Earlier today, we unveiled a brand new partner program aimed at helping our mutual customers--both IT Pros and the users they support--simplify the task of selecting the best Exchange ActiveSync capable mobile devices, which in turn offer a premium experience with Exchange or Exchange Online.
Dubbed the Exchange ActiveSync Logo Program, this new program will enable you to drive an even richer mobility discussion with your customers as they seek to get a better handle on the increasing number of devices that users are purchasing, bringing to the office, and expecting to have access to their email, calendar and contacts from Exchange. No doubt you’ve got customers who are asking you how to best safeguard their corporate data, manage these additional end-points, and ensure these devices will not generate endless helpdesk calls because relied upon functionality is not supported or doesn’t work as expected.
“So, how does this program actually work?” you might ask.
In exchange (no pun intended) for developing a mobile email client that meets a set of requirements (specifically 14 of them, which is just a coincidence that Exchange 2010 was codenamed Exchange “14”), which is tested and validated by a third-party firm, these handset manufacturers receive a nifty logo they can incorporate into their device’s UI and use in their marketing of the qualified device.
These requirements include important security functionality such as remote wipe and password enforcement, as well as user features that streamline setup (i.e., support for Autodiscover) and boost user productivity (e.g., HTML formatted email and the ability to look up contacts in the company’s GAL). Ultimately, we feel this will elevate the feature set provided by the various Exchange ActiveSync licenses (like Apple and Nokia), adding even more benefit to the “de facto standard” status EAS has garnered since being included in Exchange 2003.
You can learn a bunch more about which devices are qualified as of today from the various links I’ve shared above, but know that we have a very healthy pipeline of name brand partners (both handset OEMs and mobile operators) that are rapidly developing offerings to send through the validation process. So, stay tuned for additional partner announcements down the road.
In the meantime, here’s what I suggest you do as partners:
- Familiarize yourself with the specifics of the program, especially which Exchange ActiveSync capabilities are in the 14 requirements.
- Use this announcement (particularly the blog posting that Julia White did on our UC blog) as an opportunity to start (or continue) a conversation with your customers about mobile email. It’s very likely your customers’ users are pining for mobile access, but these organizations may fear the risks and costs are not outweighed by the business benefits. You can use the Exchange ActiveSync Logo Program as a way to demonstrate they have a great built-in Exchange mobility story that delivers the safeguards necessary to satisfy both users and IT.
- Help customers understand how they can teach their users to use the logo to find these qualified devices. In some cases, like if they already have a Windows Phone 7, Apple iOS 4.x, or even a Nokia phone with the latest release of “Mail for Exchange”, they already meet these requirements for connecting with Exchange 2010.
- Develop and implement mobile device policies with/for your customers that, for example, use the Allow-Block-Quarantine polices of Exchange 2010 to limit access to their Exchange servers to only Exchange ActiveSync Logo barring devices.
- Stay informed of the updates to the program requirements and new devices that achieve qualification.
There’s certainly many more things having this program in your back pocket can unlock vis-à-vis your customer engagements. To help support you, we’ll be providing more details and some supportive content up on the Exchange page of the MPN Portal. Watch for more info and tools there over the coming weeks, and (as always) let us know what more we can do to help support you in delivering this message to our mutual customers.
Group Product Manager
Exchange Partner Marketing