Enterprise Apps

IBM Kicks Mobility Play Into High Gear

IBM has rolled out a mobile software and service offering that builds upon several announcements it made earlier this year at the annual RIM Wireless Enterprise Conference.

The offering, called “Mobility@Work,” is a package of new software tools that allow developers to run existing desktop applications on a mobile device, together with new mobile consulting services aimed at helping companies implement and manage a mobile work environment.

Built on open standards, IBM’s software can be used with most mobile platforms including BlackBerry, iPhone, Windows Mobile and Symbian.

IBM gave the market a hint of the direction it was heading at the RIM conference, AMR Research Director Chris Fletcher told CRM Buyer. Still, these new services and products represent a significant initiative for IBM.

“It is making more and more applications available to the mobile market — including Lotus notes and [business intelligence] functionality from Cognos,” he said.

IBM has been active in the corporate mobile space, agreed John Dunderdale, IBM’s vice president of sales for Lotus. Friday’s rollout, he told CRM Buyer, was “a more focused set of initiatives designed to build out mobile infrastructure.”

Product Lineup

New IBM mobile products:

  • IBM Rational Host Access Transformation Services (HATS) — software that helps developers translate desktop applications into a mobile user interface, plus Web services that ultimately give the end users access to mainframe applications from the mobile phone.
  • WebSphere Business Monitor — business activity monitoring software that allows users to track ongoing and completed business processes, such as an order request or approval for a credit line extension, and report on business operations. It displays real-time information on customizable business dashboards that allow users to identify business problems, correct exceptions and change processes. It is now available on BlackBerry devices and will be available on iPhone in the fourth quarter of 2008.

These new products build on IBM’s existing mobile software offerings — such as IBM Cognos 8 Go! Mobile, which lets users view and interact with BI data.

IBM has also expanded its relationship with AT&T, Sprint and other wireless carriers to provide broader e-mail access to customers who use IBM Lotus Notes and Domino software on their handheld devices. AT&T and Sprint have certified for use IBM’s Lotus Notes Traveler software, which replicates Lotus Notes e-mail, calendaring and personal information management data on select smartphones.

The devices from AT&T that have this capability are the AT&T 8525, AT&T Tilt, Moto Q Global, Palm Treo 750, PantechDuo (Mustang C810), Samsung Blackjack, and Samsung Blackjack II (i617). Sprint is including it on its HTC Touch, HTC Mogul, Samsung Ace, Palm 700W and Palm 800W.

Surging Demand

With this multilayered mobility rollout, IBM is positioning itself for an anticipated surge in demand for corporate mobile applications, Dunderdale said.

“We have seen this space develop fairly rapidly over last few years, both with our customers and within IBM as well,” he commented.

For instance, more than 40 percent of IBM’s workforce no longer reports to IBM on a daily basis; they either work from home or are based on a client’s site. There are now 35,000 BlackBerry devices in circulation among IBM’s staff, Dunderdale added, up from 5,000 a few years ago.

IBM’s Institute for Business Value reports that the number of mobile Internet users worldwide is projected to approach 1 billion — a 191 percent increase from 2006 and a compound annual growth rate of 24 percent. Also, 67 percent of all workers today use mobile and wireless computing.

“We view this space as a huge opportunity for us,” Dunderdale said.

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