It’s December. Another year has gone and we have another chance to take a moment to predict how our industry will grow and develop next year. 2015 may have been a ‘year of the cloud’ but who’s to say 2016 can’t be a different type of year for rapid adoption of cloud based applications around security, analytics and collaboration.

[easy-tweet tweet=”John Marlow shares his thoughts on #cloud #vendors, #applications, #security and #collaboration in 2016″ via=”no” usehashtags=”no”]

Here are my specific predictions for the coming year:

1. Cloud vendors will become the go-to communications solutions providers.

FTSE 100 companies and many more have already adopted cloud CRM platforms like Salesforce, and this year I expect to see cloud PBX and cloud contact centres move upstream. It’s more economical for companies to move to communication solutions in the cloud as it saves time, space and human resources, as well as giving companies more opportunities for new, additional and flexible communications solutions that can improve the way they do business, such as apps and collaboration tools.

2. Cloud applications will untether corporate workers from their desks

No one likes feeling chained to their desk

No one likes feeling chained to their desk and cloud-solutions free employees to work anywhere with high productivity. Enhancing traditional company phone systems, for instance, with cloud applications that run equally as well on mobile phones as they do on desktops, will enable users to have untethered and rich experiences regardless of their location or device. Availability of such cloud business apps will increase pushing further development of more user relevant functionality, allowing workers to do more in the palm of their hand or any other device like wearables which are fast becoming the next phase of device lead innovation.

3. Analytics drawn from cloud app data will become part of everyday business.

The connected employee is evolving and growing at a rapid pace, end users have become massive consumers of services and information pushing the volume of data being presented and utilised by business and users alike. Cloud based applications are only pushing this data volume higher. 2016 will bring with logical presentation and consumption needs of this data. Accessibility to these tools will be key to their successful adoption and growth, as these analytics become an essential part of a business’ cloud solutions. Empowering a lot of just-in-time, actionable business insights, utilising these analytics will be the new normal for many C-suite executives.

4. Cloud security solutions will become paramount.

[easy-tweet tweet=”It is predicted that by the year 2020, the #IoT will include 26 billion units.” user=”comparethecloud” usehashtags=”no”]

With more and more business conducted in the cloud, security is imperative and leaves no room for error. The explosion of IoT will also make cloud security even more essential as Gartner predicts that by the year 2020, the IoT will include 26 billion units. As hacks get more sophisticated, and the number of vulnerabilities increases, it will be down to the cloud providers to keep business’ data secure with significant investment and development in this space being inevitable.  Add to this the possibility of new legislation from the EU and UK parliaments for more robust and top-grade cloud security and it is clear that security will be a key concern in 2016.

5. Collaboration tools will become as essential for business communications.

there is a higher focus on collaboration and team interaction

The workplace as we have known it is changing. Rise of social media, need to be reached anywhere, anytime, clubbed with the limitations of legacy communications tool like email have resulted in a higher focus on collaboration and team interaction, forcing broad adoption of collaboration solutions in corporate lines-of-business.  Collaboration tools are poised for accelerated adoption for team projects and person-to-person communication, possibly challenging email someday as the primary form of written communication.  Collaboration tools will become essential for users as they look to streamline work and improve their efficiency and discover new ways of interacting with colleagues and customers alike

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John Marlow, Managing Director of EMEA, SVP of Corporate Development, and General Counsel, RingCentral John Marlow serves as the Managing Director of EMEA, SVP of Corporate Development, and General Counsel at RingCentral, where he oversees all of the company’s European operations, partnerships and alliance activities. Previously, John served as the VP of Human Resources and Facilities. Marlow received his law degree from Boalt Hall School of Law at the University of California, Berkeley and earned his bachelor’s degree, summa cum laude, from Colgate University.