According to a Pew Research article published in January 2017
, 77 percent of Americans now own a smartphone and 51 percent own a tablet. These devices have revolutionized everyday life, and people are more connected than ever. But how do mobile devices and apps contribute to mainframe productivity?
Standard Smartphone Capabilities
Phone, text, email and web. All smartphones include these features, and the proliferation of mobile networks with 4G speed or better makes usage practical. Whether using a personal device or a company issued phone/tablet, mainframe support is almost never out of touch. When the goal is 100 percent uptime, support must be there 24-7. Even when email, web and phone service is questionable, text messages are likely to get through.
Mainframe Vendor Apps
My previous post highlights IBM Redbook and Doc Buddy apps.
IBM and ISVs offer a variety of apps for iOS, Android and Windows devices. Look for product specific apps from all your mainframe vendors.
Office Apps and Cloud Storage
Smartphones and tablets generally come with a suite capable of handling documents, spreadsheets and presentations. The addition of an inexpensive dongle and/or HDMI cable makes your mobile device a presentation platform. There’s also available support for PDF files through native or third-party apps, but you may have to install a text viewer app to handle plain text files.
With cloud storage apps, access to files produced by these products can be shared with other computers and coworkers. Updates performed on a mobile device can be backed up almost immediately to secure cloud storage. Even free cloud drives will provide 15 to 25 GB of available storage.
As stated at the beginning of this post, 4G networks are becoming more widespread. Audio and video streaming isn’t just for TV, movies and music; there are also numerous apps for online conferencing, webinars and training. These apps are free for meeting participants and allow them to attend from virtually anywhere in the world.
Apps for TN3270 connections are inexpensive and work well with ISPF point and shoot fields, making touchscreen access to z/OS and z/VM both practical and productive. Be sure to look for apps with VPN support. In addition, SSH apps for accessing Linux on z Systems or z/OS UNIX allow UNIX/Linux shell access from mobile platforms. Remote desktop apps for Windows, Mac and UNIX/Linux desktops are also widely available.
A Practical Pair
Mobile device management tools provide security for access to enterprise-level systems, making mobile device usage practical for the mainframe. The tools available for smartphones and tablets also continue to proliferate as more vendors recognize the added value of mobile access for their products and services. Mobile devices are handheld computers with highspeed wireless access, and support all of the same tools traditionally attributed to a desktop or laptop computer system.
With the apps referenced in this post, it is possible to extend employee productivity at all levels, including direct access to z/OS, z/VM and Linux on z Systems.
John Kelley is president of Kelley-Dalton, Incorporated and a contract trainer/consultant with ProTech Professional Technical Services. He specializes in cross-platform scheduling software, various enterprise automation tools, the REXX programming language, TSO/ISPF, MVS/JCL, UNIX/Linux and Shell Scripting. John has over 40 years of enterprise computing experience, including z/OS, z/VM and various UNIX/Linux OSes. He has also served as an instructor under the IBM Academic Initiative and is a certified ScrumMaster professional.