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Your Technology Predictions for 2016: The Final List

Last call... Last call... ChannelE2E made plenty of IT channel and technology industry predictions for 2016. Now it's time to put our readers and industry leaders in the spotlight before we all sign off to ring in the New Year.

Here's a sampling of 2016 predictions that caught our attention, along with credit to the IT gurus who made them...

17. Continued struggles with Internet bandwidth will lead to a boom in new data migration services and devices: "Amazon has AWS Snowball, a service that ships customers a hardened device on which they can put large amounts of data and which, in turn, is sent back to Amazon who will then transfer the data to the cloud. For large amounts of data, it¹s a faster, cheaper way to transfer. Expect other services from other vendors to launch in 2016." -- Alexander Negrash, VP of marketing at CloudBerry Lab


16. Training, Please: "In the coming year, as technology continues to evolve, IT service providers will need to make sure their technicians are properly trained on all the latest technologies. I expect IT service providers to place greater emphasis on offering training and certification programs to their technicians, looking to vendors to help provide these types of opportunities. I also think vendors will not only need to provide education about best practices for deploying their technologies, but teach skills that will help service providers support end users in terms of cloud, mobility, security, and more."  -- Neal Bradbury, Senior Director of Channel Development, Intronis

15. More for Less: "Cost control measures will continue to drive end users to find ways to reduce data protection costs without sacrificing performance or increasing risk. Key means to reduce costs associated with long-term backup, retention and disaster recovery will be product consolidation, data reduction, WAN optimization through deduplication and compression, and third party public clouds." -- Mike Crest, CEO, Arcserve


14. Vertical Solutions Providers: “Vertical markets – including legal, finance, public sector, healthcare, manufacturing – will become a mainstream money-maker for IT service providers who specialize and solve for business outcomes. On the vendor front, we’ll continue to see the boundaries that use to separate fierce competitors dissolve. Competition will continue and co-opetition will create greater opportunity and choice for IT service providers. Distributors and vendors will find ways to simplify partner engagement and enablement, and refresh their branding to be more relevant and resourceful.” -- Kirk Robinson, SVP, Commercial and Global Markets, Ingram Micro

13. Security's Next Wave: “Cybersecurity and Network Security will continue to dominate headlines, placing more pressure on and bringing more opportunity to channel partners who specialize in IT security-as-a-service.”  -- Colin Knox, CEO & Founder, Passportal


12. M&A Accelerates: “In 2016, the recurring revenue model will reign and the IT channel will become more focused on relationships and results. With increased competitive pressures, MSPs must (and will) continue to find ways to improve efficiencies in service delivery and ultimately become enablers of their customers’ business priorities.  As the industry matures, MSPs’ expectations of vendor partners are reaching an all-time high (and will rise).  As a result, we’ll continue to see consolidation and greater collaboration between vendor and partner communities.” -- JP Jauvin, GM, SolarWinds N-able

11. Analytics and the Channel: "Analytics are becoming a big trend in the industry. We see this with all sorts of verticals wanting to know more about the customer experience journey – the digital world is exploding with information and companies want to know how to take advantage of it. In the channel world, companies are wanting to use the data to determine buying trends, behaviors regarding the most effective programs (or programs that were ineffective), profitability and cost of channel programs. -- Kenneth Fox, CEO, Channel Mechanics

10. SaaS is switching to autopilot and automation. "We’re seeing very specific workflows automated by cloud companies. While Xero is automating accounting and financial management, Workday is streamlining HR, and there are hundreds of other bits of software evolving to take the pain out of everyday processes."  Angus Norton, chief product officer, Xero

9. Fast-growing, no-profit SaaS companies will collapse: "Many of these so-called multi-billion dollar businesses have no revenue, no asset value, no employees and no chance of survival, as long-standing, cash, asset, idea, and employee-rich companies reorganize to compete. Nimble, fast, and flexible is great—and the startups have done a great job in cornering that market. Enterprises might learn slowly, but they learn. And the further along they are on their journey towards digitalization, the more market share they can win back. So, as quickly as the fast-growing, no-profit SaaS companies have appeared, they will now begin to collapse." -- Mark J Barrenechea, CEO, OpenText


8. Integrating different data sets to get a single, accurate view is still a major challenge: "Data is more complex, messy and in many different formats than ever, largely due to hyper-distributed data environments. This continues to be a costly issue for almost any organization that does data integration manually." Cisco, he adds, is already solving those issues for customers. -- Mike Flannagan, VP, Data & Analytics, Cisco Systems

7. RMM Meets Voice: "Interactive Voice Response (similar to Apple Siri) will trickle into the automation of RMM. I am think something sort of like Star Trek Captain Jean-Luc Picard barking orders into the computer." -- Omry Farajun, president, Storage Guardian

6. Managing Big Data Costs: "Salaries for both data scientists and Hadoop admins will skyrocket in 2016 as growth in Hadoop demand exceeds the growth of the talent pool. In order to bypass the need to hire more data scientists and Hadoop admins from a highly competitive field, organizations will choose fully managed cloud services with built-in operational support. This frees up existing data science teams to focus their talents on analysis instead of spending valuable time wrangling complex Hadoop clusters." -- Mike Maciag, COO, Altiscale

5. Flash performance is yesterday's news, 2016 is about flash scalability. "Due to the high performance offered by many vendors of flash-optimized storage solutions, performance will no longer be the primary differentiating factor when considering one vendor over another. Instead, a much greater focus will be placed on the array's reliability, data integrity, scalability, manageability and in-built data-protection capabilities. We are now getting to the point where performance in storage has been democratized and will change the way people purchase storage." -- Dan Leary, VP of products, solutions and alliances, Nimble Storage


4. For Analytics, Converged Approaches Become Mainstream: "For the last few decades, the accepted best practice has been to keep operational and analytic systems separate, in order to prevent analytic workloads from disrupting operational processing. HTAP (Hybrid Transaction / Analytical Processing) was coined in early 2014 by Gartner to describe a new generation of data platforms that can perform both online transaction processing (OLTP) and online analytical processing (OLAP) without requiring data duplication. In 2016, we will see converged approaches become mainstream as leading companies reap the benefits of combining production workloads with analytics to adjust quickly to changing customer preferences, competitive pressures, and business conditions. This convergence speeds the “data to action” cycle for organizations and removes the time lag between analytics and business impact." -- John Schroeder, CEO and Co-founder, MapR

3. MSPs and VARs will start to take a more holistic approach to working with customers, focusing on business value and results, not technology. "The most successful MSPs and VARs will identify and specialize in key vertical markets, developing intellectual property (IP) as solutions in order to provide the most value to their partners. For example, IP solutions may include security and compliance assessments as part of a bundled cloud solution. Cloud success requires differentiation and the only way to do that is by adding unique value in some form. The technology alone as a differentiator will no longer be enough."  -- John Rice, senior director, partner community, Intermedia


2. People and Machines: "Our online conversations will increasingly be mediated by conversation assistants who will help us laugh and be more productive. This will lead us to question and blur the way we think about our computers, phones and our memories and relationships." -- Lili Cheng, distinguished engineer and GM, Microsoft Research

1. Here Endith the Predictions List: Well, January 1 is nearly upon us. It's time to end this predictions list and begin the journey into 2016. Please let us know about each step, each milestone, each setback and each breakthrough in your journey. Happy New Year and thanks to all the pundits who shared predictions with ChannelE2E. -- [email protected] and [email protected]

Joe Panettieri

Joe Panettieri is co-founder & editorial director of MSSP Alert and ChannelE2E, the two leading news & analysis sites for managed service providers in the cybersecurity market.