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December 23, 2015updated 22 Sep 2016 11:58am

EMM, mobile cloud services & wearables: 10 enterprise mobility predictions for 2016

List: Mobility trends every CIO should look out for next year, according to IBM, Accenture, Blackberry and others.

By Alexander Sword

Enterprise mobility has been solidified as a key item on the C-level agenda in 2015. CBR speaks to some experts to find out what to expect in 2016.


1. Time to enable employees on any device

Martin Gale, Mobile CTO, UKI&I at IBM, said:

"Experience is key over multiple form factors, and organisations must recognise the importance of the right tool for the right ‘mobile moment’. Historically, confusion has arisen where users have seen new devices as a replacement for its predecessor – the iPad’s introduction being a classic example.

"Organisations are now reaching the maturity where it is recognised that each different form factor plays a different role, depending on the context of the task in hand, and that is key to developing a mobile strategy across the workforce.

"The ‘mobile moment’ exists where an extension of utility to a new device can solve a problem or enhance a process in a location or context that it couldn’t be solved before and as such the concepts of user experience and simplicity across a range of devices are vitally important.

"So, 2016 will solidify the concept that having a good app means more than a good star rating – it is moving to a broader relationship across all users."

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2. The third phase of enterprise mobility

Michael Hobbs, Accenture Mobility Lead in the UK, said:

"The first phase was about empowering users with mobile devices and tools on the go. The second was about using basic transactional apps, cutting down travel time and reducing paper-based operations. The third phase being entered now is about using mobile technologies to transform business processes, including wearables and other devices that – thanks to the reduced cost of computing power and miniaturization of chipsets – are starting to enter the business realm.

"2015 saw the mass-market launch of wearables, focused around smart watches, and in 2016, we’ll see the market evolve as people get more familiar with ‘wearing’ technology and bringing it into the enterprise.

"Connected workers will be able to collaborate with colleagues remotely with the help of wearable cameras and screens, and receive instructions on the go, complete with mapping information or advice on tools that will be needed to complete a job, all sent directly to the device of their choice to help them work faster and smarter."


3. Time to solve mobile security

Sinisha Patkovic, VP, BlackBerry Security Advisory, said:

"Making sure there’s a way for enterprise and consumers to have confidence that they are protected against security threats in this new world is critical as any connected endpoints can become a conduit for a massive hack and an entry point to steal personal identities.

"Individuals everywhere within the enterprise buy mobile devices, download apps and communicate via social channels, putting their work-related information and confidential data alongside personal content with varying degrees of security and privacy permissions.

"Employees who are not protected by an enterprise mobile management (EMM) solution will be at far more risk than employees who are enrolled in a robust and cross-platform EMM solution at work.

"In order to deliver a secure mobile environment that yields considerable business and working benefits, CIOs should embrace a cross-platform EMM solution that covers all aspects of security and productivity, managing mobile devices and other endpoints across different operating systems and has flexible deployment options."


4. The big change will be in management, not technology

Ojas Rege, VP of Strategy at MobileIron, said:

"Whilst IT decisions often materialise among managers in departmental meetings, in 2016 new technologies will force organisational change, whether the IT department is ready or not. Mobile, cloud and other technology advances are turning 30 years of IT thinking and processes on their head and this will challenge even the most forward-thinking organisations.

"Rapid technology change, evolving user demands and app fragmentation will force CIOs to embrace neutrality and offer best-of-breed solutions rather than restricting choice. Restricting choice forces the user community to seek out its own solutions and becomes a catalyst for shadow IT. This leads to increased risk of data loss, even from employees with the best of intentions.

"In the year ahead, organisational mindset and management will need to catch up to technology and to employee needs. 2016 will see change driven across all aspects of enterprise IT : from information security and policy design to technology evaluation and lifecycle management."


5. Unified endpoint management spreads from mobile to everything

Chadi Elkadri, Chief Innovation Officer, SOTI RIL, said:

"In 2015, a car maker sold cars. But in the months and years to come, it is possible they’ll be selling car-making capabilities. IoT is evolving the concept of "Everything as a Service." With that, IoT will further monetise complex supply chains. As consumers, in 2016 we’ll notice a shift from product-based business models to service-based ones.

