Michael Finneran
Michael F. Finneran, is President of dBrn Associates, Inc., a full service advisory firm specializing in wireless and mobility; services...
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Michael Finneran | February 24, 2016 |


IBM Struts Its MobileFirst Stuff

IBM Struts Its MobileFirst Stuff Announces cloud development platform for Apple Swift, and shares stories of MobileFirst iOS apps use.

Announces cloud development platform for Apple Swift, and shares stories of MobileFirst iOS apps use.

IBM has made big news on the MobileFirst front with announcements coming out at this week's IBM InterConnect 2016 in Las Vegas and Mobile World Congress (MWC) in Barcelona.

First, IBM announced availability of a development platform in the IBM Cloud for Swift, the Apple-developed programming language for iOS, OS X, watchOS, and tvOS. At the MWC press event announcing the development environment, IBM featured three CIOs and a mobile solutions manager describing their implementations of MobileFirst iOS apps developed as part of the alliance IBM and Apple announced in July 2014. Last December, the companies announced that IBM had created 100 MobileFirst for iOS apps.

MobileFirst in Action
Khalid AlMansouri, CIO at Egyptian telecommunications provider Etisalat Misr, talked about the IBM MobileFirst iOS Expert Tech app that his company's field support technicians are using to assist customers with mobile products, including troubleshooting network and hardware issues and facilitating sales. That initiative was part of the company's opening of new store locations and the need to optimize how remote technical staff address in-store technical obstacles that impact the overall experience of the company's customers. Etisalat Misr said it anticipates the new apps will reduce service costs by 10% to 15%, as well as enhance planning and problem resolution by 20% for its rapidly growing network of stores.

Warsaw, Poland-based Alior Bank announced it would purchase 1,300 Apple devices and deploy three MobileFirst for iOS apps. The apps will allow the bank's advisors to create, access, and manage client portfolios from their Apple devices, with access to powerful analytics. "We believe that the introduction of MobileFirst for iOS apps will revolutionize the in-branch experience," said Tomasz Motyl, Alior Bank's chief innovation officer, in a press statement.

Last fall the bank announced it would deploy the IBM MobileFirst for iOS Trusted Advice app to provide its private banking advisors to access and manage client portfolios from the iPad.

And earlier this month, RWE Generation, a mining and power generation company based in Essen, Germany, announced it would be using a new MobileFirst for iOS app called Asset Care to assist its field technicians in maintaining the enormous excavators it uses to extract coal. Running on an iPad mini enclosed in a ruggedized case, the app allows technicians to access schematic drawings and puts everything technicians need to do their jobs more efficiently and safely at their fingertips.

Finally, Scandinavian airline SAS is about to launch a MobileFirst app called Passenger Plus that will help flight crews find their personalized flight assignments and get easy-to-read displays of critical information about whether a flight has missing bags, how many are missing, and other information.

According to Ashraf Hoseini, manager of mobile solutions for SAS Flight Operations, the biggest advantage for SAS flight crews is that the app will replace long paper lists that flight attendants would often have had to search through to find the needed information. SAS teams traveled to Cupertino, Calif., to work with Apple and IBM developers on customizing the app.

IBM has posted a list of all its MobileFirst for iOS Apps on its website.

Is It Enough?
IBM clearly needs something to get the revenue engine running again. IBM CEO Ginni Rometty has presided over 15 straight quarters of declining revenues, essentially her entire tenure, and the company has lowered profit expectations twice since late 2014. The company's shares declined more than 15% in 2015. Some are saying that the company has no vision for how to reverse the decline and has essentially lost its rudder.

On paper, the synergy between Apple's top end-user experience and IBM's ability to integrate that with complex back-end systems is compelling, as is the idea of a "Super Siri" built on IBM's Watson technology -- but talk is cheap. IBM will have to be able to execute and generate meaningful profits from its MobileFirst initiatives, or the company will continue its slide into oblivion -- and that would be a terrible loss indeed.

If you're interested in hearing more about how Apple is making its way into the enterprise, join me at Enterprise Connect 2016, coming March 7 to 10 in Orlando, Fla., for the session, "Apple in the Enterprise." If you haven't yet signed up to attend Enterprise Connect, register now using the code NJPOST to receive $200 off the current conference price or a free Expo Plus Pass.

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