The future appears to be quite bright for those who understand the business case for innovation. From blockchain, artificial intelligence, and virtual reality solutions to IoT and drones, IT services professionals are quickly adapting next-generation products and services for the SMB ‒ driving revenue and new opportunities for providers as well as the clients utilizing these solutions.
While many IT services professionals remain focused on delivering infrastructure and application support, these “edge technologies” are opening the imagination ̶ and checkbooks ̶ of the more adventurous entrepreneurs. Based on the current trends detailed in the recently released CompTIA IT Industry Outlook 2019, the business case for these emerging solutions is quickly shifting from the speculative stage to one with real revenue opportunities.
The unique and transformative qualities of these solutions is driving the adoption curve upward quickly. In their quest to gain new workplace efficiencies or deliver new services, entrepreneurs are more willing to push the envelope by embracing the latest innovations ‒ even with fairly untested options or those with a questionable ROI.
Emerging technologies may also serve as differentiators for organizations looking to stand apart from the competition. However, smart leaders don’t merely invest to boost the corporate image: they acquire products and services to automate key operations or increase revenue opportunities.
When properly utilized, blockchain, AI, VR, IoT, and drone technologies deliver those types of benefits. Based on trends identified in the recent report, now is the perfect time for IT services providers to start offering these solutions to their SMB clients ‒ if they haven’t already.
Business Comes First
Channel professionals have two main things to consider when assessing their opportunities with emerging technologies. First, which offerings are the best fit for their business? An IT services firm that primarily supports banks and other financial organizations may not sell many drones. However, those clients may already be investigating blockchain and artificial intelligence options and could benefit from expert guidance and support.
Second, what resources and training will be needed? Adding advanced offerings such as blockchain and VR into their portfolios will require more changes than more complementary technologies like IoT and drones. The number of resources required to integrate these new technologies into an IT services portfolio may vary but these latest offerings tend to add a few wrinkles into the equation.
For example, AI is more like a feature that manufacturers build into their products, solutions, and websites. Since the technology is not a standalone, IT services professionals may be more involved with sales and consultation than with direct its implementation and support. Providers can help their clients in a number of ways, from developing roadmaps and procuring AI-enabled technologies to delivering training and educational support services.
Focus on the Future
Another reason for channel firms to adopt more leading-edge technologies is to keep pace with the innovation cycle. The IT advances of the past two decades may pale in comparison to the developments to come in the next five years using AI, VR, and 5G capabilities.
Today’s technologies will inevitably make way for more innovative alternatives and IT services pros must become more knowledgeable and proficient in those areas if they wish to survive. Providers may also profit from developing intellectual property, including custom coding to build new solutions based on these emerging tech options (CompTIA continues to examine that scenario).
2019 should be an exciting time in the channel. Based on the latest research, these advanced technologies should help providers and their clients forge new revenue and business opportunities in the months and years ahead.