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As a resident of a huge city where the streets are always very crowded like Cairo, I do appreciate the value of working from home. It saves me 2+ hours in commuting every day, makes me more available to my family, and more easily committed to my daily 2000 meters swimming exercise.
With the union of Mobile and BPM, the shape of office spaces will totally change. Not only will it be possible to work from home but from every where. It will be very easy for jobs like accountants, clerks, administrators, lawyers, and more to do a large part of their work from anywhere using their smartphones, or if it the task is a little more complex, from their tables.
I was recently part of the team that produced the IBM Redbooks publication Extending IBM Business Process Manager to the Mobile Enterprise with IBM Worklight. While working on this project in Austin, TX, I noticed that few IBM colleagues work on premises. We walked through several empty buildings on our way to the cafeteria. Several of these huge and expensive to maintain buildings with reflecting glass windows will not be used any more. People are choosing more and more to work from home and now even from anywhere.
Office space will only be used as meeting places. Team mates come together just to synchronize their work, have productive face-to-face discussions and then they go back home to execute their tasks. Furthermore, many of the meetings are held as Web conferences, workers collaborate using cloud-based tools, and the meeting space required for face-to-face meetings will be needed only for short periods of time. Companies will rent the office space as needed for the required time and capacity as opposed to owning the expensive office buildings.
It is clear that the question of "where" became irrelevant and the question of "when" will also be irrelevant soon. Working hours will be replaced by measuring workers based on objectives, quality of work, and tasks accomplished regardless of when and where the job gets done. You can complete many tasks in the waiting room of your dentist or while waiting for a delayed flight.
Picture a mortgage lending company. Would-be borrowers submit their requests through their mobile browser. Mortgage officers receive the mortgage requests for review as human tasks on their mobile app. They process the requests along the day as they arrive wherever they are, whether watching their kids playing soccer or at their home office. At the end of the day, they process the same number of requests as they would have in a 9 to 5 job but with more flexibility, more time for family and personal life, and even more timely as they will process requests even after 5 or before 9. Meetings with applicants take place in rented meeting rooms only if needed. All the information required to approve the mortgage application is updated as it is received and questions to the applicants are sent immediately with no delays which results on processing the application faster. The IT team is always available for support or to monitor the IT infrastructure that they rented on the cloud!
With this very low cost of assets and minimal spending on operations, comes some drawbacks. Team mates no longer see each other. The fun, jokes, and bonding that come with staying long hours together late at night, working on a critical situation in the machine room is no longer there. What remains is the stress that you have to face alone, either at home or while waiting for your plane to take off. Team and face-to-face relationships are converted to chat messages, mechanical speaker voices, and artificial live streaming on screen. But this change is inevitable by now, there is no way to turn the clock back. Organizations that have a clear direction for their mobile efforts and see their mobile
strategies as distinguishing them from their peers, outperform their peers across a number of business metrics. Extending core business processes to the mobile space is a key aspect of mobile-enabling the enterprise. Mobile Smarter Process helps organizations to reinvent how business is performed exploiting mobile technologies. The goal is to fundamentally change how an organization does business by integrating Mobile and processes.
The IBM Redbooks publication Extending IBM Business Process Manager to the Mobile Enterprise with IBM Worklight outlines an approach that organizations can use to identify where within the organization mobile technologies can offer the greatest benefits. This book discusses architectural patterns for exposing business processes to mobile environments and it includes practical implementation examples.
Ahmed Abdel-Hamid is a Certified Expert IT Specialist in Software Group Services in IBM Egypt. Ahmed has over 12 experience in services projects in Mobile, IBM IBM Business Process Manager, and IBM Web Content Management. Throughout his career, Ahmed took on many roles, including software developer, solution architect, and consultant. In his
current role, Ahmed is a developer and architect in the IBM Mobile Center of Competence team. He is a husband, father of two kids and an avid swimmer and running fan! Ahmed is a co-author of the IBM Redbooks publication Extending IBM Business Process Manager to the Mobile Enterprise with IBM Worklight
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The IBM International Technical Support Organization just published a new IBM Redbooks publication called Extending IBM Business Process Manager to the Mobile Enterprise with IBM Worklight. The book provides insights regarding how to connect customers and employees to their critical business processes while on-the-go. The book also provides the sample code for the implementation of the use case scenarios described in the book.
This is a short summary of the chapters in the book:
Chapter 1 provides an overview of the market forces that push organizations to re-invent their process with mobile in mind. It describes IBM Mobile Smarter Process and explains how the capabilities provided by the offering help organizations to mobile-enabled their processes.
