IBM invited people to share in the latest news about the IBM SmartCloud initiative. With more than 120 attendees, from managers to developers, strategic consultants and IBM Business Partners, the sessions have been watched from various perspectives.
This year’s motto, IBM Connect Day, was selected based on the full capability of mobile solutions into the cloud.
More than 20 breakout sessions, held by IBM and IBM Business Partners, IBM Connect Day showed the latest software releases and features.
Maria Gomez, Director of IBM Social Business and Collaboration Solutions for IBM Deutschland, gave an exciting keynote to introduce her view of how to drive social media in the cloud. Her three key messages were:
- Prepare your environment for the next level.
- Start small but be sure about the target.
- Introduce the features available on the market already.
Knowing that my clients are not ready yet and that I have to drive their change, I picked a couple of sessions to prepare myself, concerning the following subjects:
- Overall understanding of how to manage and introduce my applications to mobile devices
- How to build a social portal accessible by every device
- How to manage my device
- How to move my Lotus Notes applications to mobile devices
From the variety of sessions (over 20), I picked the following:
IBM Lotus Mobile Strategy for Social Business presentation
The session was held by “Mobile Mike“ (Michael Hoffmann, IBM) and was all about Mobile First!.
The strategy is to develop new features for mobile devices with higher priority than for desktop or web-based applications. For most customers, the enormous diversity of requirements for mobile devices seems to be the biggest challenge. The answer was given in the session:
- IBM Lotus traveler combines the out of the box IBM Lotus Domino capabilities for mobile devices.
- The integration into IBM Sametime and IBM Connections will bring newly designed applications for mobile device. With 44 updates over the last year and 21 available apps, the focus is clear. Because the update lifecycle is independent from the major product release cycle, the attention on mobile apps is much faster.
- Because buy your own devices (BYOD) is a natural driver, IBM strategy is to cover all mobile platforms to keep track of the variety of Android or iOS versions.
So what is new in the products?
- This week, the announcement came for the IBM Traveler. It is now able to use IBM Domino cluster service features, which will provide the full horizontal cluster capabilities as known from IBM Lotus Domino. On top of that, the Traveler for tablet Android devices has been launched.
- IBM Sametime is providing an application for mobile devices. Chat, awareness, and telephony has been implemented. What is missing is the VOIP call feature, but this has already been announced for the next release. Call routing and one-number service are used to reduce call costs and bring more flexibility to improve communication. IBM Sametime meeting, launched from Apple iPad, Blackberry, or Android, connects employees to their home base at any time.
- Working with IBM Connections mobile offers the possibility to use web browser apps, Connections 3.x mobile apps, and enterprise social collaboration in a single place. The drop box way of using files offline is the latest feature to also cover secured file transfer to mobile devices.
A lot of new features, yes, but how do I manage my devices from an enterprise and security perspective?
The challenge is still how to manage features and easy access versus managed security. The answers from IBM are:
- Tivoli Endpoint Manager to take care of, for example, patching, anti-virus, or device wiping. The IBM Endpoint Manager has been extended to have a single product with a single console to manage desktops and also mobile devices. Security compliance and automated control are now available.
- IBM Worklight brings a development suite so you can manage applications from a central management console.
A bit more on how IBM Worklight should work
When it comes to application development, IBM presented two major directions that drive the market:
- Native mobile applications
- Runs in a browser
The next session on my pick-list was about social portal to integrate social networks in business applications. Katrin Stein, IBM gave some inside information about the key drivers for a social portal.
The main topic was about how to attract visitors to stay in the portal.
Being trustworthy, secured, and available are the keys to keeping visitors on the page. The social portal is the answer to combining business content like SAP with social information such as email addresses, blogs, or wikis.
As a nice example, “myportal.robinson.de” was presented. Robinson Club is a worldwide known brand and part of the TUI AG in my home town of Hannover, Germany. Their need to create a portal is based on needing much of their to be provided in a very short time frame. The vacation time is short, there is a high fluctuation in staff, a lot of onboarding for new colleagues, a lot of content to search, worldwide availability, and absolute independence of the device used to access.
|The key requirements are:
|The solution to cover the requirements:
In summary, the portal idea is not new, but the combination with social media seems to be the enabler for success.
It was time for me to see how my clients can make use of what I learned. Basically most of the applications are developed already and the challenge is to get them onto the devices. The first question to answer: How do we control and support the devices without running into a support nightmare?
The session I picked next was held by a Business Partner, Midpoints.de. Detlev Poettgen is already known to lead the mobile discussions of how to implement mobile devices in large environments. This chapter is definitely a high level feedback from the session. As always Detlev was able to bring in so many details in a short time that for most of the audience, this was more than they have been able to work out in their own projects so far.
Three topics to summarize the session to rollout mobile devices are:
- Platform considerations: Define the scope, replace old solutions, add additional solutions. The key is to focus on the target of what to reach — should it be only email or other apps also?
- Choose the target: How is the target for the device, BYOD, clear strategy on company and privately owned device. Pick the right number of devices to support.
- What is needed: Device policy, configuration policy, device enrollment, clarity on duties and maintenance, monitoring and managing of devices, crystal clear communication about roles and responsibilities.
At the end of the session, we got a quick demo of the Midpoint iOS profiler, a mobile device management solution to manage my mobile device. It was impressive to see how easy rolling out and updating applications can be. The whole infrastructure is based on IBM SmartCloud solution powered by IBM Domino. I’ll definitely look into the details to check out the features in more depth.
The time was flying and in summary I have seen excellent sessions about:
- IBM strategy of cloud implementation
- Cloud device management
- Cloud application development
- Cloud application deployment
With the package given, I’ll approach my CIO to see where we are. How about your clients? Where are they today?
For those of you interested, I’ll share the link to the presentation material as soon as possible. The next event is already announced for September in Stuttgart.