My experience at the 2017 ET6 Exchange conference

What I saw at the enterprise transformation event, plus notes from my fireside chat with Kevin Kiley.

A few weeks ago, I spent an all-too-brief time at the ET6 Exchange conference. (I was able to fit in about 24 hours before I had to head to Citrix Synergy.)

The ET6 Exchange has its origins in enterprise mobility, but just like much of the industry, the conversation as evolved to include things like IoT, cloud app security, AI/ML/predictive analytics, and other topics under the umbrella of enterprise transformation.

It was my first time at the show, and I was there for two reasons: First, I had always heard that it was a great place to talk enterprise mobility. Second, the organizers asked me to join the ET6 Advisory Board. I am honored to be among so many respected enterprise mobility analysts and thought leaders!

As I mentioned, I actually missed most of the sessions, but I enjoyed what I did get to see. For example, I learned from Maribel Lopez that Leonardo da Vinci was the original model for digital transformation, and from a panel, all about the pitfalls (and some of the promise, of course!) of predictive analytics. And of course, all of the conversations with end users, other analysts, and technology providers made it a great trip.

One way I participated was by joining in a fireside chat with Kevin Kiley, who has lead enterprise sales at AirWatch since 2011. The conference organizers basically said we could sit down in front of the audience and talk shop about the EUC topics on our minds, and that’s an invitation I’ll always jump at. (Update: The video is now available on YouTube.)

Kevin and I covered three different areas, the first being desktop virtualization. Here at, while RDSH, VDI, and DaaS have been our bread and butter for years, we’ve also always said that they’re just a form-factor change. So why the interest in our talk? Personally, I spent the last 6 years writing about enterprise mobility, apps, identity, and cloud; meanwhile, VDI has overcome issues with storage and graphics, and now DaaS is starting to mature. Today, to a mobile/cloud-oriented person like me, VDI/DaaS looks like an appealing way to bring legacy Windows apps into the mobile/cloud world.

The second topic Kevin and I talked about were mobile apps. These days, we have a huge variety of different ways to source and build enterprise mobile apps, including in-house apps—I called it a cornucopia of options. What’s especially interesting now, though, is how it’s getting easier to add new business logic to apps using machine learning. I asked how many people in the audience had started even playing around with online machine learning experiments, and admittedly not many had, but make no mistake, it’s coming soon to the IT tools we use.

Lastly, I wanted to talk with Kevin about devices. I’m not a gadget geek, but seriously, Windows 10 and 10 S, iPads as laptop replacements, Chromebooks with Android apps, embedded devices running Android, augmented reality devices, wearables, and more are certainly going to open some new enterprise use cases. The good news is that with mature EMM protocols and products available, we’ll be much more prepared than back in the day when BYOD iPhones took many by surprise. In other words, businesses can spend less time worrying about management tactics, and instead concentrate on the productivity strategy.

Again, my time at the show was far too brief, but I’m looking forward attending my next ET6 event in the fall.

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