IBM Aims to Ease Mobile PC Management

Estimating that 80 percent of a company's computer problems are related to management issues, IBM says this will be a main focus for the company in coming years.

LAS VEGAS—IBM has plans to make its notebook customers feel more secure, both in terms of the well-being of their personal data and in the sanctuary of their companies WLANs.

The company next year plans to launch several new applications to ease management of mobile PCs, both for the IT manager in the home office and for the individual user.

"Were trying to make things less of a hassle for the user," said Brian Connors, chief technology officer and vice president of business development and quality at IBMs personal systems group in Research Triangle Park, N.C.

Estimating that 80 percent of a companys computer problems are related to management issues, Connors said that will be a major focus for IBM in the coming years.

"Clearly our focus in the past was on speeds and feeds," he said. "Nobody thought they could go after that 80 percent. It was always owned by Wintel."

Within a year, IBM plans to launch Client Rescue and Recovery software, which includes a set of features built into the computer that make it easier to deal with computer crises such as data loss and hard drive failures.

The GUI is OS independent, so users can get access to the Web even if they cant boot up their operating systems. This means they can get in touch with their IT managers via a Web-based e-mail system even if they dont have access to the corporate e-mail system.

The system also includes troubleshooting messages that give definitive answers to whats wrong with the computer so users who call their help desk from the road can accurately explain what the problem is. Furthermore, it includes a feature that makes it fairly simple to move data from a bad computer and onto a good one.

"We look at it as a lifeboat," Connors said.