The Year in The Channel: Recap of 2016

As one of the strongest master agents, we’re always racking our brains on what the next big thing in telecom and IT will be. At the start of the year, we made a few predictions on key trends that would shape the channel in 2016, and with the new year right around the corner, we’ve decided to look back at our forecasts to see exactly how accurate we were. 

lock.png Prediction: Security Reigns
Like many other experts, we predicted that security would continue building on the momentum it gained in 2015. Specifically, we stated that the number of attacks on employee-owned devices would rise with the growth of the remote working trend.

Result: Partially Correct
It turns out we were correct in predicting that security would become an even hotter topic. However, we were slightly off in saying that the number of attacks on employee-owned devices would rise. It turns out these incidents didn’t increase significantly. What we really saw, especially in the past few months, is a surge of security concerns in the IoT space.

In 2016, various attacks were launched from compromised devices dispersed across the public internet. A few examples that come to mind are the attack on security expert Brian Krebs’ website and the massive assault on Dyn, the DNS provider for Netflix, Amazon, Twitter, Reddit, and more. So while we were correct that security would reign, we were slightly off on our reasoning for why.

cloud-300x300.png Prediction: Cloud is the New Normal
Coming into 2016, there was a lot of hype around cloud, with many businesses embracing it or stating they were going to make a migration. IDC forecasted that more than 50 percent of enterprise IT organizations building hybrid environments would purchase new or updated cloud management solutions, while Gartner reported that half of CIOs and IT leaders saved money through implementation of SaaS apps in 2015. All of this combined led us to believe that cloud would widely adopted enough to be considered the new norm.

Result: Incorrect
Although industry marketing would have you think that cloud is the new norm, we still have some ways to go before that statement is wholly true. While cloud may be widely adopted by larger enterprises, with Fortune 500 companies like American Airlines, Netflix, and GE making migrations this year, many SMBs are still keeping proprietary apps and SQL on premise. In fact, Morgan Stanley surveyed 100 CIOs and found that 53 percent do not use any public cloud infrastructure at all.

However, we did see a growing tide towards a widespread acceptance of the economies of scale that cloud computing presents. We also saw more willingness to place low-latency, high-security, and high-touch apps in cloud environments. As with any new technology, we expect adoption will trickle down from the large enterprise space and eventually become the norm for businesses of all sizes; it just didn’t happen this year.

voice-300x300.png Prediction: Unified Communications and Collaboration Thrive
Because of the increase in popularity of the work-from-anywhere business model and the incline in 24/7 engagement, we predicted that the unified communications and collaboration markets would thrive in 2016. We were seeing that traditional phone calls and email had given way to instant messaging, video chat, file sharing, contact centers, collaboration, and conferencing, so we naturally assumed that we would see more businesses adopt and implement unified communications and collaboration offerings.

Result: Correct
We were right on the money with this prediction. Like in consumer markets, we are seeing continuous growth in mobile in the B2B space. Today, people are living more mobile, and as a result, they are working more mobile as well. Because of this, businesses are looking for ways to accommodate employees and provide them with a way to be productive and communicate better when out of the office.

The easiest way for them to do so is through outsourced or cloud-based unified communications and collaboration offerings. With these solutions, a business doesn’t need to worry about figuring out how to integrate mobile operability into on-premise equipment, removing a huge strain from its IT staff. We believe that maturity, dependability, and ease of deployment were catalysts in the rise in adoption that we saw.

mobility-300x300.png Prediction: Mobility Wins Big
Strong wireless device sales in 2015 and the emergence of solutions like MDM and MEM led us to believe that mobility would continue to flourish in 2016. Additionally, a study from IDG Enterprise reinforced this belief by predicting that 70 percent of businesses will spend one-fifth of their IT budgets on mobility this year.

Result: Correct
Once again, we were correct with this prediction. We experienced a wide adoption of MDM and a great desire for companies to integrate mobility into their IT stacks. As a result, we saw more businesses allocate their budgets to make room for more mobile technologies.

We also witnessed an increase in mobility in the IoT space, especially in regards to fleet management. Although it isn’t a voice-enabled solution, it still uses a remote device that leverages cellular technology to transmit data information. Although this is something we didn’t predict, we feel it is worth noting because it could pick up momentum in 2017.

All in all, our predictions turned out to be fairly accurate. Looking ahead, it will be interesting to see how these trends develop over the next year. Be sure to check in next month as we will be breaking down our predictions for 2017.

To read the entire 2016 predictions article, click here.


About the Author
Adam Dawson is TBI’s Marketing Communications Manager. As the organization’s wordsmith, he is responsible for creating engaging content and carrying out internal and external communications programs. This includes circulating information to TBI’s agent partners, educating them on hot topics in the industry, and guiding them to the best provider products and solutions for their portfolios. You can reach Adam at adawson@tbicom.comor connect with him on LinkedIn.