A new year is upon us. As you fine-tune your plans, consider these seven business and technology trends for 2019.
A shifting competitive landscape
From ISVs to cloud ecosystem consultants, unconventional partner types will continue to gain ground in 2019. Forrester Research’s Jay McBain says ISVs will be the fastest growing partner type, expanding from some 10,000 to more than 1 million firms by 2028. Channel partners can collaborate with the emerging players, compete or acquire.
More M&A on the way
With that latter strategy in mind, expect 2018’s blistering merger and acquisition pace to continue into 2019. Managed service providers and public cloud consulting specialists will remain popular acquisition targets, but the market might shift to the buyer’s side later in the year.
Apprenticeships make a comeback
M&A deals, however, aren’t the only way to gain the expertise needed to compete. Look for the continued rise of IT apprenticeship programs in 2019. Such programs aim to cultivate technicians, software developers and cybersecurity specialists. Channel partners are beginning to develop apprenticeship programs, partnering with state and local governments, trade schools and other organizations.
Demand for cloud cost management
Helping customers manage growing cloud deployments will continue to keep partners busy as one of the top technology trends for 2019. Their top chores will include working with clients to keep cloud budgets under control, a task complicated by complex, multi-cloud environments. How big is the issue? A Softchoice survey found 57% of IT leaders said they exceeded their cloud budgets.
Edge computing gets smarter
While cloud becomes the innovation foundation for cloud and blockchain, partners can also expect edge computing technology to continue its drive toward greater intelligence. More compute and AI capabilities will become embedded in edge devices, leading to an “intelligence of things.”
Mixed signals on emerging tech
Blockchain and AI continue to capture the imagination, but the technologies will be subject to uncertainty in 2019. Blockchain projects are underway in verticals from financial services to healthcare, but the path the technology will ultimately take and whether it will become as transformative as predicted are still unknowns. AI, meanwhile, attracts interest from partners, yet some struggle to deploy the technology.
AI for the masses?
Technology prognosticators at Deloitte consider the democratization of AI as one of the key technology trends for 2019. AI services offered through public cloud platforms will simplify AI development and broaden market acceptance, according to the consulting firm. Deloitte also points to 5G as an important development, noting U.S. business will soon need assistance determining whether the technology is a fit.
These business and technology trends for 2019 point to a complicated year ahead for MSPs, cloud consultancies and other IT service providers. Non-traditional rivals and new partner combinations born of M&A activity will make for a somewhat unsettling environment. Cloud consulting, migration and management will continue to generate opportunities, especially for partners who can address perplexing cloud cost management issues. And emerging fields such as AI and blockchain may or may not bear fruit for partners this year.