Mobile Apps Rule in 2012 as Service Providers Enhance Offerings

K. Weldon
K. Weldon

Summary Bullets:

  • Recent announcements confirm our predictions that mobile apps for the enterprise will continue as a big theme this year.
  • New offerings from IBM and AT&T focus on mobile application development and application delivery through enterprise app stores.

We predicted in our January 5th blog entry (“Enterprise Mobility 2012: What Can Businesses Expect in the New Year?”) that the heated debates in 2011 about the best way to develop and manage applications and the rise of the enterprise app store would continue in earnest in 2012.  In early February, we are already seeing new products and services available from some of the leaders in the enterprise mobility ecosystem.

On January 9th, AT&T announced that it is offering a service for mobile application management (MAM, another new acronym in the enterprise mobility world) powered by Apperian, which provides a purpose-built engine for enterprise app stores that allows customers to create and secure their own enterprise apps using an SDK, deploy these apps over the air in seconds (even to employees’ own devices), and manage an application portfolio through a custom-branded application catalog  accessed through a Web-based management portal.  In addition, IT can add and update in-house apps, authorize users or groups to use apps, see the status of all users and apps on a dashboard, automatically update apps and configuration or provisioning profiles, and do compliance checks so that only trusted employees can access in-house apps.  Essentially, this takes the concept of an app store to a new level and offers functionality and ease of use that has not yet been available from the MDM vendors such as Sybase and Mobile Iron which offer enterprise app stores as a kind of extension to their core offerings.  No doubt we will start to see MAM platforms grow as a category.

On January 31st, IBM announced that it was acquiring Worklight, a company based in Tel Aviv and New York that provides an open standards-based mobile application platform for smartphones and tablets which allows companies to build and deliver mobile apps quickly.  IBM positions it as a complement to its existing portfolio capabilities in mobile device management; mobile Web application development; integration; collaborative tools; and mobile strategy, planning, implementation, and hosting services.  The software is integrated into Rational tools and WebSphere runtime platforms, but will no doubt be used by IBM’s services organizations (e.g., IBM Global Business Services and Global Technology Services).  Worklight features run-time capabilities provided on the server and device, with strong authentication, on-device encryption, back-end integration, push notifications, data collection for analytics, application updates, runtime skinning, and support for B2E, B2B, and B2C apps.  It can develop apps based on HTML5/Web, native, or hybrid platforms.  IBM simultaneously announced new endpoint management software (based on its BigFix acquisition) and enhanced social collaboration software.

So, the push to accelerate monetization efforts that respond to the hunger for mobile enterprise application development and management tools begins anew in 2012; one can only imagine what the next 11 months will bring!

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