Updated: Top 100 Technology Predictions for 2014 Part I

The VAR Guy's top 100 technology predictions for 2014 (not really) covers cloud, big data, social and mobile technologies (sort of) and insider humor (absolutely). Here's part one and how to list your predictions, too.

The VAR Guy

December 24, 2013

18 Min Read
Updated: Top 100 Technology Predictions for 2014 Part I

The VAR Guy has a prediction: He’s about to get flooded with cloud, mobile, social and big data technology predictions for 2014 from hardware, software, cloud and distribution companies. It happens every year. So our resident blogger is getting ahead of the curve. Here are the Top 100 Technology Predictions for 2014 … including your opportunity to send in predictions that just may get published here.

1. New Microsoft CEO: Goodbye Steve Ballmer. The VAR Guy thinks you deserve far more credit (Windows Server, Exchange, SharePoint, Office 365, Azure) than blame (tablets, smartphones and Windows Vista). Now let’s say hello to Microsoft’s new CEO… Name To Be Determined.

2. Most Digital Baby: Jay and Michelle McBain will introduce the world to the most socially enabled baby — the day the child is born. The VAR Guy wonders how many FaceBook, LinkedIn, Google+, Gmail, ChannelEyes, ChannelCandy, Twitter, Pinterest, Skype, Yelp and Instagram accounts this wonder-kid already has…

3. New Juniper CEO: The search started in 2013. It will end during or before 2014. Best wishes to outgoing CEO Kevin Johnson. Hello to his successor… Name To Be Determined.

4. Leaving Las Vegas (Pretty Please?): At least 20 of the Top 100 Channel Partner Conferences for 2014 will be hosted in Las Vegas. Want to find The VAR Guy at one of those events? Head to the Mr. Mammas (during breakfast hours) just off the Vegas Strip. 

5. Windows 8.11 Will Change The World: You know that Windows 8.1 will ship in 2013. But don’t forget, Microsoft has a habit of scoring big with x.11 releases. Anybody else remember a huge hit called Windows 3.11

6. The VAR Guy’s Identity Will Be Revealed: Who shot J.R.? Who was Fake Steve? Who let the dogs out? Those questions seem infinitely small compared to this wonderous mystery: Who the heck is The VAR Guy? That mystery will be solved — until site owner Penton issues a gag order forcing our resident blogger to remain mum about his identity (it’s Paul Thurrott — just don’t share the secret).

7. Windows XP Will Finally Die: The funeral is April 8, 2014. Didn’t you get the invite?

8. How Does That Work?: The VAR Guy will reveal the secret business model that allows him to blog anonymously (and indefinitely) from the comfort of a Long Island Gold Coast mansion. (Perhaps he rents the guest quarters?)

9. Retro Gaming and The Apocalypse: MSP veteran Dave Sobel will, at some point, be locked in a man cave playing the Atari 2600 and other retro games. The VAR Guy may join him… only to discover Tigerpaw Software President James Foxall and European MSP Wizard Richard Tubb charting their own high scores. It’s a scene out of This Is the End. Sobel’s survival kit includes a Honda Generator with enough fuel to power a 19-inch tube TV plus associated gaming (Intellivision, Colecovision, Atari 2600 through 800XL, Commodore and TRS-80) until 2050.

10. Big 4 Becomes Big 5: In 2013, the Big 4 IT trends were Mobile, Social, Big Data and Cloud. In 2014, The Internet of Things (aka Machine to Machine computing) will join the party.

11. Software-Defined Everything: You’ve heard of software-defined Networking (SDN), software-defined storage (SDS), software-defined data center (SDDC, from VMware) and software-defined infrastructure (SDI, from Intel). Can we just jump to the finish line and call it SDE: Software-defined Everything?

12. The Social Bachelor: The VAR Guy, Spencer F. Katt and Robert X. Cringely will be invited to join an online dating show. Win a date with The Channel Maven? Not quite… she’s married… and she is busy building one of the IT channel’s most successful consulting companies.

