IBM has announced the launch of its new Mobile Foundation, a suite of software and services designed to help clients capitalise on mobile computing.
The suite includes mobile application development intergation tools from Worklight, a company it acquired in January 2012. These allow organisations to build mobile apps that work across all major mobile platforms.
It also includes a mobile device management system, Endpoint Manager for Mobile Devices, that was built on technology from BigFix, a company it acquired in 2010. IBM says this will help organisations support ‘bring your own device’ initiatives.
And for integrating mobile applications with existing IT infrastructure, the suite includes IBM Websphere Cast Iron. IBM acquired cloud-based integration provider Cast Iron, also in 2010. "Now, clients will be able to easily connect mobile applications to a variety of Cloud and back-end systems," IBM said.
The ‘foundation’ also includes services, including a Quick Win Pilot scheme that IBM claims can help clients build a defined use case for mobile technology.
The company predicts that the mobile computing market is currently worth $22 billion, and will grow to reach $36 billion by 2015. A CIO survey by the IT giant found that three quarters are pursuing a mobile strategy in order to improve employee productivity.
When IBM acquired Worklight, IT and telecoms analyst company Ovum wrote that the deal help the company address some of the principle concerns associated with enterprise mobility.
"[IBM’s] recent CIO survey indicated that privacy and security were the biggest concerns in mobile adoption (53%), followed by the cost of developing for multiple mobile platforms (52%), and integrating cloud services to mobile devices (51%)," wrote Ovum analyst Michael Azoff. "Worklight covers the first two, and one expects to hear more regarding cloud services as Worklight has back-end functionality there as well, connecting with the IBM Cast Iron solution."
IBM’s approach of moving its enterprise mobility solutions under a single heading contrast with, for example, Hewlett-Packard’s mobile strategy so far. HP’s solutions are split between its networking, printing, systems management, security and IT services divisions.
It remains to be seen, however, whether pursuing a mobile strategy in isolation, rather than an end-user device strategy that includes mobiles, PCs and laptops, will be most successful approach for either suppliers or their customers.