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We are at one of the most exciting moments in history when it comes to innovation in IT driving innovation in business. Cloud computing, mobile and digital technologies are transforming the way we work. At Box, we understand this well. Increasing worker productivity is top of mind for CEOs and many forward-thinking leaders are looking to technology to drive future competitive advantage.

IDC’s Worldwide Content Collaboration Forecast 2015-2019 estimates that the cloud content and collaboration market is expected to experience a strong compound annual growth rate of 23.1 per cent through 2019 while the on-premises growth is flat at 0.9 per cent. The responsibility of driving and executing tomorrow’s IT strategy rests on the shoulders of a cross section of CIOs, CTOs, and emerging chief digital officers and chief data and trust officers.

While all industries can benefit from new thinking, the top sectors ripe for innovation in 2016 are oil and gas, financial services, healthcare, public sector and telecommunications with higher employee productivity and better customer experience outcomes.

After interviewing a variety of IT leaders this past year combined with the latest analyst research, here are trends to watch in 2016:

Cloud content management and collaboration platforms: unencumbered by legacy technology, innovation and creativity will thrive

Forrester was one of the first among the analyst community to publically recognize the reality of the market transition with their Wave report titled, ECM Business Content Services, Q3 2015. Strategically minded organizations will look to cloud platforms for increased time to business value in 2016.

In what is being called the API economy, open platforms that enable enterprises to leverage both existing legacy on-premise investments as well as cloud applications will drive innovative thinking from businesses. With cloud platforms, enterprises will be able to think about business units acting like startups to create new business models and processes for competitive differentiation – whether in IT or operational business units. Innovation is no longer constrained to outdated approaches to information technology and an employee’s creativity and imagination will be unlocked.

Mobility: simple automation and workflow use cases will enable every industry to achieve higher levels of operational excellence

Aargon Research MCM Nov. 2015
The Aragon Research Globe™ For Mobile Content Management, 2015 – The Race To Win The Enterprise

The convergence of mobile and cloud computing will enable new business processes across every industry. Cloud mobility will play a critical role in extending on-premise assets to the workforce as enterprises don’t operate on a single technology stack.

Aragon Research’s Mobile Content Management, 2015 report stated, “while more content is being accessed and shared on mobile devices than ever before, the need for apps to access and share – and even process – content is one of the new emerging needs as mobile apps help to power digital transformation.”

Industries that are highly process-driven and regulated will see dramatic productivity improvements to their operations and will dominate discussions at the business level. Paper-based processes which are historically time consuming and operationally inefficient will be transformed when digitized for mobile use cases. The opportunities to find the ‘digital moments’ in the day in the life of a worker are numerous and those organizations that look to innovative with cloud platform technologies for simple automation and workflow will achieve higher levels of operational excellence not thought possible just a few short years ago.

Security and governance

In a digital world, cloud security is one of the top critical evaluation criteria. Chief information security officers already recognize that taking a perimeter defense is inadequate with today’s mobile workers. Risk-based security assessments will be undertaken that are specific to applications in order to protect corporate information.

In my interview with Telus’ security lead in August titled, On the rise: Security as a business enabler, Argast summed it up nicely by saying, “security has traditionally been something the IT guys take care of. However, because of the ramifications of recent high-profile breaches, boards are now viewing security as something that can have a significant impact on the business and a risk that must be understood and managed at the board level.” Cloud content vendors that are recognized among the analyst community as leaders in security will be the go to partners. Selecting vendors not known for advanced cloud security will lead to exposed corporate risk.

The future of work: contextual collaboration

Contextual collaboration will be the new nomenclature for how people naturally work during the day. Teams, including virtual teams, typically are collaborating around content – whether that be a document, image or video. The days of old when a team collaborates via e-mail with the “Reply All” and the latest version of a document attached is an outdated way of working.

Here is a self assessment: if your colleague has sent you an e-mail with a document attached in the past day, and not as a secure link, it’s time to innovate and transform to modern work styles. This is a leading indicator of one not fully understanding the digital era and best-in-class information management behaviour. With contextual collaboration, project times will decrease and desired business outcomes executed faster.

To achieve success in 2016, both business and IT leaders need to think deeply about the digital world in the context of their own unique business environment and competitive threats to drive innovation. Cloud computing and mobile technologies will spur creativity for organizations with governance and security being top of mind in every decision.

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