IBM, Ionic Team to Bring No-Code App Dev to MobileFirst

With growing demand for enterprise mobile apps, IBM teams with Ionic to bring no-code app dev to IBM MobileFirst - akin to Mendix's deal with Pivotal.

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IBM and Ionic announced an agreement to combine the drag and drop design capabilities of Ionic with the IBM MobileFirst Platform.

Ionic’s design capabilities are targeted at business users who want to prototype enterprise-ready apps in minutes -- with no prior programming knowledge or coding experience -- and benefit from open-source technology to further accelerate mobile app portfolio expansion.

There is increasing pressure on organizations to expand mobile app portfolios, but many lack the resources and skills to accelerate app development, which can lead to significant backlogs and lost business opportunities.

Ionic offers a library of standards-based tools, including Ionic Creator, a cloud-based tool for building and publishing apps in an intuitive, visual environment that runs across multiple mobile platforms. Ionic is growing quickly and recently gained an additional $2.6 million in funding.

“Teaming with IBM benefits our customers by expanding engagement with enterprise business users who don’t need a technical background to access the integration and quality assurance capabilities necessary to develop high quality apps," said Max Lynch, co-founder and CEO of Ionic, in a statement. "With close to one million developers using Ionic, we have a rapidly expanding base of users who understand the value of open standards to increase velocity around mobile innovation.”

While 60 percent of large companies used fewer than three mobile apps last year, there is increasing pressure to expand mobile app portfolios, IBM said. In fact, by 2017, 100 percent of the line of business apps in customer-facing roles and 75 percent of line of business apps in internally facing roles will be built for mobile-first consumption, according to IDC.

Ionic’s tools run across multiple mobile platforms. When combined with the IBM MobileFirst Platform, organizations gain a mobile app development and enterprise integration solution with the ability to reduce complexity and tap into analytics, management and security capabilities, the companies said.

Indeed, closing skills gaps by simplifying and accelerating app delivery means organizations do not have to compromise between speed and quality. Users will be better able to respond to business demands and work quickly through heavy app backlogs, while securely connecting to back-end systems to spur broader enterprise adoption.

“IBM and Ionic are helping organizations increase revenues and employee productivity by enabling them to overcome challenges that could hamstring their mobile strategies – such as large mobile app backlogs and lack of skill sets,” said Angel Diaz, vice president of cloud architecture and technology at IBM, in a statement. “This agreement empowers organizations to quickly expand their app portfolios and benefit from open standards to enable developers to complete the last enterprise mile – making apps secure, integrated and easy to manage.”

Business analysts and line of business managers, including those from finance, human resources and marketing, can use the cloud-based Ionic Creator to develop initial designs for new applications. They can then collaborate with skilled developer teams that can take the prototype and easily integrate the app with existing systems and IT infrastructure, then deploy to end users with the IBM MobileFirst Platform.