A New Year’s Technology Sneak Peek

We asked 10 IT experts to share their top predictions for the New Year. Here’s what they said 2013 has in store for you, your customers, and your business.

Each December, as workers in Times Square prepare the world’s most famous crystal ball for its famous New Year’s Eve descent, ChannelPro-SMB asks some of SMB technology’s most respected prognosticators to gaze into their own crystal balls and tell us what they see. The following includes their expert forecasts, bold conjectures, and wild guesses for 2013 in eight key markets and for the partner community at large—along with some even more daring predictions about the coming year’s most overlooked and underappreciated “sleeper” stories.

Will cloud computing continue its steady conquest of the IT world in 2013? Absolutely, says Larry Walsh, president and CEO of Port Washington, N.Y.-based channel advisory firm The 2112 Group. Will it generate increased profits for channel pros as well? Maybe not so much.

“I’m not very bullish on cloud,” Walsh says. “Channel partners in general are going to continue to adapt and evolve cloud offerings, but [they are] still going to make up a minority of their revenue.”

Larry Walsh

“Channel partners in general are going to
continue to adapt and evolve cloud offerings,
but it’s still going to make up a minority of
their revenue.”
Larry Walsh, President and CEO, The 2112 Group


Indeed, more than half of channel partners currently earn less than 10 percent of their gross revenue from the sale of cloud products and services, according to the latest results of an annual 2112 Group survey. Every year, Walsh adds, participants in that survey see higher cloud earnings just around the corner, and every year their optimism proves misplaced. “There [are] numerous solution providers that are making a very good living out of the delivery of cloud products and services, but they’re the outliers at this point,” Walsh says.

That will remain true, he continues, until channel pros start thinking about cloud solutions as an entirely new business model rather than just another service offering. “They have to look at cloud strategically,” Walsh argues. That means assessing their customers’ needs, inventorying their own capabilities, building a detailed business plan, and retooling their sales and marketing processes for greater velocity.

All of that is time-consuming but essential work, Walsh says, if you wish to compete with “born in the cloud” channel partners like Cloud Sherpas, a Google Apps and Salesforce.com reseller based in Atlanta. Walsh sees such companies as the biggest threat to more established solution providers in 2013 and beyond, thanks to their superior aptitude for using cloud-based solutions to increase productivity and profits. “That’s a different value proposition,” Walsh observes. “The average MSP is more focused on keeping the servers running.” …

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