IT Management

May 17 ’13

The University of Florida (UF) sought to help students stay connected with university activities and news. With 50,000 students and staff using smartphones—and that number rising quickly—the Gainesville, FL, university realized it needed to develop an information-rich mobile Web application. An IBM System z mobile technology solution provided the foundation for its UF Mobile Web.

The heart of the UF Mobile Web is the Integrated Student Information System, which keeps students on track with class schedules, required textbooks, academic dates and information, grades and important announcements. In addition, a live interactive map of the campus shows where buildings are located and where a bus is on its route, while an emergency feature allows users to contact the UF Police or the operator in two clicks.

The UF Mobile Web was developed using the Mobile Web Open Source Project, but users are actually accessing data via the university’s IBM CICS Transaction Server, which runs on IBM System z.

UF realized that by taking advantage of its IBM System z environment, it could mitigate risks such as poor application quality, inconsistent connectivity across devices and lack of security. With System z, the application performs to the highest standards, while maintaining the integrity of personal and confidential data.

With its ability to scale, deliver high levels of availability and offer the highest levels of security available on a commercial platform, System z can meet the demands for data integrity when communicating with mobile applications. And with the widespread growth of Linux to power these applications, it’s the logical place to start.

For companies interested in mobile apps, there are three common goals identified, which also offer the most opportunity for System z:

Build and connect. Connecting to and running back-end systems in support of mobile. Businesses are struggling to bridge the gap between mobile devices and enterprise data and services by using services that extend network applications and capabilities to the increasing diversity of mobile devices. This can allow them to maximize worker productivity and deliver more satisfying customer engagement. Key capabilities include building Web applications that can be connected to System z. 

IBM solutions: IBM Worklight Studio with Rational Developer on System z gives customers a common set of tools for end-to-end mobile development for System z. Companies get the advantages of native app development, and then use WebSphere MQ and WebSphere Message Broker to connect back-end applications with mobile devices.

Manage and secure. Managing mobile devices and applications and securing mobile business. With millions of employees expected to join those already following a Bring Your Own Device (BYOD) policy at work, this is an especially critical challenge. Enterprises are looking for ways to enable secure transactions from virtually any device and any location, while keeping the network protected and running efficiently.

IBM solutions: IBM Endpoint Manager enables businesses to adopt BYOD strategies and supports security of mobile devices. It provides a single view for visibility, management and automation to simplify administration and reduce total cost of ownership as employees connect back to data on System z.

Extend and transform. Extending existing business capabilities to mobile devices and transforming business by creating new opportunities. There’s more to the mobile app than building, managing and securing it—and it offers more potential than simply looking up information. Companies want to redefine the customer experience at every touchpoint, including the moment of decision.

IBM offers solutions, such as Cognos, that link mobile with analytics and social business. It will help clients reinvent the customer experience, extend customer marketing to mobile devices, and empower employees and Business Partners with anywhere-anytime information and collaboration.

IBM solutions: IBM Rational Tools allow IT to integrate requirements, planning and quality management into the mobile app development lifecycle.

Mobile is a transformational business model that’s changing the way we work. IBM’s goal is to be the number one provider for enterprise mobile solutions, and clearly, System z will play a strong role in this success.