Chapter 2 provides an overview about the IBM Worklight platform. It describes the main components, business value, and what's new in Worklight V6.2.
Chapter 3 provides a general overview of IBM Business Process Manager (IBM BPM) product and includes concepts such as understanding business process management, the lifecycle of a business process, and new features in IBM BPM V8.5.5.
Chapter 4 discusses architectural patterns for exposing business processes to mobile environments. It includes an overview of IBM MobileFirst reference architecture and various deployment considerations.
Chapter 5 describes important aspects of mobile security that enterprises must consider when designing a mobile app. It also introduces features of IBM Security Access Manager and new security features in IBM Worklight V6.2.
Chapter 6 describes the solution design and implementation for a scenario that represents a cable TV installation service company. Some of the Worklight features described in this scenario are adapter-based authentication, geolocation, offline storage, push notification, and adapters for integration of the mobile app and IBM BPM. The IBM BPM features shown are business process definition, the Java integration service, and IBM Bluemix integration.
Chapter 7 builds on the implementation of the same scenario described in Chapter 6 by adding advanced features from IBM Workligt and IBM BPM such as LTPA authentication and token propagation, device single sign-on, simple data sharing, integration with IBM Bluemix Mobile Data, IBM BPM responsive coaches and IBM BPM case management.
Chapter 8 provides an overview of the basic analytics capabilities available for IBM BPM and IBM Worklight.
Finally, ask your doctor if reading an IBM Redbooks publication is recommended to cure your insomnia.
Joking apart, IBM customers, IBM Business Partners, and IBM consultants leverage IBM Redbooks publications every day to find solutions to real technical problems. You can download the book from http://www.redbooks.ibm.com/abstracts/sg248240.html
In the spirit of full disclosure, I am one of the authors of this book. You can share your thoughts by leaving a comment in this blog post.
Jorge Gonzalez-Orozco is a senior Mobile Solution Architect in IBM. He has experience in Mobile, eCommerce, enterprise integration and software development life cycle. Jorge is a hands-on IT Architect who has successfully led multiple teams in the role of lead architect and project manager. Jorge has led the strategy, desig,n and delivery of IT solutions for the automotive, retail, insurance, and energy industries by managing large global delivery teams. Jorge is also an IBM RedBooks thought leader and he holds the IBM IT Architect and SOA Solution Designer certifications. Jorge is currently based in Raleigh, NC USA.
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Lightweight Third-Party Authentication (LTPA) is a security token type that is used by IBM® WebSphere® Application Server and other IBM products. LTPA can be used to send the credentials of an authenticated user to back-end services. It can also be used as a single sign-on (SSO) token between the user and multiple servers.
Enabling LTPA token between IBM products is very useful; it enables the IBM products to communicate using the same token, with no need to authenticate more than once. After a user logs in, the server generates an LTPA token. The token is signed by a private key that is shared among all the servers that want to decode it. The token is usually in cookie form for HTTP services. By sending the token as a cookie, there is no need for subsequent user interaction.
As a consultant on Mobile technologies, I find that this type of security mechanism is an important feature of IBM Worklight, which enables the mobile application to integrate with several kinds of services by just adding the token in the service request.
After the user logs in by providing the user id and password, the Worklight Server authenticates the credentials and generates an LTPA token, which is an encrypted hash that contains authenticated user information. The token is signed by a private key that is shared among all the servers that need to decode it. The token is in cookie form for HTTP services. LTPA tokens have a configurable expiration time to reduce the possibility for session hijacking.
The figure shows the LTPA authentication sequence diagram:
- The mobile application request access to a secured resource.
- The Worklight Server responds requesting credentials. This request is called a challenge.
- The challenge handler in the mobile application detects the challenge, collects the user credentials, and sends them to the Worklight Server.
- The Worklight Server successfully validates the user credentials against the users defined locally in Websphere Application Server and returns the LTPA token along with the resource initially requested.
- Now the mobile application calls a secured adapter and sends the LTPA token in the request.
- The adapter procedure extracts the LTPA token from the user session and sends it in the HTTP header to the IBM BPM REST API service on the IBM BPM server.
- The IBM BPM server validates the LTPA token, runs the service, and sends the response back to the Worklight Server. Finally the Worklight Server sends the response to the mobile application.
The IBM Redbooks publication Extending IBM Business Process Manager to the Mobile Enterprise with IBM Worklight explains through use cases and usage scenarios, how to build and deliver business processes using IBM Business Process Manager and how to develop mobile applications that enable remote users to interact with the business processes while on-the-go, using the IBM Worklight platform.
