Top 100 Technology Predictions for 2018 Impacting Channel Partners, MSPs

Welcome to predictions 30 to 21

Phil Harris

30. For service providers, user experience will be leveraged as a competitive differentiator. Today, the value of a customer facing service is measured in high availability, security and performance. While these are important, what isn’t emphasized is the user experience of that service, but this is because it is difficult to measure. Service providers will begin to quantify user sentiment, which is typically subjective, through the use of Natural Language Processing technology that can interpret human communication channels (eg, Twitter, Facebook, message boards, etc.) and measure satisfaction. This measurement can then be used to determine where application or network issues may exist based on the sentiment of the users that are interacting with them and not just on traditional monitoring technology. The move to measuring end user experience based on sentiment will allow providers to have an additional source of truth when determining how and where to address issues with their offerings – and those providers that can boast the highest level of user satisfaction will their services will have a competitive advantage. SourcePhil Harris, GM, Service Provider Segment Vertical, Riverbed Technology.

29. Delivering quality end user experience will demand the deployment of next generation networks. Organizations are essentially a distributed network of smaller work groups that are tied together via the network. The experience that your workforce is having with core applications and services can be different—from location to location for a variety of reasons. This inequality of the internal user experience can negatively impact the perception and utilization of these applications and services—and hence the enterprise loses intended business capabilities from IT investments. The traditional network is hardware dependent, and runs on fragmented and sometimes inefficient technologies that can result in performance inequalities from location to location. For IT, performance management of the application and services dependent upon these networks is challenging because they don’t have a holistic view and perspective on all the activities putting demands on the network and the ability to readily respond to those demand signals. Next generation networks, which will largely be software defined and have a management plane will provide IT with the ability to leverage the right network paths, assign appropriate priority to network traffic and ensure the health of network at all locations. These networks will also incorporate an integrated, end-to-end view of the user experience from the datacenter to the end devices at the edge so that anything that may jeopardize performance is identified and managed before the end user is impacted. SourceRich Hillebrecht, CIO, Riverbed Technology.

28. Emerging technologies such as augmented and virtual reality, as well as IoT, will drive the need for scaled and automated network management. These emerging technologies are in the mainstream future of IT. While virtual reality (VR) was once only associated with gaming, now VR as well as augmented reality (AR) are being rapidly being adopted in industries such as manufacturing, healthcare, transportation, energy – the list goes on and on. Add to this phenomenon the explosion in IoT devices at the edge of the network – which are generating data at an incredible rate – and you can see that the job of network management and ensuring network performance can quickly consume an organization that does not invest to scale through technology, process automation or partnering with a provider that does. Introducing these new emerging technologies into the workplace requires the ability to isolate their activity for visibility and understand how when scaled they will impact the network and distribution of compute workload at the edge. To be able to deploy them responsibly requires a solid foundation of enabling IT services—LAN, WAN, branch and DC computing. Modernizing the network with next generation software defined network solutions and services will be key. IT organizations will need to make decisions on sourcing—in-house managed or through a managed service provider—in order to deliver and manage the solution set needed to keep up and stay ahead. Managed network service providers will increase their capabilities in order to take on this responsibility and allow the enterprise to focus on introducing these emerging technologies to enable greater innovation and a competitive edge. SourceRich Hillebrecht, CIO, Riverbed Technology. 


2018 Partner Predictions From Salesforce

Taychakhoonavudh

Key predictions from Neeracha Taychakhoonavudh, VP of Salesforce’s partner program and marketing.

27. Industry-specific solutionsLast year I predicted we’d see increased verticalization in the channel, and I believe this trend will continue to gain traction as we head into the new year. In 2017 we saw that cloud vendors started formulating industry-specific solutions in the healthcare, financial services and retail sectors. Many of these vertical markets still remain largely underserved and untapped – offering a significant opportunity for channel partners to capitalize on and specialize in those markets. Source: Neeracha Taychakhoonavudh, VP of Salesforce’s partner program and marketing.

Even research firm IDC found that the Salesforce economy’s largest net gain in industries will be in financial services and manufacturing, creating $164 billion and $159 billion, respectively, in new business revenues by 2022.