13. All Covered Will Buy an MSP: This may be the safest, most reliable prediction on the list. Watch for deals involving health care and vertical market MSPs. President Todd Croteau will continue to defy skeptics while building one of the world’s most successful IT service providers.

14. Diving Back In: After swimming the English ChannelConnectWise CEO Arnie Bellini will swim the Panama Canal — opening the water locks using a Google Glass headset equipped with a PSA app tied to WiFi and cellular connections. Hey, did you notice Alex Rogers fishing along the canal’s edge?

15. Nice View: Speaking of Google Glass, Microsoft will launch a rival offering called Wearable Windows — but it won’t ship until 2018.

16. Sweet Arrival: Android 4.4 (KitKat) will arrive in time for Easter or Halloween 2014. 

17. Four’s Company: The TED and BoB conferences will merge, before rolling up with Carol & Alice to form the BoB & Carol & Ted & Alice conference series.

18. If A Tree Falls… : After Oracle CEO Larry Ellison skipped his OpenWorld 2013 keynote, BlackBerry CEO Thorsten Heins decides to skip the BlackBerry Jam 2014 conference in Europe. Nobody notices. Not even BlackBerry users within the U.S. government — which remains shut down. 

19. Apple iTV Finally Ships: The 120-inch hologram TV produces a rare image that allows Digital Natives to confirm a long-suspected truth: Han Shot First. (P.S. — Generation X knew it all along.)

20. Powerful Combo? The Electric Company and The Channel Company will merge, forming The Everything Company. The tagline: “We have all the power and no competition. Trust us.”

21. Cisco’s Next CEO?: John Chambers has confirmed a long-term plan to retire. Chuck Robbins has emerged as the leading candidate to succeed Chambers, The VAR Guy believes. The executive change isn’t really expected until a few years from now. But The VAR Guy couldn’t avoid the temptation to include Cisco’s CEO transition in this 2014 prediction list.

22. Great Minds..: The VAR Guy’s sales team — President Amy Katz, Eastern Sales Manager Debbie Kane, and Western Sales Manager Kelly Danziger — will emerge with a killer 2014 plan. It includes Starbucks gift cards to inspire The VAR Guy to blog even more.

23. Did I Do That?: After blaming IBM for the CTRL+ALT+DEL command, Bill Gates blames Apple and Google for Surface RT. His reasoning: “We were trying to blend a cheap Android approach with the expensive iPad experience.”

24. Readers Will Rule This Blog Entry: What are predictions 25 through 100? That’s for you to decide. Post a prediction in the comment section or send a prediction to site editor Joe Panettieri ([email protected]). Panettieri loves it when The VAR Guy directs a flood of email traffic his way.

And if your prediction is hot, unique, strange or just plan wacky… it could surface in this list.

Reader Submissions and The VAR Guy’s Reactions

25. Amazon Web Services Will Rule:  The consumerization driven by cloud and Internet of Things (IoT) will cause increased conflict — blurring the lines between enterprise, SMB and individual sales.Amazon will be a winner both on the cloud side as well as product distribution/resell. Submitted by: Community member Jay McBain, co-founder of ChannelEyes and ChannelCandy. The VAR Guy’s Spin: Agreed. Everyone seems to be chasing Amazon — including Wal-Mart, Best Buy, IBM, Microsoft, Rackspace… and the list goes on.

26. HP Will Continue To Flail: They will try to become a software company, like all hardware companies desire, to increase gross margins. They will make poor decisions, waste a bunch of money on software efforts, and leave their hardware business at risk in parallel. They feel the most exposed to me, of all the big guys out there. They own no strategic software, only nice-to-have software, and none of the people that own strategic software (OS, Virt, Database, Middleware, Hadoop, Cloud Infrastructure) will let them into their world. HP will need a new CEO to re-right the ship in a drastic fashion at some point in next 12-18 months. Submitted by: Community Member Bill Bickel. The VAR Guy’s Spin: Let’s give current CEO Meg Whitman a little credit, particularly when it comes to stabilizing HP and also rebuilding broken relationships with the channel. The VAR Guy’s biggest question involves Bickel’s point about intellectual property. What will ultimately make HP unique and compelling in 2014? Hmmm…