In this book, LTPA token authentication is enabled in the integration between IBM Worklight and IBM BPM, where the same token is shared between the two products to demonstrate SSO between two apps that access processes in the organization's back-end systems. The Worklight adapter calling the IBM BPM REST API includes the cookie with the token in it, and secure integration is established. For details refer to the IBM Redbooks publication Extending IBM Business Process Manager to the Mobile Enterprise with IBM Worklight .
Hala Aziz is an IT Specialist in the Cairo Technology Development Center (CTDC) in IBM Egypt. She has ten years of experience in IBM Application and Integration Middleware Software such as IBM WebSphere® Application server, IBM WebSphere Portal, IBM Worklight, and IBM Endpoint Manager. She worked as a consultant on eGoverment and banking solutions for clients in Egypt, Dubai, Oman, and Switzerland. Hala has several technical professional certifications such as Certified Application Developer for IBM Web Content Manager and IBM Worklight and she has delivered IBM internal education and client enablement training workshops around the world. Hala is a co-author of the IBM Redbooks publication Extending IBM Business Process Manager to the Mobile Enterprise with IBM Worklight
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In my role as a Mobile Solution Architect I have spoken at length with several customers about the need to tie existing business processes in with their mobile strategy. There is a wealth of value in this approach because it enables organizations to enhance the customer interaction while streamlining the overall process.
In this blog I discuss the value of combining IBM Smarter Process and IBM MobileFirst initiatives to achieve an IBM Mobile Smarter Process. To be clear, a Smarter Process is simply a business process, which is invoked in response to an event (for example, a loan application or an insurance claim). The IBM MobileFirst platform enables an enterprise to support a complete mobile strategy.
Mobile Smarter Process helps customers to reinvent how their business executes by exploiting mobile technologies. The goal is to fundamentally change how an organization does business by integrating Mobile and processes. It enables a radical simplification of every customer interaction and leverages new mobile contextual opportunities for customer engagement.
Mobile provides the channel and the functionality. Process provides the rigor and the discipline. Organizations should identify the mobile interactions that add value to their processes and then re-designed or re-invent those processes to harness the mobile interactions. Mobile creates numerous timely interactions that can be harnessed for goal-oriented results with Smarter Process.
Harnessing Mobile interactions with Smarter Process
By definition, IBM Mobile Smarter Process enables organizations to take advantage of mobile technologies and embed those very technologies directly into the enterprise. It promotes radical simplification of every interaction, allows organizations to use new mobile contextual opportunities for customer engagement and personalization, and it allows the clients to interact with the organization when, where, how and as much as they want to.
Additionally, IBM Mobile Smarter Process creates a "never before seen" level of personalization between the organization and the client. It allows organizations to empower their employees. No longer are employees tied to their desks in an office, now they have the ability to work more closely with their clients, make improvements, and come up with new innovations to drive greater value and efficiencies. Lastly, it allows organizations to establish their ecosystem where new partners, new sensors, and new data lead to the establishment of completely new set of experiences and possibilities.
IBM Mobile Smarter Process is a true game changer, and it's ready for primetime now! The IBM Redbooks publication Extending IBM Business Process Manager to the Mobile Enterprise with IBM Worklight outlines an approach that organizations can use to identify where within the organization mobile technologies can offer the greatest benefits. This book discusses architectural patterns for exposing business processes to mobile environments and it includes practical implementation examples.
Steve Mirman is a Senior Certified IT Architect focusing on IBM Worklight and the MobileFirst portfolio. He has over 15 years of IT experience as an application developer, solution architect, and product specialist. In his current role, Steve leads proof of concept implementations and consults with customers throughout North America on mobile strategy, architecture, and integration. He holds numerous IT certifications and has authored several technical articles. Steve is a co-author of the IBM Redbooks publication Extending IBM Business Process Manager to the Mobile Enterprise with IBM Worklight
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By Wesley Gyure, Mobile Product Management & Strategy, IBM Cloud & Smarter Infrastructure
IBM® closes on the acquisition of Fiberlink Communications today. Read the press release.
The recent announcement that IBM will be acquiring Fiberlink has drawn much favorable commentary in the industry, and so it should-it's a sound move for many reasons. However, there's a larger story here. This acquisition is only one aspect of IBM's much larger MobileFirst initiative-an initiative that has really only begun, and will be continuing for years into the future through strategic, cross-portfolio integrations.
Perhaps it might illustrate my point to show how it applies to Fiberlink.
Mobile Device Management meets SaaS for high ROI
Analysts have noted that Fiberlink's MaaS360 service is a great way to bring sophisticated mobile device management (MDM) and mobile application management capabilities, including containerization, to user devices-quickly, easily, and effectively.
