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Tomorrow’s Tech: Remaining Relevant and Profitable in the IT World of the Future

17 Dec 2015 by Howard M Cohen

For the past several decades, Information Technology (IT) has been more about the technology than about the information — but that is rapidly changing. Many IT Service Providers (ITSPs) are finding themselves far less involved with the hardware and much more involved with the data. Technology may be the engine, but data is the fuel that moves business outcomes up and to the right.

Big data is not about servers and storage; it’s about the information. Endpoints aren’t about desktops, laptops, tablets or smartphones. They’re about users who need to get work done efficiently.

Tomorrow’s technology

Let’s examine the architecture of tomorrow’s information technology landscape — from Managed Service Providers (MSPs), Systems Integrators (SIs), Network Integrators (NIs) and Independent Software Vendors (ISVs), to new players such as Cloud Service Providers (CSPs), Internet of Things Integrators (IoTIs) and Data Scientists (DSs) — to help owners and managers of IT service and support organizations design their next service offerings that support this new reality. 

Tomorrow’s Managed Service Provider (MSP)

If there’s anything MSPs will need to learn in the short term to survive and thrive in the long term, it will be how to scale to manage much more of everything. More users with multiple devices on several networks with millions of other things connected to them. More sophisticated and complex technology. More threats than ever.

Optimizing everything will be the constant challenge, as will assuring higher availability.

Tomorrow’s Systems Integrator (SI)

Microsoft CEO Satya Nadella gave us a glimpse of our future when he explained that Microsoft, at its core, will be “the productivity and platform company for the cloud-first, mobile-first world.”

When Nadella said “productivity,” he meant Office 365 — which delivers productivity, data management and communications services directly from Microsoft data centers around the world. When he said “platform,” he meant Microsoft Azure, which provides server and storage capacity on a cost-effective subscription model.

If successful, Microsoft and its competitors in this space, including Amazon, Google, IBM, Rackspace and others, will fundamentally replace the System Integrator’s (SI’s) server and storage sales, and implementation business completely. 

Tomorrow’s Network Integrator (NI)

On Feb. 3, 2011, the Internet Assigned Names & Numbers Authority (IANA), which manages the distribution of Internet Protocol (IP) addresses, announced that it had allocated the last of the remaining available blocks of addresses to regional authorities. The transition from IPv4 internet addressing to IPv6 was planned to be completed by then. Most estimates put the conversion at only 17% completed as of this year. 

Tomorrow’s Independent Software Vendor (ISV)

The large providers who are vying to replace this business and become everyone’s infrastructure all want to see more applications emerge that will drive more consumption of their usage-based servers and storage. Many of them will partner closely with ISVs to help them drive sales of their applications.

Tomorrow’s Cloud Service Provider (CSP)

Because many of the services formerly provided by on-premise hardware-software combinations are now being delivered from cloud data centers, the opportunity is for the CSP to combine hardware and software with cloud services from a variety of providers to create superior customer solutions.

Tomorrow’s Internet of Things Integrator (IoTI)

Interoperability will be the great challenge to the Internet of Things (IoT). Numerous “IoT interoperability standards” have emerged over the past several years — most notably Z-Wave and Zigbee. IoTIs specializing in developing operating solutions leveraging IoT technology will find an enthusiastic audience hungry for their services.

Tomorrow’s Data Scientist (DS)

Claire Cain Miller, writing in The New York Times, called data scientists “… the magicians of the big data era. They crunch the data, use mathematical models to analyze it, and create narratives or visualizations to explain it, then suggest how to use the information to make decisions.”

From administration to innovation

Tomorrow’s tech will be called upon to provide a broadening variety of services that range from administration to innovation. Capitalizing on this exciting future means challenging our people to expand their skills, tap into their creativity, and provide leadership to a customer base that will look more upon us to move them upward and to the right across the IT maturity scale. 

It’s an awesome time in the IT industry.

This article originally appeared in Volume 1, Issue 2 of Technically digital magazine.