A Workplace on the Go: IBM Brings Business Tasks To Your Mobile Device

A mobile world demands a new approach

Cloud & smarter Infrastructure Weekly. An IBM service management perspective. The BYOD (bring your own device) phenomenon is driving rapid change in enterprise IT, and for good reason. If team members are going to use smart mobile devices for work purposes, it's clearly best to help them do it in an optimized, IT-approved fashion.

Even so, however, organizations find themselves in a difficult position as they strive to make that happen. Consider the following issues:

All of these issues must be weighed and pondered to arrive at an optimized BYOD strategy—and to carry it out.

IBM’s next-generation Maximo Mobile extends the reach of the IBM Cloud and Smarter Infrastructure portfolio

For team members on the go, it's very handy to be able to submit work orders, track task execution progress, determine whether follow-up work is needed, and if so, delegate it to an appropriate and geographically convenient technician—all without having to find a workstation to do that from.

That seemingly difficult job recently became much simpler with the advent of the next-generation mobile solution that integrates capabilities from IBM Maximo, IBM TRIRIGA, and IBM SmartCloud Control Desk. This offering gives on-the-go employees access to the services and information they need, wherever they happen to be, from a variety of different devices.

This means organizations that have already made the investment in those solutions now have a new way to substantially increase the ROI they're getting. It also means team member convenience and productivity in the field climb substantially, because key tasks can be accomplished from almost any location. And security/compliance is enhanced as well, because the process of synchronizing mobile business apps to infrastructural services and data is both seamless and encrypted.

A lightweight, yet powerful and flexible, app foundation

Understanding just how this next-generation offering delivers these capabilities means understanding the environment it's based on: IBM Worklight Studio.

Worklight was acquired by IBM in January 2012 for exactly this purpose—to give IBM a modern, standards-based development environment in which mobile apps could be developed as an extension of the IBM software portfolio, allowing team members to access and use them via smart devices.

To do that, Worklight focuses on what are called "hybrid" applications. Hybrid apps are those that go beyond basic Web apps, in that they take advantage of each device's unique interface, OS, and capabilities. Yet hybrid apps can also be developed far more quickly than apps developed in a completely "native" way, because unlike native apps, hybrid apps don't require platform-specific expertise—only expertise in the programming language and development environment (IDE).

This means organizations can write mobile app code once, then run it on multiple, entirely different mobile devices—for instance, Apple's iOS-based iPhones, as well as phones that run Google's Android platform.

Worklight was thus a perfect fit for IBM as a means of creating new apps that link key infrastructural solutions to smart mobile devices. And because IBM makes both the back end and front end of that link, the data flow both ways is seamless and secure—exactly what organizations are looking for to help them improve security and compliance in a mobile world.

A wide range of on-the-go capabilities

What all this means for users of this next-generation capability is arguably even more impressive. They can get instant access to critical services and data, using the smart mobile device of their choice (a tablet or a phone), running the OS of their choice (iOS or Android), at the time and place of their choice.

And because this solution combines capabilities from IBM Maximo, IBM TRIRIGA, and IBM SmartCloud Control Desk, the range of business functions users can perform in this way is theoretically endless. Among other possibilities:

A bright future

As you can see, the next-generation Maximo Mobile will deliver an exceptional range of capabilities applicable to many different business contexts and industries. But its future is even brighter.

Because it's based on Worklight, it's relatively easy to adapt existing applications—adjusting and tailoring them so that they suit a different purpose or job role. This is a much faster process than developing an entirely new app from scratch, and also leverages a foundation that's already known to be secure and cross-platform.

Or, if an entirely new app is needed, it can be developed with surprisingly little time, effort, and expense. Worklight was, after all, designed specifically to make the mobile app development process as fast, feature-complete, and bug-free as possible, while also minimizing the costs and complexity of development. And those new apps will take advantage of each device's specific strengths when possible (example: using its camera as a scanner), instead of forcing branched development, in which different apps must be developed for each different device platform.

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