By Mark Kirstein, Vice President of Products, BitTitan
The new year brings a wave of eagerness and ambition for innovators across industries. For IT professionals and managed service providers (MSPs), this often means setting new business goals. For instance, in 2019 MSPs or IT firms may be considering new service offerings, building a new core competency, or simply growing revenue and improving profitability.
Regardless of the goal, as part of this process, it is often helpful to think about trends surrounding the adoption of technology solutions. At BitTitan, we’ve been thinking about this and want to share our thoughts on what to expect in the coming year:
1. Cloud solution adoption makes its way through the early majority
If a company is only using on-premise technology versus cloud-based solutions, they’re likely falling behind the times.
Consider, as just one example, email hosted in the cloud. According to a recent survey from Gartner, just shy of 25 percent of public companies have made the jump to cloud email services, with adoption rates among SMBs even higher. In the coming year, we expect to see many more SMBs and enterprises alike moving to cloud-based email – the end of the early adopters and the beginning of the early majority.
Given this, MSPs and IT firms may want to do an audit of technology solutions and workstreams under their management to evaluate whether on-premise solutions would be more cost-effective if they were transitioned to the cloud.
2. Fueling the fire of cloud adoption
Remember that the enthusiasm for cloud-based solutions is being fueled by a number of factors, not just email. Consider that:
- Many businesses have already successfully migrated email and/or other work in the cloud, boosting the confidence for those who were once wary of cloud solutions.
- Cloud providers like Microsoft are increasing license costs and shortening support cycles of on-premise solutions, pushing businesses toward cloud alternatives. As a result, maintaining this legacy infrastructure is becoming more costly for IT.
- Security concerns previously prevented people from moving to the cloud, but these concerns are being addressed. Cloud solutions can provide a higher level of security and are better maintained by cloud providers like Microsoft or Google through regular updates and patches to address new cyber threats. The same cannot be said for on-prem systems.
3. Customers are becoming more savvy about the cloud
While the last decade has primarily focused on why and how organizations should move to the cloud, in the next decade we’ll see more managers focused on optimizing their cloud services. Tech professionals will be sophisticated when selecting cloud providers and adopting new services.
For instance, they may take a multi-cloud approach for more flexibility and room for negotiation, helping to stave off vendor lock-in while allowing businesses to host workloads with the cloud provider that makes the most sense for specific business objectives.
As a result, managing IT environments will become more complex. Hybrid and multi-cloud strategies dominate, but department-level technology decisions are influencing an influx of SaaS solutions. These solutions can be challenging for IT teams who manage governance and ensure broader business integration. As this trend continues in 2019, MSPs will seek additional software management solutions to ease the transition and troubleshooting.
4. The market for specialists heats up
Companies will move away from generalists to tackle their cloud needs, and MSPs might consider specializing in one particular area to distinguish themselves from competitors. A wealth of user technology is available — such as container services to move applications, serverless computing, blockchain applications and automation to manage IT environments — and more specialists are necessary to effectively manage the tech field’s growing landscape.
Also, look for MSPs to further establish vertical specialties in industries such as health care or education, where speaking the end user’s language and understanding their specific ecosystem’s needs, challenges, and technical solutions gives MSPs a leg up.
5. Governance further commands attention
Another primary focus for IT in 2019 will be improved security and governance practices. For those coming from on-prem infrastructure with well-established processes, cloud governance looks far different. IT and MSPs have an opportunity to review and update these processes to ensure they’re appropriate for cloud-based systems. In addition to dictating where data is stored and for how long, governance plans also should address the availability, usability, and integrity of data.
Also, IT managers must ensure migration plans – whether to the cloud or between clouds – have security as a core tenant of its execution. Cyberthreats are only becoming more sophisticated, and any organization, regardless of size or industry, is vulnerable. Educate users about cyberthreats, and keep systems and applications up-to-date, while exploring other options to ensure all bases are covered.
Despite new challenges in 2019, the outlook for IT professionals and the service provider landscape remains strong. Technology leaders continuing to look ahead and purposefully approach the cloud will help their organizations execute on their visions in the coming year and beyond.
Mark Kirstein is the Vice President, Products at BitTitan, leading product development and product management teams for the company’s SaaS solutions. Prior to BitTitan, Mark served as the Senior Director of Product Management for the Mobile Enterprise Software division of Motorola Solutions, continuing in that capacity following its acquisition by Zebra Technologies in 2014. Mark has over two decades of experience overseeing product strategy, development, and go-to-market initiatives.
When not on the road coaching his daughter’s softball team, Mark enjoys spending time outdoors and rooting for the Boston Red Sox. He holds a bachelor’s degree in Computer Science from California Polytechnic State University.