27. Cloud Noise Shifts to Customer Retention: For years, it’s been all about the cloud. But now that adoption of cloud services has reached a point of maturity, companies are quickly learning that it takes more than the “cloud” buzzword to differentiate their services. With subscription-based customers it’s easy come, easy go, and high churn rates are taking a big bite out of revenue. Companies that truly understand their customers and proactively respond to their needs will be the companies that come out on top in the cloud heap. In 2014, we expect “Customer Success” to become the new buzzword as companies shift focus toward customer retention, which is becoming equally as important as customer acquisition efforts. Submitted by: Anthony Kennada, head of marketing, Gainsight. The VAR Guy’s Spin: Customer retention in the cloud is a longstanding theme for top companies like Rackspace and Salesforce.com. Plus, MSPs live and die based on their retention numbers. But certainly, more VARs can benefit from this focus area.

28. Technology, Not T&A: Vendors will stop using “booth bunnies” at their shows. Or peers will stop sponsoring token “women in the channel” luncheons. Also, who wants to buy three unopened copies of “Lean In?” Submitted by: Carrie Simpson, director of business development, The Eureka Project. The VAR Guy’s Spin: Agreed, it’s time to lean out here.

29. In-Memory Database Adoption Will Accelerate: While the concept of in-memory analytics and processing is not new, I expect that in 2014, the emergence of in-memory products from the dominant database vendors will draw new attention to the technology, particularly for processing data from giant Big Data stores. In order to have successful deployments, there are two key issues for companies to solve: First, how to meet the potential need for data persistence. Second, how to match the analytics solution to the business performance need. Submitted by: Evaldo Horn de Oliveira of FairCom. The VAR Guy’s Spin: File this one away (in memory) as on the mark.

30. VARs Meet Recurring Revenues: I believe that the role of VARs in the technology space is fundamentally changing. What is reselling in the cloud and services space?  Its not just selling. I predict that a set of Resellers and Vendors will embrace the VAR as a true sales and marketing organization and incentivize them appropriately base on the work they do. This approach will shake up a number of vendors as they like to pay only for bookings but in the recurring revenue world, vendors will have to move to pay for behavior not just bookings. This will really test the term “partnership.” Submitted by: Daniel Hawtof, VP of business solutions, global channels, Parago. The VAR Guy’s Spin: Some really big VARs has already launched recurring revenue strategies. Presidio comes to mind. Hawtof is correct. The trend has to accelerate.

31. Analysts’ Lives Get More Complex; But Also Easier: The “Modern Analyst” will reign in 2014. The life of a business analyst will get more complex as they are asked to incorporate more technologies, such as Hadoop, into their analysis. However, their roles will also get easier as the tools they use everyday evolve away from Excel to tools that are purpose-built for the business analyst. Submitted by: Paul Ross, VP, Alteryx.

32. Successful VARs Will Get More Selective: Solution providers that focus on a select few vendors will find that they can drive greater growth in 2014. Example: I am sure Mr. Mammas has thought about expanding into doing dinners, especially during tough economic times, but instead they stay focused on breakfast and they deliver the best food and experience possible, creating fans all the way out on Long Island. Solution Providers who learn from Mr. Mammas will out grow their unfocused peers in 2014. Submitted by: Lang Tibbils, senior director, channels marketing, McAfee. The VAR Guy’s Spin: It’s hard to argue with all of that food for thought.

