Many mobile devices come with an email client that is built in to the device. These mail apps are well integrated into other apps with notifications, reminders and—finally yet importantly—as a target for the “open with” feature that lets you send any file as an attachment through email.
In this post, I would like to discuss why IBM, like many other vendors, provides a separate app to access email, contacts and calendar information. Many companies are using a separate app because it is not only about email anymore. IBM Verse for iOS, for example, integrates chat, web meeting and analytics capabilities as well as company-focused applications like SAP using a feature called “embedded experiences” from the OpenSocial standard. Today, employees expect an integrated, digital workplace, even when they are working on mobile devices.
Must haves and state-of-the-art features
When I am on the go, built-in apps provide me with access to some basic must-have information I need:
- Calendar entries
- Corporate address book
In addition to this, I use apps with more state-of-the-art features in order to:
- Get presence awareness information (who is available?)
- Start or join a text-based chat
- Host or attend web meetings
- Access my social enterprise network
- Access my files (documents and media files)
Most companies prefer not to store their confidential documents or sensitive personal information about clients or employees in the cloud. IBM, for instance, protects intellectual property and personal data by using its own infrastructure (cloud and on-premises based) and software to protect this environment. Therefore, most IBM users currently have a mixture of built-in apps and apps provided by IBM.
How to be mobile and remain productive: IBM’s secret sauce
One problem of using numerous applications to get your work done is that your IT department has to manage them, but this isn’t a big issue if you are using a mobile device management solution. The bigger problem is the effect on your productivity if you have to keep an eye on many apps to stay up to date on your inbox, activity stream, meetings, documents and so on.
To solve that problem, IBM has integrated all of its collaboration products. For example, if you want to share a file in your meetings app, you do not have to download it from your social network first; you can just add it to your meeting’s library from “My Files.” As another example, my IBM Sametime Meetings app is aware of my IBM Connections account and provides access without any extra login.
The logical next step: IBM Verse
Wait—how can we integrate our broad spectrum of collaboration tools into another vendor’s app? Moreover, how can we take advantage of IBM’s analytics capabilities to organize and prioritize the flood of emails?
The only way to do this was to build our own mail app for IBM Verse, our latest mail and calendar user interface (UI) based on IBM Domino.
IBM Verse integrates real-time communication based on IBM Sametime or IBM Connections Cloud, the enterprise social network based on IBM Connections, as well as analytics to make suggestions from your social graph. In addition, IBM Verse for the desktop adds functions like “mute” or “post to blog,” and of course we expect the IBM Verse for mobile devices to provide the same productivity tools.
To me, IBM Verse is an example of how modern mobile apps should be built, with the following capabilities:
- Awareness of other complementary apps, providing single sign-on and avoiding redundancy
- Integration of all capabilities in one user interface, without the need to switch apps
- Intelligent design that’s easy to learn and use, including suggestions based on users’ behavior
If you want to discuss IBM Verse or mobile collaboration in general, don’t hesitate to connect with me on Twitter @wuerdemann. I would love to learn more about your point of view!