Tivoli focuses sights on PDA

Austin, Tex.-based Tivoli Systems Inc. recently unveiled products and investments designed to extend its integrated end-to-end management solutions for multiple “pervasive” devices, such as hand-held personal digital assistants (PDAs), automated teller machines (ATM), point-of-sale (POS) terminals and other non-traditional endpoints.

On the heels of Tivoli’s first pervasive management product, Tivoli Manager for Retail, the company has released Tivoli Device Manager for the Palm Computing Platform. With the introduction of the Device Manager, Tivoli will enhance the reach of technology management beyond traditional enterprise IT technologies to provide customers with increased efficiency, reduced costs and improved customer service, said Tivoli’s market strategy manager, Internet and Pervasive Technologies, Holly Tallon.

“Companies today are looking at how to gain a competitive advantage,” she said. “With the Internet, how do I increase and grow my customer base even further by providing these kinds of applications, not just from a consumer basis but as a business perspective as well? Most companies have some Palms and aren’t even aware of it. Smart companies are looking to gain a competitive advantage using these new technologies.”

But Dan McLean, an analyst with Toronto-based IDC Canada Ltd. didn’t see anything “revolutionary here in terms of management. We’re not talking about really trying to control these devices in the sense of remotely being able to take them over and do stuff with them. It’s some fairly basic things that are really nice to have,” he said.

PDAs are increasingly becoming standard business tools driven by the increased use of business applications supporting hand-held operating systems – enterprise e-mail, sales and ordering, shipment tracking and travel to name a few.

Massimo Bonciani, vice-president, IBM Software Group of Europe, Middle East and Africa said, “IBM and Tivoli already are anticipating the next generation of eBusiness, with technologies designed to exploit current capacity and evolve into the broadband future. The next generation of eBusiness is about integration and flexibility, adaptability and scalability.”

According to Tallon, the new Device Manager seamlessly extends the Tivoli management environment enabling enterprises to immediately discover and gain control of existing and new Palm OS devices, quickly configure devices, install/remove applications, easily receive real-time inventory information and consistently maintain high availability.

Immediate access to business information and centralized management control allows the IT department the opportunity to become more of an enabler rather than an inhibitor of the technology, said Tallon.

“If you’re a network person you can take a look at what’s happening in the network: Where are most of the bottlenecks occurring? What days of the week? What are my peak times?” she said. “I can also do the same thing from a server perspective: When am I getting ready to run out memory or hard disk space? I can look at how many Palm OS devices are present in my network; I can look at free memory analysis, what devices are approaching critical situations, et cetera. It’s intelligent decision making.”

Users can synchronize their hand-held devices with a desktop/laptop that contains the Tivoli Management Agent, which immediately discovers the device. If this is the first discovery, an inventory scanner identifies the device and assigns a unique identification code.

Once the device is discovered and managed by the Tivoli Device Manager, enterprises can do real-time software/hardware inventory, rapidly deploy applications, centralize device preferences, and increase problem resolution, said Tallon.

McLean concluded: “It’s probably the right level at the right time given how most people use Palm Pilots. You probably don’t need much more management function than what they’ve currently offered here. IT departments are responsible for deploying these devices for corporate users so if I can get a sense, through an automated management tool, who has what out there that’s pretty valuable information.”

Tivoli’s Device Manager requires the following prerequisite products: Tivoli Management Agent and Palm Desktop organizer software, Tivoli Framework, Tivoli Software Distribution, and Tivoli Inventory at 3.6.1 level; and supports Windows NT 4.0, Solaris, HP-UX and AIX and the console is also supported on Windows 98.

For more information on Tivoli or its product line, visit