To address the growing needs of the mobile enterprise, IBM has expanded its software and services capabilities to provide clients with all of the resources needed to develop a mobile computing strategy.
The new offerings build on software IBM attained in its acquisition of Worklight—a privately held Israeli-based provider of mobile software for smartphones and tablets—earlier this year and also taps some of IBM’s Tivoli technology and other products. The move is strategic as it targets a growing opportunity that is expected to drive $130 billion in revenue by 2015, said Mike Riegel, vice president of IBM Mobile Enterprise and WebSphere.
“Mobile is the hottest market out there,” Riegel told eWEEK. “And it’s creating really different challenges for CIOs.”
Customers, such as Rohde & Schwarz, are already tapping new revenue streams and driving greater productivity by using IBM’s solutions for mobile application development, analytics, integration, security and management.
Riegel said airlines, retailers, governments and health care providers are among the businesses turning to IBM for help in making sure mobile services and solutions are readily available to their constituents and in full compliance with their IT strategy. They need solutions that can be applied across any mobile environment—whether a laptop, smartphone or tablet—and can provide an underlying IT infrastructure that is always available, secure, effectively manages data, and integrates front- and back-end systems.
According to the latest reports, more than 10 billion mobile devices are expected to be in users’ hands by 2020, IBM said. Already, 90 percent of mobile users keep their devices within arm’s reach at all times, and complete many kinds of transactions across these smart devices.
Rohde & Schwarz, a global manufacturing company specializing in high-end test and measurement equipment, is transforming its organization into a mobile enterprise by doing away with cumbersome hard-copy product catalogs, Riegel said. By arming its 2,000 global sales representatives with mobile devices and applications, the sales team can now access critical information needed to retrieve client information in real time, access inventory information and rapidly close sales.
Using IBM Worklight’s standards-based development approach and open integration capabilities, Rohde & Schwarz is able to overcome mobile application challenges such as mobilizing enterprise data across multiple platforms without compromising user experience or functionality, whether its salesforce is using a smartphone, tablet or laptop to access the information.
“By introducing mobile into our sales processes, our representatives can now access our in-house product database on the road and showcase brand-new products to our clients in a meeting,” Manfred Metz, corporate mobility manager at Rohde & Schwarz, said in a statement. “Not only does IBM Worklight enable us to efficiently develop these applications, but also easily integrate with a range of back-end systems used across our entire enterprise. Now we are able to deliver exceptional apps in weeks instead of months.”
IBM Delivers Mobility Solutions for the Enterprise
Riegel also cited the example of TBC Corp., an IBM customer and parent company to Merchant’s Tire, NTB (National Tire and Battery) and Midas muffler shops, among others, which is using IBM’s mobile technology. Riegel said TBC wanted to overhaul the in-store experience for its customers and decided to use IBM’s Worklight technology to completely rework the customer experience by providing customers with a tablet computer that provides very specific information about the products. Customers also can use the new scenario generator that is part of the tablet environment, he said.
Yet while the opportunities mobile presents are significant, there are a number of challenges clients face when adopting mobile computing. These include the management and security of devices and their underlying infrastructure, ensuring quality mobile app experience for users across operating systems and devices entering the market almost monthly, integrating data to the cloud and analyzing the insights captured in real time, IBM said.
From consulting services to software solutions and industry expertise, organic research and development to key acquisitions, IBM provides a variety of offerings to quickly adopt mobile throughout the organization. Thus, IBM is expanding its portfolio with new software and services that help clients create a mobile strategy, improve customer satisfaction with analytics for mobile devices, build and connect mobile applications, secure and manage the mobile enterprise, and extend existing capabilities.
Working with IBM consultants and new IBM Global Technology Services (GTS) Mobile Infrastructure Strategy and Planning services, customers can identify gaps and plan for the right mobile strategy and supporting infrastructure that incorporates the goals of the chief marketing officer (CMO), chief information officer (CIO), chief technology officer (CTO) and chief information security officer (CISO) into one integrated plan.
