2015 Recap: When EMM Took Over the World

First published on CloudBlogs on Dec 14, 2015
Oh what a year we’ve had… I can’t recall a more exciting time to be in the tech industry – especially in IT. As 2015 concludes and 2016 is set to kick off, enterprise mobility continues to be one of the fastest growing categories in the industry. In this post, I want to recap 3 of my observations on what’s happened over the last 12 months – and what will happen in the next 12. 2015 was a good year for mobility thanks to some major innovations across hardware (like Surface Pro 4 & Surface Book, as well as iPad Pro), great mobile OS updates (Windows 10 & iOS9), and a massive amount of change and consolidation amongst the mobility management vendors. Amidst all of this, the increasing number of cyberattacks has made security the top priority for every organization. With all of that in mind, here’s what I expect to see a lot more of in 2016:

#1: Customers are Accelerating their Move to the Cloud

Here’s a concrete fact of life in 2016: The cloud is key for our customers’ future and current IT needs. In my conversations with customers over the past year (a number that totals well over 400), I’ve seen the vast majority of them accelerating their plans to move to the cloud. This move is primarily driven by Office 365 deployments – and e-mail and collaboration become their first truly cloud-based workload. Our customers see the agility, value, and cost savings of the cloud and they understand (or are at least beginning to understand) that, in many ways, the public cloud is operated more securely than their own private clouds or on-premises data centers. The speed of this transition has been amazing. Microsoft’s Enterprise Mobility Suite was designed and built in the cloud and this architecture makes it uniquely and exclusively positioned to light up security and management across users, devices, apps, and data. As I think about the mobile first, cloud first world that we live in today (and are going to be neck deep in throughout 2016), the architecture of the solutions you’re using to support your organization are going to be critical to your success. The reason for this is simple: The pace of innovation and the pace of competition is faster than it has even been – it’s faster than it was 12 months ago, and it’s going to get even faster throughout 2016. Trying to keep up with this is going to be impossible is you are not building upon the flexibility and innovation of a cloud-service. Architecture matters – now more than ever.

#2: Security is a Business Priority

With the increasing frequency and severity of cybercrime, securing company data continues to be a paramount concern for IT. While security has always been a centerpiece of IT strategy, the accountability for securing company assets has become even more visible at the CEO and Board level. Now organizations are looking for solutions that span left-to-right across their on-prem assets, cloud assets, and mobile experiences – and this emphasis will only increase in 2016. Microsoft is committed – both companywide and as a member of the broader IT community – to helping our customers stay secure . In 2015 we’ve shown this commitment by delivering several significant innovations, as well as key acquisitions aimed at augmenting enterprise security . For example, we launched Advanced Threat Analytics to help identity advanced threats on premises, we enabled security reporting for cloud log ins , and we extended secure identities beyond employee ID’s to customers and partners . We also acquired Adallom to further secure cloud applications, and Secure Islands to intelligently classify and protect data. Everything we have built s focuses on using enterprise mobility as a strategic security asset. This takes a traditionally huge burden off of IT, while simultaneously making your infrastructure more secure.

#3: Mobile Productivity Without Compromise

Managing mobile productivity is a balancing act between IT security requirements and the needs of end users. To this day, the way many EMM vendors address this problem is to have end users give IT control of their devices prior to being given access to company resources. Unfortunately, this experience is onerous at best. IT ends up compromising on security; end users lose control of their device and are stuck with a poor UX. This was happening way too much in 2015. Both the present and future are much brighter: The currently available integration between EMS and Office is a no compromise approach to managing mobile productivity. Customers get to use the gold standard in mobile productivity while IT stays in control of where and how that corporate data is used. As we announced last month , we now enable end users to use the Office mobile apps without a device enrollment.

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By any measurement, 2015 was an incredibly exciting year for the enterprise mobility industry. Looking at what teams across Microsoft have worked on, consider the progress: Our cloud-based solution delivers best-in-class managed mobile productivity with end-to-end security for on-prem and cloud apps. This progress has really resonated with customers – over 20,000 of them, in fact. Insist on end-to-end solutions in 2016. Point solutions are best left in 2015 .

Here's a look back at some of the things we’re most proud of from 2015: