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Top 100 Technology Predictions for 2018 Impacting Channel Partners, MSPs

Let the games begin. In this case, it’s time to kick off the top technology and business predictions for 2018. But instead of sharing our own crystal ball here, we’ll spend the next 60 days or so linking out to technology pundits across the globe.

Send Us Your Predictions: If your company has posted a blog highlighting 2018 predictions, please email me the link ( for consideration.

Predictions 100 to 49: Keep checking back daily. We’re gonna have to hustle to hit that Top 100 figure between now and Friday, January 19, 2018.

2018 Technology Predictions from VAR Staffing

Todd Billiar

Wayne Rampey

CEO Wayne Rampey & Director of Channel Development Todd Billiar, both of VAR Staffing, offer these predictions:

48. Cybersecurity: This will most likely be the most difficult technical position to fill in 2018, and they will be “pricey” even for candidates that may be marginally qualified.  We admit we did not have to go out on a limb on this prediction, as even a recent article published by the job board Monster, put unemployment for Cybersecurity specialists at effectively 0%.  Of all the technical positions VAR Staffing recruits for, Cybersecurity specialists represented the largest % increase in 2017.

47. The Talent Hire vs. The Experienced Hire: Just about everyone acknowledges there is a shortage of skilled, experienced technical talent in one form or the other.  As a result, companies will be forced to improve their internal training programs, AND improve their ability to identify strong talent to hire, vs. primarily relying on hiring experienced talent away from competitors.  Even industry leaders such as Amazon, Microsoft, IBM and others, cannot hire the experienced talent needed; and typically, money is not the issue.   As a result, more and more apprenticeship programs and internal training are taking on an increasingly important role in hiring and grooming tech talent.

Reduced candidate availability will impact small to mid-sized VARs and MSPs even more in 2018.  Without a solid plan to supplement experienced professionals with “high talent”, lesser experienced candidates, company growth will be constrained by lack of available skilled talent.

46. Tier 1 Client Support and Apprenticeships: Apprenticeships will take on greater importance in 2018. If ever there is a role that lends itself to apprenticeship success, it should start here. With the Millennial generation being more of a “digital native” rather than a “digital immigrant”, their natural comfort in performing tech support is obvious.

CompTIA (one of many organizations) has long been an industry leader in providing technical certifications, with a progression path. VARs and MSPs would be well served to increase their use of in-house training, if not already doing so in 2018 to help “grow their own” in-house talent pool.

45. Available Talent Scarcity is also Driving Business Acquisition Activity: VAR Staffing noticed an increase in M&A activity among our clients in 2017, and we predict the trend to continue in 2018.  Two of the most obvious benefits associated with acquisitions are immediate increase in client revenue, and the addition of hard to obtain technical talent.

In the 3rd quarter survey released this December by Pepperdine University’s Graziadio School of Business and Management, (conducted with 334 business sales brokers), 90% of companies that sold for greater than $5 million, were bought by businesses looking to expand.  And expansion is one way to acquire new talent, as well as new customers.  However, even with new talent acquisition, 85% of the companies who are looking to hire also indicated the need to train those they hire.  That seems to further validate prediction #2 regarding the Talent Hire vs. The Experienced Hire.

CompTIA’s Tim Herbert, SVP of Research and Market Intelligence was quoted December 8th as saying, “For the year, IT occupations have grown by 223,000 positions, further confirming the demand by businesses across every sector of the economy to deploy technology wherever possible”.

44. Employee Retention Will Continue to Take on Greater Emphasis – Assuming you agree with the position good talent remains difficult to hire, the need to focus on employee retention is more important than ever.  On aggregate, below are the most common desired improvements we hear candidates express (besides compensation) when it comes to evaluating their next job move.

  • Continued technical training and career growth
  • Work / life balance
  • Immediate and improved healthcare benefits and expense moderation or reduction
  • Greater control over the use of PTO (also relating to work / life balance challenges)

2018 Technology Predictions from BMC Corp.

Sanjay Gupta

Sanjay Gupta is VP of global ecosystem sales at BMC. He leads the BMC Global partner ecosystem and brings a depth of channel knowledge from previous roles at IBM, SAP, and BroadVision.

43. Value add wins. Vertical market expertise of partners will expand with partners continuing to realize that their revenue and margin opportunity aligns with IT complexity. IT challenges equal partner opportunity. We continue to see our best performing partners bringing value add in the form of unique software solutions, complex systems integration, and efficient services implementation methodology with highly skilled talent. This is clearly evident in the area of multi-cloud. Enterprises continue to struggle with multi-cloud management, with fully 40 % not knowing how much their organization is spending on cloud services. Additionally, enterprises advised us in a BMC commissioned survey in Aug. 2017, that partners are the single most important external source of influence over their cloud strategy. {See our entire multi-cloud survey results here.}

42. Business model evolutions. Partner business models continue to evolve and morph into hybrid entities: VARs, SIs, ISVs, MSPs, and Corporate Resellers. 2018 will see a non-stop convergence of previously distinct models. Clearly a lot of VARs are delivering additional value via unique IP with vertically specific applications running on top of platforms like BMC’s Remedy. Also, many ISVs are leveraging the power of AWS to deliver solutions in a SaaS model while also leveraging the AWS ecosystem and customer reach.

41. Marketing expertise matters. Partners that understand how to intersect the online buyers journey will continue to expand and grow. Best practice partners are leveraging digital campaigns that seek to intersect the right content with a highly targeted persona at the right point in the buyer’s journey. By nurturing the installed base, while also landing net new targets, partners are accelerating their ability to convert suspects into marketing and sales qualified opportunities at a lower cost per lead.

40. IT talent shortage. The shortage of IT talent, especially in the North America and EMEA geographies, continues into 2018. Partners that continue to invest in the technical skills of their teams exploit this significant IT skills gap by delivering complex solutions much more quickly than a talent-starved enterprise IT department ever can. Additionally, recruitment of newly graduated IT talent will be a key solution to this gap.

39. Align with the IT wallet. Security will continue to be a top spending priority for IT in 2018. Per Tech Pro Research’s survey of IT teams – 53% said security is their top priority spend in 2018. {Details here] Cyber-attacks like the WannaCry ransomware attack in 2017 will continue to haunt CIOs as they plan 2018 budget spending. Additionally, the complexity of global IT with on-premise and cloud-based workloads will present real opportunity for partners to deliver solutions like BMC SecOps Policy Service to drive governance across multi-cloud environments. A partner that shows up and asks: “Do you need help driving compliance and security testing across all of your on- premises and cloud operations to improve governance and reduce risk?” will get an audience.

Continue to next page for predictions 38 to to 31 from Xerox, Riverbed…

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