26. Workforce development of the future: I expect to see channel partners invest more heavily in education programs as well as recruitment, in order to attract the next generation of the workforce. Looking to the Salesforce ecosystem I expect partners to invest in Trailhead, Salesforce’s interactive, guided and gamified learning platform. Trailhead serves as both an education and recruitment tool, to both educate and help attract new employees as they expand their businesses in the Salesforce ecosystem and wider cloud environment, which is especially important considering that  Indeed, the world’s #1 job site, found that two of the top ten jobs in its 2017 ranking were related to Salesforce: #4 Salesforce Administrator, #6 Salesforce Developer. Source: Neeracha Taychakhoonavudh, VP of Salesforce’s partner program and marketing.

25. Becoming a digital business: Partner investments in app innovation and production will continue to increase, meaning that we will continue to see a large influx of ISVs in the channel ecosystem. Additionally, we will continue to see a convergence of SIs and ISVs, as SIs invest in their own IP, creating solutions that can plug and play, helping their clients and other companies get up to speed faster than ever. This type of app development also poses a massive business opportunity for partners, as cloud ecosystems continue to grow and provide opportunity for partners to invest in app innovation through new ways they couldn’t before. Source: Neeracha Taychakhoonavudh, VP of Salesforce’s partner program and marketing.


2018 Technology Predictions from Continuum 

Predictions from Continuum‘s CEO, VP of product, VP of backup and disaster recovery, and Senior Vice President of Global Service Delivery.

Michael George

Continuum CEO Michael George

24. In 2018, the number one reason that service providers will be fired by their end-customers and a new one will be hired will be security. Clients expect that their service providers are taking every necessary step to secure them against cyberthreats. But, an escalating threat landscape means that there is a new set of attack vectors that those clients aren’t prepared for and a growing portfolio of security tools that they’re not paying for.

Service providers are going to face difficult conversations with their clients, in which they need to explain how the threat has changed and what the clients now need to be protected. These will be challenging, but with the marketplace rapidly retooling and retraining to meet this demand, these service providers must either face the difficult conversation or face being unseated by a more capable rival.

External factors are at play here, too. While 2017’s massive data breaches stole the headlines for a day or two, their effects will be felt for months and years to come as the stolen data is traded and exploited on the dark web well into 2018. Service providers need to decide if they want to have these tough conversations now, or in the aftermath of an attack, their clients thought they were protected against. This is a place where smart IT Service Providers can dislocate the market by leading with a comprehensive and effective security solution. SourceMichael George, CEO, Continuum.



23. Service providers seeking the opportunity to be acquired in 2018 need to focus on their sales ability, or avoid getting caught in an M&A ‘no-man’s-land.’ Acquirers are now paying a premium for providers that have either a sales capacity or a cost-effective service delivery capacity. If a provider isn’t excelling at either, they’ll be left in no-man’s-land and will struggle to survive in a market that’s consolidating at a rapid pace. Providers need to shift their organizational focus and economics from service delivery to becoming better in-tune with their market and selling against their needs, or they could struggle to survive beyond 2019. SourceMichael George, CEO, Continuum.


Fielder Hiss

22. There will be fewer servers on-premise in 2018. Expect to see more SMBs move more servers to the cloud because they think it is safer, less expensive and more reliable. However, at the same time, they see more attacks to clouds and feel they now become a target – even though they have been a target already. I’m hearing from partners that clients are getting scared and ask for non-public cloud options. That means we will see an increase in CoLo scenarios and partners starting their own DCs while the rest moves to the public cloud. Also, more software vendors will offer SaaS solutions. SourceFielder Hiss, Vice President of Product, Continuum.


21. With the reality of GDPR coming, the requirements for companies of all sizes are going to get real around compliance. New security regulations will increase the need for secure software – not just security products but all products being more secure. Things like 2 Factor Authentication and Identity Management will be requested for existing products. SourceFielder Hiss, Vice President of Product, Continuum.

Continue to next page for predictions 20 to 11 from Continuum, StorageCraft, IR and CloudJumper. 

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