Because it's cloud-hosted, it streamlines the setup and device enrollment process considerably. It also allows end users the freedom and efficiency of using their own devices, which is extremely important to users when organizations need to manage BYOD.
And once devices are enrolled, the organization benefits tremendously as well by getting a broad array of impressive management functions for a wide range of devices, from iPhones to Android phones to Windows* Phone devices and even Kindle Fire.
Both users and the organization also benefit from the fact that the devices can be managed in a way that enhances security, yet also respects user privacy. For instance, MaaS360 supports secure containers and secure content; it provides for different user contexts through fine-grained policies, such as granular data wipe functions. And it does so for both BYOD and corporate-owned devices.
By integrating best-of-breed capabilities, IBM continually strengthens its complete MDM value proposition
So it's clear that Fiberlink is a very relevant and promising acquisition. But that aspect of it alone is really just the trees of the story. The larger forest starts to become evident when you consider the potential implied by the combination of Fiberlink and the existing IBM MobileFirst portfolio.
Consider security, for instance-a very touchy topic to organizations facing a user-launched BYOD revolution. It's a common concern that if data and services are accessed in ways never originally intended by IT, the result will be new risks (some of them potentially disastrous).
Well, that concern starts to diminish when you consider that IBM isn't just acquiring Fiberlink, but will also be integrating Fiberlink technology with related technology that has been either developed organically in IBM or acquired through our other acquisitions.
Trusteer is a good example-another recent acquisition, and one that's also directly on point in the area of secure mobile devices. Trusteer's focus is on proactive security in areas like fraud prevention, risk prevention, advanced persistent threat detection and risk mitigation, and smart detection of both malware and account takeover.
So what happens when Fiberlink capabilities and Trusteer capabilities are brought under the IBM banner and integrated not just with each other, but also with current IBM solutions like the IBM Endpoint Manager family?
The phrase "greater than the sum of its parts" comes to mind. Now organizations will be able to not only secure mobile devices, but also achieve comparable security (or conceivably even greater security) than they've historically been able to achieve for traditional endpoints like laptops and desktops.
And that will benefit an increasingly broad ecosystem of users, too-everybody from consumers to business partners to vendors, contractors, and employees, by helping to lock down not just the device but its data and the transactions conducted while using it.
Furthermore, this particular instance-Fiberlink and Trusteer and Endpoint Manager for better security-only scratches the surface of the endless integration possibilities.
Here's another. Via the Fiberlink acquisition, IBM's unified device management capabilities-already strong-become stronger yet, because now IBM can offer best-of-market capabilities for both traditional endpoints and mobile devices, both on premises and via a hosted cloud offering.
Building better apps-and app development environments
What about app development? Already many organizations are building their own custom apps for business purposes because of the way mobile applications can streamline business processes and create added value both for the organization and its users/customers-if apps are offered for multiple operating systems, and work in a consistent manner.
For instance, automobile insurance claims can now often be handled via photographs taken by customers' mobile devices and submitted directly to insurers. Such a process, not possible a decade ago, saves considerable time and energy for both the insurers and their customers.
For organizations interested in pursuing app development of this type, IBM Worklight** is already a very attractive development environment that allows them to create hybrid apps with a nice balance between rapid development for multiple platforms (like Android and iOS) and support for the specific strengths and interfaces associated with those platforms.
So could Worklight-built apps also benefit from the new capabilities associated with IBM's MDM acquisitions, like Fiberlink? You bet they could.
For instance, additional security and security management could be baked right into Worklight apps at build time by leveraging Fiberlink's Software Development Kit (SDK). The same argument applies to SDKs acquired from other sources-Trusteer's comes to mind right away. And (just as above) enhanced security itself is really only one of the many promising opportunities that will soon be available to Worklight developers.
The possibilities are really endless-and they need to be, because few IT domains are evolving as rapidly as mobile device management.
Where is IBM taking all this? Ultimately, through integrating the best of the best capabilities from its own portfolio and the portfolio of its acquisitions, IBM should be able to give organizations an enterprise mobility management solution like nothing on the market today. By that I mean one that spans the complete app lifecycle-meaning development/testing, deployment/enrollment, ongoing management including security, and finally even smart analytics that suggest app improvements in ways end users themselves may not even have imagined. (And I doubt you'll be surprised to hear that IBM has very much this sort of thing in the works.)
The bottom line is not just the fact that Fiberlink brings quite a bit to the table for IBM.
It's also that acquisitions in the mobile space, like Fiberlink, collectively signify the growing scope of IBM's broader enterprise mobility management value proposition through smart integration-for the whole IBM MobileFirst initiative going forward.
