have a little over 1,800 partners; 275 of these are in APAC and 56 in India, out of which eight have reached Gold status. Our partners have access to our platform and are provided the skills and competencies to create a differentiation in the market. This marketplace is moving from device management to secure delivery of applications and files and the opportunity to operate in a unique environment. The opportunities for our partners are increasing in terms of the services, the consulting and the applications integrations capabilities- so we’re seeing pretty robust capabilities for our partners.