With IBM's acquisition of Fiberlink starting to pay off, now's a good time to get an overview of Big Blue's entire MobileFirst portfolio and what it offers for enterprise IT.
IBM MobileFirst is a line of products that includes Fiberlink's enterprise mobility management (EMM) service, MaaS360, which IBM acquired in late 2013. Worklight, a mobile application development platform, Rational Test Workbench, Endpoint Manager and IBM Ready Apps, a set of customizable applications for businesses in specific verticals, are also a part of MobileFirst.
What's the history behind IBM MobileFirst?
MobileFirst is the result of IBM acquiring 10 mobile companies between 2009 and 2014. It launched in 2013, and is designed to help companies enable enterprise mobility more easily.
IBM also offers MobileFirst services to provide additional assistance. In April 2014, the company announced plans to open 18 MobileFirst studios throughout the world so companies can work directly with IBM developers to jumpstart their mobile app development.
How do companies pay for MobileFirst?
The various products in the MobileFirst portfolio come with separate pricing and licensing models, some of which can be pricey. The enterprise license for Worklight alone, for example, will cost customers over $36,000 per seat per year. And with IBM Ready Apps, businesses must pay for each application they want to customize on Worklight.
Do the EMM and app dev components work together?
IBM acquired Fiberlink in November 2013 for its MaaS360 service, which IBM is integrating with its SoftLayer platform to provide cloud-based and on-premises mobile device management and mobile application management. Through MaaS360, IBM MobileFirst users are able to deploy custom apps developed on Worklight to end users' devices. This means that companies looking for a comprehensive approach to EMM may find it through MobileFirst, as app development and management are provided under one umbrella.
Analysts expect that IBM's next challenge will be to sell MobileFirst on how it can cohesively benefit businesses as a single brand, and which partnerships it can make, before competitors like VMware bring similar products to market.
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