*Microsoft, Windows, Windows NT, and the Windows logo are trademarks of Microsoft Corporation in the United States, other countries, or both.
**Worklight® is a trademark or registered trademark of Worklight, an IBM Company.
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By Craig Riegelhaupt, Product Marketing Manager for IBM Business Process Management and Operational Decision Management
In 2011, IBM conducted over 3,000 CIO interviews and 99 percent of these CIO's who had mandates to transform their business wanted to create better processes. The IBM Global CIO Study confirmed that process reinvention is a top priority. Since then, technologies like big data, cloud, mobile and social business increasingly have changed the way work gets done. These forces require processes to become:
- Instant: At internet speed
- Seamless: Interconnected and ubiquitous
- Insightful: Targeted and relevant
Forrester Research forecasts that companies will spend about $900 million on mobile process reinvention services in 2013 and up to $2.7 billion in 2014.1 To succeed, you will need to transform your view of process improvement by keeping mobile in mind from the beginning. With mobile as the central tenet, you can reinvent business operations to enable greater customer-centricity, while increasing the efficiency and optimization of end-to-end processes.
In a mobile enterprise, processes must be:
- Mobile-Aware: Be context-aware to engage with all process participants anywhere and anytime
- Mobile-Specific: Capture mobile data to enrich and optimize processes improvement
- Mobile-Centric: Engage in mobile processing of human services to change how employees interact with the enterprise
With mobile, you need to engage all process participants anywhere and anytime to ensure timely success of critical operations. You also need to be able to accelerate development of customer-ready mobile experiences. By reinventing business processes for mobile, you will make processes instant, seamless and insightful. IBM recommended this approach to process reinvention at the IBM Impact 2013 Global Conference, and announced mobile capabilities to help organizations transform and optimize their processes and become mobile-aware, mobile-specific and mobile-centric. These announcements integrate BPM and ODM solutions with the IBM MobileFirst portfolio as follows:
- IBM Business Process Manager and IBM Worklight Bundling: Gain access to non-production use of IBM Worklight Enterprise Edition to develop customized mobile process applications
- IBM Operational Decision Manager Mobile Support: Manage business policies and regulations in real-time via mobile applications, leveraging a RESTful API that allows IBM Worklight developers to embed and invoke business rules
- IBM Integration Bus Mobile Integration with IBM Worklight: Extend data from back-end systems to mobile devices with push notifications and patterns for IBM Worklight
One of the largest academic teaching hospitals in Ottawa, Ontario, Canada, The Ottawa Hospital, wanted to improve its patient focus for optimal care and safety. At the same time, the number of patients with complex symptoms was growing and so were advancements in treatments. The way that delivery teams managed care was a largely manual and un-orchestrated process that varied by individual. The hospital needed to ensure patient care data was available across the whole care team and across unconnected systems and a broad range of communication channels.
Using business process management and operational decision management software from IBM, the hospital reviewed best practices, and then modeled them to make its processes more predictable and easier to execute. The IBM solution integrates with existing hospital IT systems and enables users to interact through web browsers and mobile devices.
The care management platform improves coordination of and visibility into changing patient and hospital conditions. Now practitioners spend less time chasing information and more time delivering care to the patients. The new system helps doctors collaborate and spend more time doing rounds at the bedside. For example, one doctor noticed a patient's behavioral changes at the end of a four-day period, and just prior to the patient's discharge, leading to the life-saving discovery of a brain tumor. Learn more by watching the video or reading the case study.
Cloud: Scaling IT resources for faster innovation
Just throwing technology at today's complex business issues is not enough. IT budgets are diminishing, and technology cannot scale fast enough to meet today's complexity. Most organizations understand the immense potential the cloud holds for quickly scaling their IT resources to meet the fluctuating demands of their consumers and the marketplace. While this ability to quickly scale was a key reason for cloud, and remains a basic benefit of its adoption, the ability to quickly innovate has become the driving force forward. Gartner ranks Business Process as a Service (BPaaS) as the fastest growing cloud segment with 47 percent annual growth.2
As an innovator and leader in cloud computing for more than 45 years, IBM announced at Impact 2013 its BPaaS solution, IBM Business Process Manager on Cloud, plus IBM Business Process Manager Application Patterns and IBM Operational Decision Manager Application Patterns.
IBM Business Process Manager on Cloud is a fully managed business process management (BPM) environment in the IBM SmartCloud. It provides the full benefits of the market-leading IBM Business Process Manager as a cloud-based Platform as a Service. With this PaaS, an organization can obtain a comprehensive BPM suite with flexible pricing and enterprise-level security to accelerate their process management adoption and ultimately their customer success.
