The trend lines are clear: Laptops began replacing desktops, and then tablets began replacing laptops. And at this rate, smartphones one day might replace them all. It\u2019s hardly hyperbole: IDC expects mobile workers to number slightly more than 37 percent of the global workforce by the end of this year. Putting it another way, we\u2019re talking about some 1.3 billion mobile workers.\u00a0\n\n\nThat tectonic shift also underscores the changing landscape that CIOs are navigating, one in which increasingly mobile employees expect reliable and seamless access to their corporate networks, no matter what device they carry with them. This has major implications for the future of the cloud.\u00a0\n\n\nThere\u2019s both potential and risk as companies integrate mobile across the enterprise. But IT watchers never hesitate to point out the fact that tomorrow's more mobile-friendly infrastructure will require companies to make cloud investments today in order to manage the potentially sprawling device ecosystem that\u2019s growing up around them.\n\n\nIndeed, the two trends \u2013 mobility and cloud - are related, if not moving in tandem. CIOs plan to increase their spending on enterprise mobility\u00a0management by around 52 percent this year, according to the results of a poll conducted by CIO Magazine. At the same time, they also intend to budget more on the public cloud (37%) the private cloud (42 percent), and SaaS\/cloud apps (52%).\u00a0\n\n\nThus there is renewed urgency to get devices, applications, and data up and running in the cloud. It\u2019s not a passing fad. The changing nature of the modern workplace means that employees are no longer always side-by-side. Increasingly, they're working out of distant offices or telecommuting from the road. They need to be able to share, download and sync files from anywhere. For IT, that means finding a way to ensure that employees are able work effectively from anywhere.\u00a0\n\n\nThe change is already taking place. Cloud projects constitute the single most important technology initiative underway in IT, according to the Computerworld Forecast Study 2015. There\u2019s little time to waste. From the standpoint of security and identity management, the BYOD transition and its implications for enterprise mobility present new challenges to CIOs thinking about the proper IT infrastructure to deploy.\u00a0\n\n\nAs the pressure ramps up on IT to connect and secure these myriad new devices and apps, the cloud has become a critical enabling component. Welcome to the mobile-first, cloud-first era.