Rob Rae’s Technology Predictions For 2016

January 06, 2016

Rob Rae’s Technology Predictions For 2016

By Rob Rae

It’s prediction season once again, and we tapped Rob Rae, Datto’s Vice President of Business Development to hear more about his thoughts on where the channel and technology are headed in 2016.

In 2016, MSPs will begin to see a lot of interesting trends in the channel. I’m often asked what my expectations and predictions are, so here’s what I’m expecting going forward.

We started seeing some significant changes in channel opportunities in late 2015. We’ve spent the last six or seven years through the economic recovery debating viable business models; the MSP model specifically. The recurring revenue model is proven, along with the tools needed to manage, monitor and maintain their clients. If you haven’t figured this out yet, you’re going to be left behind. Now is the time to work with emerging technologies and take advantage of the positive economic outlook.

MSPs will have to continue to adapt and evolve to the changing IT market. Traditional product sets like antivirus and backup have evolved. Not only understanding how these products have evolved but being able to position these changes to the end user will be essential to success.  Cloud computing, business continuity, big data, cyber crime and all the risks associated with each will be big topics in 2016. The MSPs that position these new services and products properly to the consumer will win.

Here are a few key takeaways to expect going forward:

Managed Services are no longer a ‘one-day’ wish

In 2016, you’ll have to be dialed in. You’ve had seven plus years to figure it out. Utilizing tools like PSAs, RMMs, NOCs, plus having a full and complete product set implemented, trained and part of the culture of the business is no longer an option, it’s essential. 2016 will be the year when MSPs start creating a gap between themselves and those still squandering the recurring revenue opportunity. As a result, the term “managed services” or even MSP will become antiquated. Instead, it will be back to the generic Solution Provider, the way it should be.

Convergence is still a pipe dream (in the SMB market anyway)

Print is on a race to zero. Telco’s need more wares to sell to existing markets. Networking shops will be aggressively nudged - I won’t use the term “under attack” because we’ve seen it over and over again, companies fail to make the convergence leap. With that being said, I never say never. Arguably, the only successful ones to make the transition have been via acquisition. Which leads to my next point…

Acquisition opportunities are abound!

It’s time. It’s what we do – expand and retract. Those that made it through the economic downturn are viable, profitable business with meat on the bone. Very appealing to a larger organization looking to make some smaller acquisitions, eliminate some competition and grow fast. It’s no secret that the average age of an IT Solution Provider business is getting older. Time to look at the exit plans.

More cloud wariness.

This is both a big drag and a big opportunity. We’ll have a lot more exposure and reporting of ransomware, cybercrime, hacking and just plain old outages, all blamed on our good friend, the cloud.  As a result of cloud adoption beating out cloud infrastructure and process (read security and risk), we’ll see a lot more of the cloud on CNN.  This will make the typical laymen more nauseous when mentioning the term “cloud” than ever before. Remember at parties when people were fascinated by you talking about cloud technologies? Okay, neither do I. But, it was something people were at least somewhat interested in. Those days will end. Instead it will be more about hackers and Internet security and just general weariness about what’s out there and who’s seeing it.

The most important thing MSPs can do is learn, learn and learn some more. There’s a ton of emerging technologies, most with channel programs, all focused on building recurring revenue. To take advantage of these opportunities, the solution providers need to become the experts in these newer offerings. Humans are creatures of habit, so internal adoption is going to be a huge barrier. We need to force ourselves and our staff to spend a portion of their day learning something new.

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