In addition, IBM announced IBM Business Process Manager Application Patterns, which are pre-defined configurations of IBM Business Process Manager optimized to run in an IBM PureApplication™ System. Each pattern captures proven best practices for a highly available, production-ready BPM environment in an easily deployable form. The release of the Business Process Manager Application Pattern V8.5 adds new elastic scaling policies that can be leveraged to automatically detect when the configuration capacity should be increased to meet increasing demands on a process application. IBM Business Process Manager Application Pattern includes the same BPM capabilities as delivered in IBM Business Process Manager Advanced V8.5.
IBM also announced IBM Operational Decision Manager Application Patterns. Each pattern contains a comprehensive set of collaborative, role-based capabilities that enables you to model, simulate, execute, rapidly change, monitor and optimize core business decisions that can be deployed onto the IBM PureApplication System through IBM Workload Deployer or PureApplication System. These Patterns are designed to accelerate the setup and management of complex, highly available IBM Operational Decision Manager configurations that are pre-optimized for production use, enabling organizations to focus critical resources more on value-add activities and less on installation, configuration and management. IBM Operational Decision Manager helps improve the management, productivity and governance of your operational decision management projects, and provides the same capabilities as delivered in IBM Operational Decision Management V8.5.
There is no arguing about the challenges and opportunities that big data, cloud, mobile and social business technologies bring forward. But what is not well understood is how to deal with the challenges, and capture the opportunities, that these shifts present. Instant, seamless and insightful process reinvention, like that provided through IBM Business Process Manager mobile and cloud technologies, offers the visibility and transparency into business operations that can help your organization become agile enough to leverage these forces and accelerate innovation.
- "Embrace Mobile Engagement As A Catalyst To Drive Process Change," Forrester Research, 2013
- "Gartner Says Service-Led Solutions Will Displace Traditional Sourcing Approaches Through 2015," Gartner Press Release, March 2013
Get tips, expert insights and best practices about the latest technology for IT organizations in our online publication.
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Inclusion in the Mobile App Showcase
can help generate exposure with clients, other IBM Business Partners and IBM Sales, and open a worldwide market for partner solutions and capabilities. Partners can easily register their apps by using the Global Solutions Directory
. For more information, watch the videos on the value of the GSD and Business Partner Showcase
Note the basic criteria for showcase entries:
- App is built on IBM Worklight or Mobile Foundation
- There is an IBM Business Partner agreement in place
- The partner is a member of PartnerWorld
Please note at this time the showcase is not restricted to production apps. If partners have built a Worklight demo or have a Worklight based solution, they should get their entries in the showcase today.
Aside from the showcase, IBM partners should take advantage of additional mobile enablement resources available on PartnerWorld.
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The IBM InterConnect 2012 Conference
just ended yesterday, and Mobile was on everyone's lips here in Singapore. The conference was a huge success with over 2500 attendees from 50 different countries. You can find videos of much of the conference in three primary places:
- InterConnect Livestream agenda: http://ibm.co/Wb4Loz (offers a break down by agenda and day)
- InterConnect folder on IBM Software Livestream channel: http://www.bit.ly/TEnnuL (lists Livestream videos in folders as soon as they are uploaded)
- InterConnect YouTube playlist: http://bit.ly/O66xV4(includes Livestream content from above plus the YouTube videos we were showing in the social media lounge and some hot topic sessions)
While at the conference, I enjoyed much of my time attending Mobile Enterprise sessions (see my earlier blog entry
) and interviewing the Mobile experts.
Interviews with Mobile experts
We captured some of these IBM Mobile experts on film:
- Marie Wieck, IBM General Manager, Application and Integration Middleware: http://bit.ly/PrFVQY
- Leigh Williamson, IBM Distinguished Engineer: http://bit.ly/WZX5Fd
- Vijay Dheap, IBM Security Mobile Solutions: http://bit.ly/RBTNEC (on stage) | http://bit.ly/UPUqjV (roving)
- Sandy Carter, IBM Vice President of Sales, Social Business Solutions: http://bit.ly/WaZNIm
- Kevin Custis, IBM GBS, Global leader for Social Business and Mobile Services: http://bit.ly/TLRmid
- Matthew Kemp, IBM Software Sales, Mobile: http://bit.ly/XJ7gy5
Below is a great interview with Marie Wieck
. It really sets the stage for Mobile at the conference.
