IBM’s computing in motion strategy has become a little more concrete. The company announced a “new” family of products, which it has termed Mobile Foundation, designed to provide businesses a comprehensive set of tools and services to manage and support their increasingly mobile enterprise environment.

New Tools for the Mobile Enterprise

Before we delve into the features provided by the Mobile Foundation, let’s clarify something. Mobile Foundation is not a new product; it’s not new, nor is it a product. This minor detail might raise an eyebrow, but it does not diminish the value of IBM’s latest addition to the mobile market. Instead of a product, IBM is offering simplicity.

Mobile Foundation is a packaging of several existing IBM tools and the new cross-platform mobile development and integration capabilities IBM gained when it acquired Worklight in January. The result is one mobile product family that allows organizations to:

  • Develop HTML5, hybrid and native apps once and deploy to multiple mobile environments without manually porting
  • Manage and secure network-connected devices, including mobile endpoints
  • Integrate mobile applications to enterprise systems and cloud services

IBM is announced a IBM Quick Win Pilot, a new service offering that helps companies to define and execute a mobile strategy using IBM technology over 10-weeks. 

It’s unlikely the products in IBM’s new mobile portfolio will initially work together as seamlessly as the terms “platform” and “family” suggest. It typically requires a few iterations to unify features and user experience across products created by different teams and vendors.  IBM is offering several configurations of Mobile Foundation. Additional details on system requirements and components included  in each configuration are available from IBM. No public pricing information has been published. The first release of Mobile Foundation is planned for mid-June.

Where Enterprise Mobility is Going

Countless analysts and studies confirm what can be observed in almost any office: Mobile devices from smartphones to tablets are becoming more important to worker productivity. Workers expect portable on-demand computing and constant connectivity -- even if they have to purchase the device personally.

Unfortunately, many technology organizations are not prepared -- applications don’t support mobile access, operational tools are adequate to manage and secure devices and few true mobile strategies are in place to guide which devices they will support and how. Many vendors are offering point solutions, but as the market matures, we will likely see larger vendors begin to offer more end-to-end mobile solutions to serve the needs of businesses that don’t want to spend months or even years piecing together best-of-breed options.