"Whilst today’s Unified Endpoint Management (UEM) systems manage tablets, smartphones and wearables, soon they will evolve to manage entire warehouses, transport fleets and security systems.

"For businesses, the ability to integrate all of those management requirements into one UEM platform as opposed to relying on numerous systems will require a system that intelligently works with all kinds of devices from one central dashboard."

6. Enterprise apps come into their own

David Macmillan, General Manager EMEA & International at Jive Software, said:

"In 2015, we saw the proliferation of enterprise, purpose-built, mobile apps. Businesses finally recognised the need for beautiful, seamless experiences across both mobile and desktop — while serving critical functions.

"In 2016, organizations will continue to find ways to support workers’ mobile habits in the future by offering them even more valuable apps and services that allow them to work from anywhere, at any time.

"The move to mobile will continue unabated in the coming year. 2016 will be the year we discover the exact productivity threshold of enterprise apps for an end-user. "


7. Collaboration moves outside the enterprise

Alastair Mitchell, President, CMO and Co-founder of Huddle, said:

"In the last year we’ve seen a dramatic rise in user-generated digital content in the consumer world. In 2016 this trend will continue penetrating business services and making customer experience much more interactive as companies invest in technology that dissolves the divide between customers and businesses.

"Already, 57 percent of information workers regularly share data with people outside their organisation in the course of their work, and that number is growing quickly. Sales aren’t a transaction anymore; they’re the start of a relationship, and if you want to keep your customers you have to keep them engaged.

"The next year will see companies heavily investing in communicating and collaborating with, and generally gaining a better understanding of their customers."


8. Cloud vendors and telcos will offer enterprise mobility platforms

Cathal McGloin, VP Mobile Platforms at Red Hat, said:

"As enterprise mobility matures and evolves to support digital transformation, interoperability with other key technologies including middleware, networks and IoT, will add to the complexity of back-end integration and management of mobile apps.

"As a result, I predict that cloud service providers and telcos will broaden their platform offerings to support enterprise mobility with full enterprise-grade technology stacks and value-added mobile cloud services such as data analytics.

"These larger enterprise vendors’ offerings are likely to displace standalone solutions currently used to support enterprise mobility initiatives, so we expect further consolidation in the industry during 2016.

"CIOs will need to look out for companies that are able to continue innovating with their mobile entities to enable an agile environment, while still lowering the complexity that often haunts mobile enterprise deployments."


9. The advent of the contextual app

Mark Armstrong, VP and MD, Progress EMEA, said:

"The search and recommendation market is gaining traction, and by the end of 2016, all well-known retailers and brands will use smart, tailored and intuitive apps leveraging contextual data. As an example, discovering and ordering meals and paying the bill at restaurants through location-based apps will become the norm.

"Similarly, heavyweights in other industries — from music and entertainment to retail and more — will advance their digital assistant apps to stay at the forefront of this trend. They’ll need a platform that provides the freedom to develop and deploy apps for whatever devices and cloud environments they choose."


10. IT management needs to raise awareness, not increase control

Rob Bamforth, Principal Analyst at Quocirca, said:

"IT management will still try to apply controls, but most recognise that being the ‘blockage in the end office’ is not a satisfactory or interesting career. Technology itself is not the driving issue, but user interest in it generally can cause problems – this is the consumerisation or shadow IT issue.

"IT management is increasingly recognising it cannot block change, but it needs to be more aware of what’s going on. Visibility is key and then IT management can orchestrate and enable rather than control and block.

"To prepare for this, CIOs need to be investing in technology that supports them in this – i.e. Gathering and analysing more data to give them visibility. In a similar way to the business investing in monitoring, IoT, big data and analytics, the CIO also needs to ensure they have their digital ‘feelers’ out. This is intelligence in the ‘control plane’, as a complement alongside the intelligence in the ‘data plane’ that the business itself requires."


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