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Self-grading my 2012 channel trend predictions

High-tech journalist types are known for spouting off predictions and prognostications at the end or beginning of each year. Since I still do this routinely for SearchITChannel, I figured it would be appropriate for me to revisit what I reported 12 months ago in our story, “Four trends that will shape IT services in 2012.”

For a quick recap, here are the four themes that emerged:

  1. Bring your own device movement (BYOD)
  2. Mobile app stores
  3. Data management 2.0
  4. The cloud

So how did we do? For the most part, I believe these trends were spot on as forces that promised to reshape technology solution provider business models. Two of them, however, were far more prominent than the others – BYOD and Cloud.

It is no coincidence that both of them are on our next list of trends to watch, which should be published in early January.

Consider BYOD. In January 2012, we reported that about 25 percent of small and midsize businesses (SMBs) supported the idea. More than half of them, however, had no policy in place to grapple with the management issues associated with allowing employees to bring personal smartphones, tablet computers or other mobile computing devices into the workplace.

As we approach New Year’s Day 2013, however, it appears that BYOD made even more inroads than anticipated.

September 2012 data from a bi-annual survey conducted by Spiceworks suggests that 75 percent of SMBs now manage and support personal devices. Approximately 20 percent of the 1,500 IT professionals surveyed in its latest poll fully support this, while 25 percent feel it’s a nightmare for their IT departments – which means it’s a great opportunity for solution providers.

The same survey reveals that cloud adoption among SMBs is continuing to grow rapidly, with more than 62 percent of SMBs now using some sort of cloud based service and another 11 percent planning to do so during the first half of 2013.

Our prediction about how mobile application provisioning will affect how businesses deploy all software applications is still playing out in more subtle ways.

But I think the main premise of this prediction – that people will want smaller, more specific applications in the future – still holds.

Likewise, there are many changes in store for how small businesses manage their data. The latest twist on this theme is the extent to which big data services might be able to help small companies in the future.

One example is the data analytics service being offered by SiSense to help companies gain more insight from their e-commerce sites or even a Salesforce.com database. “Our mission is to make this available to anyone,” said Amit Bendov, CEO of the company.

One of the most venerable developers of small business applications, Intuit, is even talking up the potential. Its plan is to use information aggregated through QuickBooks Online to help small-business owners derive better insight into the health of their own business. Watch for more developments along these lines.

Look for more channel news coverage on SearchITChannel.com and follow us on TwitterFollow Heather Clancy directly.

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