CxO Spotlight: Robin Bienfait CIO, RIM
Interview with Robin Bienfait
1. Are there major differences between BlackBerry users in the North American market and Europe or Asia?
Looking at the underlying wireless needs of customers around the world, you find a lot of common requirements. People want whole solutions rather than piecemeal technologies and they favor the BlackBerry platform because of its leadership in terms of things like usability, manageability, security and return on investment.
We typically see greater differences between sectors than geographies, and we are working with an ecosystem of over 600 partners around the world to help address the unique needs of different segments and industries, in areas such as financial services, sales force automation, field service automation, network systems management, law enforcement and healthcare. For example, law enforcement agencies may require special dispatch and criminal database applications in the field, whereas healthcare professionals might need better access to clinical or patient information at the point of care.
2. In how many countries are BlackBerry products and services available today?
Partnerships are one of our key focuses at RIM. We work with over 300 carrier partners to deliver the BlackBerry solution to customers in approximately 125 countries around the world.
3. How has RIM been able to maintain its leadership over the years?
RIM is one of the most innovative and focused companies I’ve ever seen, which is of course why I joined the team. RIM was a pioneer in this industry and has been leading the way for over 20 years. During that time, they never let themselves get distracted by the naysayers or the hype of the moment and they always focused on the fundamentals with solid execution. There has been plenty of competition over the years, but RIM has continued to lead because it was purpose-built for this market and now has over 7,000 employees focused on this single mission.
4. What hobbies do you enjoy in your spare time?
I don’t have a lot of spare time, so I make sure I spend as much time as I can with my family. I have a husband and three sons. Lately, I have been traveling around on the weekends to watch my youngest son play in soccer tournaments and that has been fun.
5. What is your favorite reason, besides your career, that you enjoy living in Atlanta?
I’m a native of Georgia. I graduated from Georgia Tech, but I also received one of my degrees at Cambridge University in England and I’ve moved nine times during my career. So I’ve lived in many different places and I’ve enjoyed each location. I got to know a lot of very nice and friendly people. But I have to say there is something special about Georgia that keeps bringing me back. Maybe I’ve just never gotten over all those pine trees I grew up with. Of course, a big reason I love being here is that my parents and much of my family still live in the area. RIM is a global company and it’s always interesting to travel around the world, but I’m happy to call Atlanta my home.