IBM is helping customers improve customer satisfaction with analytics for mobile devices. Big Blue’s mobile portfolio now also includes capabilities from IBM Tealeaf, providing chief marketing officers, e-commerce and customer service professionals with access to real-time and automated insights into online customer buying experiences across online and mobile devices. As a result, organizations can gain actionable insight that allows them to improve customer support, transform site usability, tailor marketing campaigns and increase online conversion rates, IBM said.
And with its developer tools and services, IBM helps customers better build and connect mobile applications. IBM supports, integrates, manages and deploys mobile applications for Apple (including support for iOS6), Android, Windows (including support for Windows 8) operating systems and the BlackBerry. Enhancements to the IBM Mobile Foundation—which encompasses development, cloud integration and device management—will better support native app development and provide offline data synchronization to make it easier for developers to build apps that work when there is no network connection, Riegel said.
In an effort to offer clients accelerated application-delivery tools that support a team-based development environment, IBM announced the IBM Mobile Development Lifecycle Solution. This helps developers quickly develop across multiple platforms and produce higher app quality, and has been proven to improve delivery time by 25 percent. It also helps reduce the cost of development and lower defects by 20 percent.
IBM Delivers Mobility Solutions for the Enterprise
Riegel pointed to three things that stand out about the IBM mobile-development technology. The first is that it enables developers to write an app once and deploy it on any mobile platform. Secondly, IBM provides app-store management capabilities that enable developers to deploy their apps on all app stores. And third is that the mobile development tools integrate with other IBM Rational application-development software.
IBM also helps organizations that need support deploying, implementing and managing their mobile applications with IBM Mobile Application Platform Management (MAPM), a managed-services approach to implementing IBM Worklight.
IBM also helps users secure and manage the mobile enterprise. Recently, IBM unveiled new security and management capabilities designed to reduce the biggest inhibitors that organizations face when implementing mobile initiatives. IBM Security Access Manager (ISAM) for Cloud and Mobile allows organizations to build in superior access control that varies with the situation where the device is being used, including geolocation, network, time of day and more.
Meanwhile, new updates to IBM Endpoint Manager for Mobile Devices will help users more easily embrace the bring-your-own-device (BYOD) trend, which is no longer a “nice to have,” but a “must” for businesses. IBM has simplified processes to secure devices and empower employees with the tools and portals to manage their own devices so that IT departments can focus on the back-end security and compliance needs. To support clients throughout their BYOD journey, IBM also offers new mobile services to manage Apple, Android, Windows and BlackBerry devices.
The expanding use of mobile devices is also placing a heavy burden on private WiFi networks. IBM has improved the visibility and service of WiFi networks to prevent outages and identify trouble spots before a loss of productivity or revenue by incorporating IBM Netcool/OMNIbus into its EndPoint Manager solution.
Also, the rapid adoption of mobile computing is also creating a demand to extend current business capabilities to mobile devices that capitalize on new opportunities, including social business. For instance, IBM recently launched IBM Connections 4 and multichannel Web experience solutions to enable a mobile workforce to get live updates from people in your network, blog, even access and edit files from your mobile device. New remote-data-wipe capabilities help protect company data in case devices are lost, stolen or employees leave the company with their personal device.
IBM has been steadily investing in the mobile space for more than a decade, both organically and through acquisitions, offering a complete portfolio of software and services that delivers enterprise-ready mobility for clients—from IT systems all the way through to mobile devices. This builds on IBM’s deep understanding of its clients and their evolving IT needs over the last several decades, Riegel said.
Asked why customers should come to IBM for help with their enterprise mobile strategies, Riegel said IBM is unique in its ability to meet enterprise needs because of its history of delivering a variety of hardware, software and services and making it all work together for enterprise customers around the world. He also said he believes IBM’s ability to deliver big data analytics technology, cloud services and software development tools and expertise is unmatched in the industry.
“Our user analytics and Tealeaf technology provide capabilities that nobody else can do,” Riegel said. “We truly help you shape the user experience.”