Both editions share the new BlackBerry Administration Service, a Web-based console that only works with Microsoft Internet Explorer. The GUI eliminates the desktop software that was part of BES 4.x, and it's well designed. For example, the home screen provides options for managing users and groups, creating and assigning IT policies, handling operating system upgrades on the handsets, and dealing with applications on smartphones. Administrators can also manage the server from this console.
Although previous versions of BlackBerry Enterprise Server had groups, they're more flexible in BES and BES Express 5.0.1. For instance, groups can belong to other groups (nesting or child), which helps IT managers deal with complicated corporate structures. Groups, like individual users, can be assigned to roles, IT policies, and software configurations, and they'll inherit the roles, policies, and configuration from their parent groups. You'll need to construct group hierarchies carefully, because there's no easy way to manage exceptions for a specific user.
Both BlackBerry Enterprise Server and BlackBerry Enterprise Server Express 5.0.1 provide new administration roles that can be used to spread out IT management tasks more efficiently. For example, you could assign one person to serve as senior help desk administrator and others to administer a particular server or group of users.
[ Also on InfoWorld: Keep up with the latest developments in BlackBerry, iPhone, iPad, Android, Windows Phone, and other mobile computing technologies in Galen Gruman et al.'s Mobile Edge blog. ]
Further, both editions turn over a lot of control to users -- self-service that can reduce the work for help desk staff. The Web Desktop Manager (subject to policies) allows users to activate and configure their smartphone settings, back up and restore data residing on the phone, and install applications.
BlackBerry Enterprise Server vs. BlackBerry Enterprise Server Express BlackBerry Enterprise Server Express features more than 35 controls and policies, including remotely wiping a lost smartphone and enforcing password policies. I had no trouble creating policies to lock out Bluetooth, enable the still camera, and allow software loading with the device tethered to a PC. Using the tabbed interface, you pick the rule and whether the feature is enabled or disabled. Typically, both products start with most device features enabled, so you only need to create a rule when restricting a particular capability.