Hot topic session: "Speeding innovation and extending reach with Mobile Enterprise"
During the main Mobile hot topic session "Speeding innovation and extending reach with Mobile Enterprise, " IBM General Manager Marie Wieck covered how Mobile Enterprise is a key game changer in the industry today, giving examples in health care, construction, government, banking, and transportation. She discussed some of the top issues in a Mobile first strategy in the enterprise:
- Fragmentation of devices and platforms
- Speed and frequent iteration of mobile lifecycle
- Online/offline functionality
- Security to protect corporate data
- Connectivitiy to back-end systems and cloud
- Mobile context taking advantage of unique capabilities such as geo-location
Marie illustrated some of her key points with the following videos:
Then, IBM Mobile Foundation
specialist, Miku Jha, took us through some of the unique IBM Mobile offering solutions
that help with some of the issues above and discussed some of the most recent IBM announcements in Mobile Solutions and Services such as IBM Security Access Manager (ISAM) forCloud and Mobile,IBM Mobile Development LifecycleSolution, and new offerings inIBM Mobile Enterprise Services.
John Capriotti, with TBC, shared his company's unique approach to defining and implementing a Mobile strategy. I loved the holistic, ethnographic approach he took with a research design team. His talk was so fascinating, I made sure we captured an interview with him on our Livestream stage
in the InterConnect expo. You can also get a glimpse of his story in this TBC video
During a roundtable discussion, IBM customers, TBC and Gadens, and IBM Business Partners, FA Solutions and Streebo, shared how they implemented their mobile solutions. IBM filmed the hot topic session for replay.
Mobile Enterprise Exchange session
The Mobile Enterprise exchange session at the conference was excellent, During the session, Kevin Custis, Global leader for Social Business and Mobile Services for IBM GBS, led approximately 50 attendees in a highly engaging, open discussion on the most pressing challenges in implementing Mobile Enterprise solutions. Topics ranged from user experience, security, debates about devices and development platforms, and the evolution of mobile strategies. 32% of respondents said that "Optimizing user experience" is their biggest concern in application development. One customer commented, "It's increasingly more easy to deliver an experience, but it's the nuance of the experience that will differentiate a company."
When asked, What have been your most significant challenges with connecting/integrating mobile into the rest of your IT environment?," 52% of respondents said "We have not developed our approach yet, and are still evaluating our challenges." Generally, the group felt that they ranked alongside competition since much of the industry has not evolved this space yet.
Photos of IBM Mobile activities at InterConnect
While roaming around the conference, I took a few pictures
of Mobile sessions and experts. Enjoy!
My next stop in covering IBM Mobile Enterprise
is an exciting trip to the Information on Demand Conference
in Las Vegas, October 21-25, 2012. The main themes in Mobile will cover big data, analytics, information management, enterprise content management, data services, and more. As always, I'm looking forward to learning more and meeting new experts in this space.
Stay current on and connected with IBM Mobile news and experts in the following ways:
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I'd like my work environment to go, please. Stick a thermometer into tech development clusters in 2012 and you'll quickly find that nothing's hotter than mobile.
There's good reason for that -- people love the portability and simplicity of the smart-device platform, be it tablets or phones, and they want to leverage that portability and simplicity for business purposes.
Thing is, organizations that are on-board with that plan are still caught in a bit of a bind. They have to find a way to roll out mobile apps
not just quickly, but also effectively -- a way that will take best advantage of the strengths of mobile, yet minimize or eliminate the weaknesses.
So, among other issues, that means thinking about:
- Device-specific implementation. The rapid proliferation of smart devices means that there are, today, a variety of platforms, each with its own look and feel and range of special features. If developers trot out new apps that don't take advantage of all that (aka "lowest-common-denominator" apps), they're failing to tap the device's full business potential. But if on the other hand, they painstakingly develop apps independently, for each particular platform, they multiply the total amount of work required, and delay rollout.
- Server-side connectivity. It's not enough just to deliver mobile apps; those apps will have to link to the back end in a really seamless, smooth way if users are going to perform real work. So it's crucial to take into account the server-side architecture, not just the user's front-end experience.
- Security. Smart devices aren't, as a general rule, particularly smart in this area. But for business purposes, it's obviously essential that core resources like e-mail, databases and line-of-business services are only accessed in the right way, by the right people. The same argument applies in the context of regulation compliance. If the government says only certain guys should be able to access sensitive customer data, you'd better make sure that's the case -- whether those guys are using mobile apps or not.
This, I'm thinking, was the logic behind IBM's January acquisition of mobile application IDE provider Worklight
. IBM doesn't ask my opinion on such topics, but if it had, I would have said Worklight was the goods.
