IBM is assembling a portfolio of software, services, and partnerships to help ease businesses through the transition to doing business on mobile.
IBM on Thursday announced its MobileFirst initiative to help businesses implement cloud, analytics, and custom apps on mobile, with the right development, security, and management tools. (IBM sponsors Internet Evolution.)
IBM's goal is to help businesses achieve the instantaneous reaction times required by customers, employees, and partners using mobile devices.
"Mobile is at an inflection point much like where the Internet first commercialized 15 years ago," Ed Brill, director of strategy for IBM MobileFirst, said in a phone interview. The focus of mobile today is not on the devices, but on what can be done with them, much as the focus of the Internet shifted 15 years ago from browser wars to business opportunities.
"Organizations that are not taking full advantage of mobile computing are leaving a lot of dollars on the table," Brill says. "Embracing mobile computing is no longer an option."
As part of the MobileFirst portfolio, IBM is introducing a new test workbench under its Rational brand to improve the quality and reliability of mobile apps. In security, IBM is investing in tools to help workers keep business and personal data separate on their devices, and to help businesses test apps before deploying to customers and employees. IBM is providing tools to help organizations support BYOD, enhancing its Endpoint Manager with support for the FIPS 140–2 encryption standard.
And IBM is investing in analytics apps to help organizations provide the most compelling customer experience, expanding Tealeaf CX Mobile to allow app developers and marketing teams to get visual insight into how mobile users interact with apps.
Mobile services from IBM include the IBM Interactive agency to help businesses build compelling apps, says Chris Pepin, IBM mobile enterprise services executive. IBM also offers services to help organizations build and integrate mobile apps. IBM services can help ensure the network, mobile device management, and application management infrastructures are ready for mobile app deployment. And businesses can run part or all the mobile app infrastructure in the cloud. Additionally, IBM offers training workshops for businesses looking to deploy mobile apps.
IBM is expanding its relationship with AT&T to provide developers with tools to create faster, richer mobile apps and services for customers. For example, organizations can now quickly incorporate payment and messages into their apps, IBM announced.
IBM MobileFirst is the latest step in a multiyear push by the vendor to embrace mobile.
Since 2006, IBM has acquired 10 mobile vendors, including BigFix for endpoint management, Tealeaf for customer experience management, and mobile app platform vendor Worklight. IBM has also helped more than 1,000 organizations with their mobile transitions, including ING Direct Canada, the City of Eindhoven in the Netherlands, and Visa. IBM has more than 200 apps in mobile app stores, with almost 1 million downloads.
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— Mitch Wagner , Editor in Chief, Internet Evolution