The Future Starts Today, Not Tomorrow (Pope John Paul)

Written by: Mobliciti CTO

As my old boss used to say, “This year is almost in the rear view mirror, time to look forward”…

As CTO, I’m always looking forwards, and whilst 2015 is almost in the rear view mirror and 2016 is almost upon us, it’s a good time to reflect on past discussions and look to future opportunities. Here are my high level thoughts on the trends of 2015 and what I think will be important for 2016.

Mobile Apps:

2015 as much as 2014 has been all about apps, what about 2016 and beyond?

Microsoft has entered the world of rapid app development with their announcements of ‘PowerApps’, their goal being to allow anyone with PowerPoint skills to develop an app for mobile. Indeed Gartner are predicting that by 2017, the demand for mobile apps and development services will outstrip the capacity of IT from a delivery perspective. I hate to say ‘I told you so’ but here at Mobliciti I’d like to think we’ve been ahead of this coming wave for some time.

Since the early part of this year, we’ve been helping our customers to rapidly mobilise their ideas and processes through our partnership with Fliplet, a cloud based rapid app development platform. It allows users to develop mobile apps using the inbuilt templates for anything from emergency contact apps to staff training, all without writing a single line of code, great for the non IT folks to help realise their ideas into apps! As we move into 2016, I can only see this trend growing and expect to have more conversations around empowering businesses to become more “mobile first” and with that more enabled, more productive and more successful through the use of well created mobile apps.

Enterprise Mobility Management (EMM):

EMM continues to move at pace, with each of the big 6 (MobileIron, Airwatch, BlackBerry, Citrix, IBM and now Microsoft) vendors claiming the top spot as a leader in MDM and EMM services.

In my many conversations with enterprise customers across 2015, it’s clear that the message of EMM as a strategic platform is beginning to resonate within the IT leadership of their businesses. ‘Mobile’ as part of a larger and broader strategy means that it’s here to stay, with many businesses now seeing mobile as part of their End User Compute (EUC) strategy rather than treating it as seperate entity which has been the case thus far. So for 2016 I see EMM and its strategic need, continuing to pervade the thoughts of IT leadership and where it fits into their broader EUC strategy.

iOS continues to dominate the enterprise landscape from a corporate device perspective, however I’ve also seen Android and KNOX devices becoming more readily accepted, particularly in the highly regulated space. 2016 will be interesting to watch and understand how BlackBerry will prevail with the latest flagship handset ‘priv’ and their upcoming handset ‘vienna’ and whether the enterprise will ever accept BlackBerry hardware again. Blackberry as a software and services company after the Good Technology acquisition will be an interesting venture to keep an eye on.

Microsoft continue to make headway in the enterprise space with many organisations dipping their toes into Intune, particularly those who have already adopted Office365. As to whether Microsoft will succeed will be highly dependant on how the current leaders in MobileIron and Airwatch continue to differentiate and provide additional value over bundled offerings from Microsoft and others.

Windows 10:

EMM platforms will soon be the defector standard for managing what I consider to be “mobile” devices; laptops, tablets and phones.  Windows 10 brings unity across hardware platforms by providing a common OS across desktop, laptop, tablet and phone. Microsoft have also moved to give EMM the required API’s to control anything from Windows updates, app delivery, app whitelisting, security and restrictions. This allows enterprises to move away from the traditional systems management tools and allows EMM to be the primary management platform moving forwards. I’m sure you’ll agree, a bold step by the folks at Microsoft.

Identity and SSO:

For me personally, 2016 will be a big year for identity providers as the days of users having to remember multiple passwords are over. With identity providers now adding advanced biometric capabilities, 2016 will see the introduction and acceleration of biometrics within SSO and adaptive/multiple authentication across the enterprise.

Adaptive/multiple authentication allows enterprises to “step up” and “step down” the authentication requirements depending on the scenario and risk. For example a desktop user accessing a service on their everyday browser from their corporate IP address within office hours, their authentication experience may be more flexible than a user accessing a service from a mobile device at 2am from an unknown IP address located in another country, all automated and based on risk.

By using a multitude of different authentication options (2FA, Token, SAML, oAUTH) within a single offering and mixing this up with biometrics such as how you hold your device, how quickly you type, your fingerprint or your facial scan, these can all be determining factors as to whether users have access to a requested service and what actions they must take to gain access. The latest authentication offerings from companies such as SecureAuth allow a better end user experience to replace passwords, whilst providing additional security by using authentication techniques that cannot easily be stolen or faked.

Cloud:

“Cloud First” is a buzz term I hear a lot, essentially considering and opting for a cloud based service before any other. Microsoft now position themselves as both a “mobile first” and “cloud first” company as they transition their services and solutions onto the Azure stack, with the primary driver being Office365. I think it was Ojas Rege from MobileIron that once said to me “Microsoft are no longer an operating system company, they are a cloud company” and I have to say I’m in agreement.

2016 will be the year for more and more enterprises moving their data and services to the cloud, opting for services on a subscription basis. Ever more important with that move to the cloud will be the need to have both visibility of and security control over what happens to their data that lives in the cloud and to avoid another buzz term spoken and heard a great deal across 2015, “Shadow-IT”.

CASB or Cloud Access Security Broker, will be a growing technology area for 2016 and beyond, helping enterprises to better understand what and where data is stored in the cloud, when, where and how it is being accessed and ultimately help to provide DLP controls for that cloud data. With the use of a CASB, enterprises can embrace the cloud more readily knowing they have the visibility and control of where data lives and how it is used.

That’s my 2015 wrapped up, onto 2016.