Why? Go through the bullet list above and you'll see why.IBM Worklight Studio makes hybrid development a piece of cake
Jim Zhang, Architect of Web Development Tools for IBM Rational, saw things the same way when I talked to him last week.
�The Worklight platform
That reference to hybrid is probably worth singling out for special attention. If you think about the way mobile apps can be created, the options are, roughly speaking, these:
- Native apps. These are totally platform-specific and as such, they take outstanding advantage of device-specific strengths. But, of course, they also require platform-specific expertise to develop for; development takes longer and is more expensive; and in a world with half a dozen major mobile platforms, that's a real problem.
- Hybrid apps. Here we get a kind of Goldilocks-approved middle ground -- app development that isn't too hard, or too soft, but is just right. The idea here is to develop in the Web-standard languages listed above (under Basic Web apps), but augment those languages with special libraries included in the integrated development environment (IDE); then execute those apps in a native shell to preserve each device's look-and-feel as much as possible.
As you might have guessed, the Worklight IDE -- aka Worklight Studio
-- capitalizes on that third option. Which means that developers can write code once and run it anywhere (rather similar to the Java pitch circa 1995), and yet that code will run in a way that takes advantage of unique device strengths.
As Zhang pointed out, this alone must have made Worklight attractive as an acquisition candidate.
�The original Worklight Studio has features that almost perfectly complement the strategy IBM had set for mobile development,� he said. �Worklight Studio provided layered code structure for cross-platform re-use, the ability to generate native artifacts used by the platform's own IDEs (Android Development Tools or X Code, for instance) in order to bridge the hybrid development with the native development, and a build process that produces platform-specific application code out of the layers. Match that against what IBM Rational had been working on: mobile specific editing (source code development or WYSIWYG UI construction) and testing capabilities. Perfect fit.�
And beyond simplified, optimized cross-platform development, Worklight also helps ensure those apps will work as intended. How? Turns out that developers can also test new app builds inside any standard Web browser -- a lot more convenient than, say, a phone, or four different phones running four different operating systems.
Zhang was quick to point out the additional business advantages of that approach.
�Developers are going to love the way we've simplified and accelerated app debugging,� he said. �Case in point is the browser-based device simulator. This test environment allows mobile hybrid or web applications to be tested and debugged in a desktop browser, making it much faster to test features or weed out bugs than using the native software development kit's simulators.�Worklight helps you optimize not just development, but the complete lifecycle of mobile apps
Another neat thing about Worklight is the fact that it's already integrated with other, related IBM offerings both inside and outside IT development per se. This way, IBM can ensure that Worklight creates as much value as possible, for as many people across the organization as possible -- pulling information from other environments, adding information to them or interacting with them in other ways that make good business sense.
For example, Worklight integrates with IBM's application lifecycle solution Rational Team Concert (RTC). This flexible offering leverages Agile development concepts to help organizations create software that's as feature-complete and bug-free as possible, yet get it all done faster, more easily, and at lower costs than via traditional development methodologies.
RTC's integration with Worklight means that those Agile strengths can be applied to Worklight-based mobile development, too. �The RTC client can be installed together with Worklight Studio, so that the mobile application development can be managed using RTC,� said Zhang. �It's also pretty cool that the various types of builds needed to produce Worklight applications are supported by RTC build systems, too. So RTC capabilities are really being applied in multiple ways for greater value.�
And Worklight is also integrated with IBM Endpoint Manager for Mobile Devices
, a solution that is just about as flexible, and cross-device capable, as Worklight Studio.
What's the relationship between these two tools? You can think of Worklight Studio as the forge in which apps are created, and Endpoint Manager for Mobile as the method by which those apps are delivered to employee devices, secured, managed and updated thereafter.
Endpoint Manager for Mobile even supports creating an in-house enterprise app store -- a centralized repository for new apps and app updates that can be used by all employees throughout the organization.
The Worklight Studio/Endpoint Manager combination thus strikes me as a really end-to-end mobile app solution. Not only does it address every element of the IT infrastructure that involves mobile apps, but it also is end-to-end in another sense -- chronological. Using these solutions jointly, you can build, deploy, manage and ultimately retire apps. That's cradle-to-grave support for their complete lifecycle.
Additional InformationFind out more about Mobile Development and ConnectivityNative, web or hybrid mobile app development � which approach is best for you?Watch this webinar on Harnessing the Power of Mobile in the EnterpriseLearn more about IBM Mobile FoundationTry out the Worklight Mobile PlatformAbout the authorGuest blogger Wes Simonds worked in IT for seven years before becoming a technology writer on topics including virtualization, cloud computing and service management. He lives in sunny Austin, Texas and believes Mexican food should always be served with queso.
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