by Natalie Miller • @natalieatWIS

IBM expands its MobileFirst portfolio with Fiberlink acquisition

Published November 19, 2013


IBM has been working to beef up its MobileFirst offerings since announcing the initiative earlier this year and has celebrated a number of announcements this fall, the latest being the acquisition of Fiberlink Communications.

The mobile management and security company has partnered with Big Blue for a long time, says Phil Buckellew, VP of Enterprise Mobile for IBM Software, so IBM was well aware of Fiberlink’s ability to help organizations meet their mobile management and security needs, while providing an exceptional user experience and back end integration.

This acquisition is in response to IBM customers’ concerns about needing a more robust mobile management and security solution to integrate with their existing IBM implementations. A recent study by the IBM Institute for Business Value shows that companies that embrace mobile reap great benefits in terms of employee productivity. Over half of those surveyed saw 10 percent or more gain in productivity, and 20 percent saw a 20 percent gain in productivity. “We knew there was opportunity out there,” says Buckellew.



With the acquisition of The Now Factory, IBM’s Big Data Platform is enhanced to bring a new class of analytics solutions to the market. The Now Factory, based in Dublin, Ireland, is a privately held provider of analytics software that helps communications service providers (CSPs) deliver better customer experiences and drive new revenue opportunities.

According to IBM, CSPs can gain real-time insights into their customers by using The Now Factory’s software to analyze massive quantities of network and business data. They can also now provide an enhanced quality of service to their customers by better managing negative experiences and network outages. The Now Factory's software also helps companies better understand how a subscriber interacts with cloud-based services, such as mobile applications.

In the past five years, IBM has invested more than $16 billion in over 30 big data and analytics-related acquisitions. According to IBM’s 2015 roadmap, the company projects that big data and business analytics revenue will reach $20 billion in revenue.

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Prior to this acquisition, IBM Endpoint Manager was IBM’s premier bring your own device (BYOD) offering; however, it’s strength lies in managing desk tops, servers, and laptops, explains Buckellew. Fiberlink offers strength in mobile device and application management and extends beyond mobile device management to securing applications.

Plus, Fiberlink does this all in the cloud.

“We think that by putting Fiberlink in with the IBM portfolio, we will be able to meet the needs of our clients,” adds Buckellew. “By putting those two capabilities together, so you can see all your enterprise—computers and mobile devices—in real time in a single console, that would provide unified device management that organizations would need in order to manage a full complement of needs from patch management to lifecycle management—the traditional capabilities we’ve been delivering with Endpoint Manager—we would be able to extend that in a comprehensive way with Fiberlink.”

Fiberlink MaaS360 provides integrated mobile device management as well as the ability to manage laptops in a secure fashion. “They built an integrated approach for the mobile device application content and the secure email capabilities from the ground up,” says Buckellew, “and that’s given the tight integration that makes it really easy to use and easy for clients to get up and running with very fast.”

IBM chose Fiberlink over other providers for its simple, fast approach and its cloud capabilities. “Allowing organizations to get going very fast and have self-service for their employees… that was a critical piece,” adds Buckellew. “They also have fantastic capabilities with integrating with existing infrastructures.”

Mobile security concerns addressed
Fiberlink also provides the security enterprises need to have the confidence to mobilize their business, says Buckellew. This extends beyond mobile device management and offers the ability to secure individual applications and make applications part of shared containers that are also secure. This allows organizations to still have control over applications—meaning data can be encrypted and networks can be secured over VPNs—but they can also work in BYOD more easily because they won’t have to view or manage the personal content on the device.

“Having solutions that span from securing the whole device to securing just the applications that need to be secured, all the way down to securing the transactions themselves, will help IBM make applications that run on mobile devices in some ways more secure than what we are able to do today inside the enterprise,” says Buckellew.

MaaS360 capabilities will be offered through the IBM Worklight Software Development Kit (SDK), so application developers can implement the appropriate security measures for a specific situation. These will also work with IBM’s QRadar Security Intelligence Platform, which will allow organizations to get a complete picture of all the security across the enterprise from mobile BYOD to mobile consumer applications, all in the same console.

Fiberlink also a reliable choice, says Buckellew, as the company is certified by the United States federal government and built all of its capabilities organically, ensuring a comprehensive, layered security approach from device to application and lower management costs, improved productivity, greater employee satisfaction, and better security and compliance and reduced risks.

“This is a major milestone for IBM,” Buckellew says, explaining other acquisitions made recently help provide the capabilities companies need to help get value from their mobile investments. IBM Worklight has been a large source of IBM development this year, and coupled with the purchases of Trusteer, Xtify and The Now Factory, Big Blue is positioning its MobileFirst initiative to be the most comprehensive portfolio for organizations that want to mobilize their business.

For more information about Fiberlink, see IBM’s announcement.



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