In the IT industry, we tend to talk about technology advances long before they become viable. We discuss their benefits, how they will change our lives or businesses for the better, and how we need to prepare for them.

Then one day, we realize the technology is available but somehow not everyone is prepared for it—despite all the anticipation. And that’s when the rush to catch up begins, and in some cases, the managed service providers (MSPs) most likely to profit tend to miss out. Cloud is the perfect example of this phenomenon in play.

Widespread cloud adoption

According to According to Forrester, cloud has permeated companies of all sizes, industries, and geographies. IDC reports the worldwide public cloud services market continues to “defy the usual laws of market gravity,” with 29 percent growth in 2017. Private cloud adoption is also growing steadily.

If you recall, it wasn’t that long ago that discussions about cloud adoption revolved around concerns regarding security and data control. Those fears, while not completely extinguished, have taken a back seat to the benefits of the cloud—cost effectiveness, elasticity, and scalability chief among them.

And now, all of a sudden cloud is here, customers are clamoring for it, and not all MSPs are ready to provide the needed services.

Let this be a cautionary tale because right on the heels of cloud adoption will be the fast expansion of the Internet of Things (IoT). Conversations about the anticipated impact of IoT have reached mainstream audiences, and use of the technology has been rising, with IDC forecasting worldwide IoT spending will reach $772.5 billion in 2018. The inflection point can’t be too far off, and as an MSP, you don’t want to be caught unprepared. If they aren’t already, your customers may soon be seeking your expertise to help them make sense of it all.

Getting ready

The reason MSPs aren’t always ready for new technologies isn’t without justification. For one thing, it’s hard to prepare for something that may or may not come to fruition. You don’t have to look too far back in the channel’s history to find husks of ideas that never took off.

You almost need a sixth sense to figure out which technologies are going to pan out. If you have some doubts about IoT, however, consider this: There were a lot of doubts about cloud adoption too. Some MSPs were concerned that cloud models would cut them out because presumably, cloud vendors would deal directly with end customers.

But what we’ve seen is that as cloud environments grow in complexity—combining resources from different clouds with on-premises systems—many businesses need MSPs to run the infrastructure, just as they did in pre-cloud days.

The IoT might turn out to be no different. As systems that previously weren’t connected to IT environments become connected, including appliances, medical devices, vending machines, and automobiles, those environments will start to become more complex. Businesses will need experts to manage, monitor, and maintain them. Who will be better qualified than MSPs with their experience in remote monitoring and management?

For MSPs, the time is now to learn about IoT—the available systems, integrations, and uses for the technology—and start making plans for seizing the opportunity. It will be here before you know it.

Greg Lissy is vice president, product management, SolarWinds MSP. Read more SolarWinds MSP blogs here.