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2016 - A Year of Transformation
Ojas Rege
VP Strategy-MobileIron
Friday, April 1, 2016
The year 2016 is set to be a big one for the enterprise. Change will be resisted, of course, but mobile and cloud computing are unstoppable and will drive a new IT mindset.

As a result, we should expect that CIOs will be forced to adopt a more agile approach towards information security, policy design, technology evaluation, and lifecycle management.

Enterprise Conflict between Desktop and Mobile

A conflict between traditional desktop computing and mobile computing is developing. Mobile has already made significant inroads into the enterprise but it is set to become even more pervasive.

The catalyst for this will be Microsoft's Windows10, which has a new architecture for security and applications that is modeled after that of mobile computing. This new model has the promise of greater security, lower operational costs, and increased agility, all very attractive characteristics for a CIO.

In practice, this will create conflict in IT between the desktop team and the mobile team as both competes for budget and technology. Change can be painful, especially when it involves the replacement of legacy roles and processes. We'll see these battle lines drawn clearly in the coming year.


Identity is another technology category in which we will see increasing tension. Any platform that can provide the 'who, what, where, and how' for enterprise services is going to play a critical role in enterprise architecture.

Microsoft and Google both see identity as the hub for providing services to the user community. They will be pitted in a long-term conflict to ensure their platforms become the authoritative source of identity for business users.

Both companies recognize that whoever triumphs in this war will be best placed to deliver future new products and services to the customer. A very important salvo in this fight was fired in 2015, when Microsoft refused to support Google's Android for Work initiative, partially because it brought Google identity into the enterprise.

Hackers and Apple

Hackers are circling mobile operating systems and devices. While much of past media attention has been focused on the Android platform, in 2015 we saw a focus on Apple's iOS platform, with the discovery of malware exploits like KeyRaider, XcodeGhost, and YiSpecter.

iOS has had a strong reputation for security. This reputation is very important to Apple's enterprise business. As a result of these recent exploits, we should expect Apple, in 2016, to apply much stricter controls to the use of private APIs and also continue to close down untrusted ways of distributing apps.

Internet of Things

Some analysts have predicted the sale of billions of Internet of Things (IoT) devices in the coming year, but when it comes to the enterprise, the majority will be limited to the industrial sector. In 2016, you can expect to see a multitude of vendors trying to take advantage of the buzz and claim to offer IoT solutions, but the term will be meaningless because IoT represents very different things to different people.

However, the move to ubiquitous connected devices has absolutely begun. By the end of 2016, you can expect to see a number of high-value IoT use cases that will pave the way for a broader set of commercial solutions in 2017.

One subset of IoT, smart-watches, will start achieving its potential in 2016, as the first generation of simple and low-value apps is replaced by a second generation that truly takes advantage of the new form factor and interaction methods.

Over the next 12 months, compelling data-snacking models will emerge for work as well as home, such as the ability to access near real-time sales figures. This will pave the way for innovative smart-watch apps in the enterprise. However, developers will need to pay close attention to the company's underlying business processes and security requirements because company data might now end up in unexpected places.

Neutrality essential for CIOs

It's tempting for many CIOs to standardize their IT infrastructure on just a few technologies or vendors. Less variability can result in higher compatibility, better cost-effectiveness, and ease of implementation. However, the pace of technology change is extremely rapid now. What the CIO wants does not always match what users need. CIOs have to be prepared for fragmentation across the apps and devices their users demand, because technology will move faster than their ability to standardize.

As a result, CIOs will realize that neutrality is crucial to their mission. They will have to offer a choice of best-of-breed solutions to their end users, however tempting it may be to standardize. The alternative is dissatisfied user communities faced with restricted choice. These communities will then seek out their own solutions and create a shadow IT operation over which CIOs will have no control.

In 2016, neutrality will become a central requirement for any enterprise security platform.
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