33. Public Cloud Providers, Especially Amazon, Will Get Serious About Providing Private Cloud Solutions For The Enterprise: This will be for security reasons as well as other compliance factors. As service providers rollout competitive pricing options, more organizations will adopt an off premise cloud model. In the same way VMware has deployed their vCloud Hybrid Service so their private cloud customers have a migration path to public, those providers who originated in the public space will create a similar bridge to Private environments. Submitted By: RiverMeadow President and CEO Mark Shirman. The VAR Guy’s Spin: The VAR Guy thinks Private Cloud is somewhat over-hyped but he’ll be watching…
34. OpenStack Becomes Commercially Viable: Many organizations and vendors are already rolling out OpenStack solutions as an alternative to vCloud and CloudStack to provide public clouds, support, training and system integration services and hardware and software products. Based on what we¹ve seen over the years, the industry loves technology based on standards, and OpenStack is looking to be that solution. Major brands, such as HP and Cisco, are introducing significant offerings in this space and I expect to see adoption expand even further in 2014. Submitted By: RiverMeadow President and CEO Mark Shirman. The VAR Guy’s Spin: Keep an eye on Mirantis — the OpenStack training company.
35. Cloud Won¹t Be Just For Development And Test Servers Anymore: Migrating to or between cloud environments presents a number of IT issues, but the problems are compounded by having data stored and managed remotely, by external organizations and, in many cases, in multiple locations. As people become more comfortable with the tools and architecture they will begin to migrate existing workloads into the cloud, including public, private and hybrid environments. Submitted By: RiverMeadow President and CEO Mark Shirman. The VAR Guy’s Spin: This prediction is already true today.

36. Technology Refresh Will Focus On Business Outcomes: HDS believes IT managers will be driven to shift their focus from building and maintaining legacy infrastructure to delivering an outcome to the business processes of their enterprise. For IT vendors this means selling solutions rather than selling technology, which requires an understanding of the whole solution stack, not just the storage, server, or networking technology. Submitted by: HDS CTO Hu Yoshida. The VAR Guy’s Spin: A growing portion of “technology refresh” will simply involve on-premises workloads shifting to the cloud.
37. Explosion Of Enterprise Flash: Flash will be integral for large customers that need to process large amounts of data with greater speed. Current solutions range from startup offerings built from the ground-up, to legacy solutions that are simply new functionalities bolted onto aged architectures; but customers will seek the best of both worlds ­ purpose-built flash technology that delivers significantly superior performance along with the best services and support to meet enterprise needs. Submitted by: HDS CTO Hu Yoshida. The VAR Guy’s Spin: News Flash: This is already a trend that’s going mainstream.
38. Private Cloud Puts Everyone At Ease: Private cloud will become a key strategy for companies that want to benefit from reduced costs, security and speed. Vendors will have to respond with a new kind of agility that is not usually expected from enterprise IT. HDS believes that a new private cloud enablement methodology is necessary to build a foundation for service-based delivery; however, at the same time vendors will have to embrace infrastructure agnosticism, openness and innovation. Submitted by: HDS CTO Hu Yoshida. The VAR Guy’s Spin: Again, The VAR Guy is a bit cool on private cloud but hot on public cloud. Still, our resident blogger’s temperature can change from day to day.
39. Object Storage Casts a Light on Big Dark Data: For years, companies have been collecting a trove of unstructured data that isn¹t as neatly stored and analyzed as traditional financial and process data is. This “dark data” is extremely difficult to analyze, and useful insights within have yet to be revealed. IDC, estimates that 20% of it already holds important conclusions, though only half a percent of dark data has been analyzed. In 2014, we can expect a wave of products and services that transform business and society. Submitted by: HDS CTO Hu Yoshida. The VAR Guy’s Spin: From darkness comes the light — as in business intelligence.
40. Software Defined Everything: Vendors will beat this term to death because they are all trying to defend their turf while growing via adjacent markets. The catch is whether vendors will be able to support standards that in practice will take their core businesses away. Submitted by: HDS CTO Hu Yoshida. The VAR Guy’s Spin: You’re spot-on. See Trend #11 far above.

