You have to stand tall to stand out in the Big Apple. It’s as true on Broadway as it is on Wall Street, Madison Avenue or on 7th Avenue in the heart of the garment district where a brash managed services provider has been turning heads since 2002.
The company is Valiant, which provides help desk, IT consulting, cloud integration, network connectivity and managed services on a variety of hardware and software platforms for clients ranging from fashion designer Phillip Lim to architectural design specialist Focus Lighting.
Thomas Clancy is the president and guiding light of Valiant. His professional goal: provide top quality services to customers and help them make more money. On his LinkedIn profile, he says, “You can revolutionize your industry, if only you have the tools and the vision to do so.”
A visionary himself, Clancy has penned three books on the industry. He likes to joke that he wrote the books so that he could say, “Yes, I am the author Tom Clancy.” That said, he takes thought leadership seriously. So each December, he considers what will be the hot trends in the year ahead. As 2015 draws to a close, I’ve asked him to look ahead to 2016 and also review the predictions he made in a hilarious blog published in December 2014. In that 2015 outlook, he shares thoughts on big data, Amazon Web Services, enterprise mobile apps, security and more.
So in his own words, he’s what Clancy said one year ago on these and other topics and where he stands today. In addition, check out his predictions on what we will be talking about in 2016.
On Big Data:
December 2014: Duh and F% yeah! With social media datasets getting bigger by the second, the tracking, the psychometric profiles are becoming so complete (but so overwhelmingly complex) in scope, the magic weapon will be parsing this big data into useful data.
December 2015: Still trending to be a huge spending hole for businesses, with the majority of the money headed to the pockets of consultants that can make SENSE of the data sets. Its one thing to have every tweet ever, its another thing to make a sensible interpretation. Consultants rule here.
On challenging Amazon for cloud supremacy:
2014: Waste of money. Amazon has a challenger, and it’s called Microsoft Azure. This is a two-dog race. Anyone else is a tax write off.
2015: They keep coming, from ProfitBricks to CenturyLink, but at this point Amazon is 10 times the size of its completion. The big surprise is how smart Microsoft has been with Azure, offering secret sauce that no one, not even Amazon, can compete with. This includes Active Directory integration, super-slick integration with Office 365 and more.
On Enterprise Mobile Apps:
2014: We suppose? We’d rather write mobile-aware websites and avoid the ever deepening divide between Android and Apple. Just embrace HTML 5 and avoid the war already.
2015: People keep building them, heaven knows why. The app jungle is so dense and largely unprofitable for most, we stand by our statement that a responsive and mobile savvy website and intranet makes a hell of a lot more sense than a walled-garden app that will take thousands of hours and tens of thousands of dollars to make.
2014: FOR SURE, but only if we can inspire people to believe that it will make a difference (which we don’t know is possible), because most of what we’re hearing is pretty defeatist. With the NSA saying that Apple is putting children’s blood on its hands by encrypting phones by default, that sounds like big brother doesn’t really want you that secure.
2015: Syria, Paris, San Bernadino. The war to backdoor everything continues. The politicians with their dim understanding of tech and deep understanding of public fear manipulation continue to poke holes in our privacy. The Paris attackers used plain text on public apps (Snap Chat, etc.) to communicate. No encryption breaking needed, they need BIG DATA analysis! The big development in security for the tech channel is Dell committing hard to a Hardware-as-a-Service (HaaS) model for SonicWALL firewalls. Once the big ticket item of the network closet, these metaphorical castle walls and alligator-stocked moats are available on a subscription basis, allowing small companies to right-size their security without writing a fat check.
On Docker and “Container” Tech:
2014: Very sexy. We didn’t really know about this one, and we are now headed down a rabbit hole…
2015: This is becoming the standard build style for all next-gen sites and apps. Didn’t take long for the geek community to fall in love with repeatable, sandboxed environmental variables.
On the Sharing Economy:
2014: This is the most important [trend], and will be the most disruptive. From sharing your house (AirBnB) to your car (Uber) to your skills (Fiverr) to your time (Mechanical Turk), this is the communist revolution all over again, in a way. The people really CAN share what they buy, or they don’t actually own it. Sorry capitalists, you cannot have it both ways.
2015: AirBNB and Uber both continue to grow like wildfire, all the while fighting (and frequently LOSING) legal battles. But the writing remains on the wall, and I firmly believe that the setbacks in various cities around the world are merely the death rattles of ancient outmoded industries. Hey, think about this, Self-Driving-Cars (and/or Ubers) are going to put a huge dent in the small road-side hotel economy! Why get a hotel when you can just sit in an Uber car and sleep/hang-out/watch-movies while you drive to Florida?
2014: Ugh. We will find you, and we will kill you, if you blink sh&* on our phones.
2015: Thankfully this sucker is dying. No one wants that crap.
As for 2016 Spending Predictions, Clancy had similarly interesting insights:
I think the battle for security will continue in the political arena, but every legal attempt at making us insecure won’t really matter for two reasons. First, because there will always be ways to secure your environment if you’d take the time to look. Second because almost every major manufacturer already HAS backdoors that have been given to the government, and as they become exposed, our security essentially becomes non-existent because now bad guys can exploit those backdoors. The sad truth is, the “bad guys” in question are not Islamic terrorists. Those dudes live in caves and are driving Toyota pick up trucks with RPGs on them. Not exactly hacker elites. No, the bad guys that are going to take advantage of our compromised security are the organized criminals in Russia and China. They want your credit card data and to drain your bank account. They aren’t trying to sink a ship or blow up a plane. They just want the cash. and they will get it. Thanks Obama (and Boehner, Trump, et al.)
On self-driving transportation and the disruption it will cause:
The No. 1, most common job in many states in the U.S. is “truck driver.” Freightliner just went live with self driving trucks. Do the math. Unemployment will be on the rise, and fast. I don’t envy the next President, as he or she will catch this collapse at the end of the first term.
On Apple’s potential fall from grace:
Will the world wake up and realize that Apple has blown it about four times in the past year? From the pathetic, overpriced “MacBook” to the flop of the Music subscription service to the bizarre Beats headphones purchase to the rumored new iPhone with no headphone jack, which means you’ll have to buy Beats headphones, perhaps?!? There is nothing new at the core of the Apple. It’s all bread and circuses. Go short on that stock.
On Dell’s acquisition of EMC:
Maybe big storage isn’t dead? Maybe the problem was Storage by itself isn’t a good buy. You need an integrated player that is not as labyrinthine as IBM and/or HP have become? If Dell can keep the stack intelligible, the EMC acquisition could re-ignite the big storage world.
If Clancy is right, then 2016 should be a very interesting year indeed.
I, for one, am betting it will be.