IBM unveils mobile strategy for enterprises

MobileFirst includes app development, security and device management

Reuters Stewart Mitchell
21 Feb 2013

IBM has unveiled an expanded mobile strategy in an effort to gain advantage over rivals amid a proliferation of devices such as smartphones and tablets.

According to the company, its services division will offer customers a portfolio of products for security and device management, as well as analytics and application development.

Using IBM's MobileFirst, "businesses can now streamline everything from the management of an employee's mobile devices, to the creation of a new mobile commerce app," IBM said.

“To date, mobile computing has been dominated by discussions surrounding new smartphones, operating systems, games and apps,” said Robert LeBlanc, senior vice president of middleware software for IBM. “But enterprises have yet to tap into the potential of mobile business.

"MobileFirst is designed to make the transformation to becoming a mobile enterprise a reality.”

Mobile matters

According to analysts, the move confirms that any tech company wanting to remain relevant needs to be strong in mobile and make it part of their overall strategy.

"This is critical for IBM, because the future of computing is based on a couple of technologies: cloud, mobile and big data," said Lopez Research analyst Maribel Lopez.

"If IBM can actually educate the market that it has a pretty comprehensive (mobile) suite, that positions the company really well."

Currently, only German business software maker SAP was closest in offering a comparable mobile strategy, Lopez added.

IBM has made ten acquisitions since 2006 to boost its mobile offering, most recently TeaLeaf and Worklight.

TeaLeaf is a provider of mobile analytics and Worklight produces development and management software for tablets and smartphones.

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