41. Enterprise CIOs will run to an Open Compute architecture to define the emerging Enterprise Cloud: To change the economics of compute in 2014, the CIO will work to mirror the open design standards championed by Facebook and others. CIOs are under increased pressure from the CEO and CFO to reduce the cost of compute. To realize the cost advantages of an Open Compute architecture while meeting the stringent security and regulatory requirements of the enterprise, the CIO will look to third-party data center providers to securely rollout an Open Compute architecture. This will allow the CIO to outsource infrastructure investments but still reap the financial benefits of an open reference architecture in 2014. This new way to deploy compute is a quantum shift, the old way is dead. Submitted by: Troy Rutman, director of corporate communications, IO. The VAR Guy’s Spin: That’s a long way of saying customers increasingly demand open solutions. Darn right.
42. Data Sovereignty will be a monster issue: Information that has been converted and stored in digital form is subject to the laws of the country in which it is located. The widespread adoption of cloud computing services, as well as object storage, have broken down traditional geopolitical barriers. In response, many countries have regulated new compliance requirements and legislation that requires customer data to be kept within the customer¹s country of residence. CIOs will want to see and control their data, down to the rack-level. Most public cloud deployments don’t offer their end-user visibility into where their data resides. In 2014, enterprise CIOs will look at providers who offer visibility and controls that enable policy-based compliance with respect to domain. Whether it’s corporate security standards or driving compute efficiency, the CIO will be expected to know where data resides and where specific applications are running at all times. Submitted by: Troy Rutman, director of corporate communications, IO. The VAR Guy’s Spin: This trend is in full-swing. Just don’t ask where The VAR Guy’s website is hosted; he forgets.

43. A Mounting Skills Crisis: While organizations were quick to adopt and invest in social, mobile and cloud technologies, the unprecedented rise of these technologies unleashed tremendous disruption in the enterprise. However, to truly unleash the business benefits promised by these powerful assets, a dramatic shift in the culture and skills base within the enterprise is required. Submitted By: CA Technologies. The VAR Guy’s Spin: Crisis equals opportunity for VARs that specialize in social, mobile and cloud.
44. IT Gains an “APPetite” and Fuels the API Economy: Widespread adoption of cloud computing, mobility and other technical advances have driven fundamental changes in how applications are created and deployed. Submitted By: CA Technologies. The VAR Guy’s Spin: Just because you’re hungry for something that doesn’t mean you understand how to consume it…
45. Rise of Experience-Centric Everything: Both customers and employees are embracing disruptive technologies faster than businesses. Organizations today are no longer in control of their brands. Submitted By: CA Technologies. The VAR Guy’s Spin: For VARs and MSPs, it’s all about delivering end-user experience.
46. Demand for Accelerated Delivery: We now have a new generation of self-informed consumers who are very comfortable sharing experiences and information via social media. Consumer and employee demand for more engaging experiences will continue to increase at a dramatic pace as they become more comfortable with experience-driven, multi-channel applications and technologies such as sensing. Barriers to entry have been removed‹; competition has gone from nowhere to everywhere overnight. Submitted By; CA Technologies. The VAR Guy’s Spin: Accelerated delivery? You can’t get much faster than self-service cloud done right.
47. Security Tops the IT and Business Agenda: Mobility, social, DevOps and cloud adoption have effectively opened the enterprise and invited new business risk into today¹s workplace. The rapidly expanding and collaborative open enterprise diminishes IT control and requires the CIO and CSO to find the delicate balance of enabling and protecting the business. Submitted By; CA Technologies. The VAR Guy’s Spin: Anybody got an answer for the NSA yet?

48. Providers will need a marquee customer or application that’s being
served in the cloud. Submitted By: Bluelock CTO Pat O’Day. The VAR Guy’s Spin: Case studies always win new customers…

49. Disaster Recovery will be the new Œnormal for single datacenter users. Submitted By; Bluelock CTO Pat O’Day. The VAR Guy’s Spin: DR is the killer (actually, Life Giver) application for VARs and MSPs even before 2014 starts.

50. Cloud consolidation arrives. Submitted by: Bluelock CTO Pat O’Day. The VAR Guy’s Spin: It’s already happening — IBM acquired SoftLayer; CenturyLink Savvis acquired Tier 3, and the list goes on.

That’s part one of The VAR Guy’s Top 100 Technology Predictions for 2014. Stay tuned for Part 2 of the list soon.

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