CompTIA senior vice-president for research and market intelligence, Tim Herbert, says that with the groundwork of cloud, mobility, data and connectivity laid, the year ahead will see “evolutionary advances on many fronts”.
According to Herbert, digital business transformation remains a driving force for small and large enterprises alike.
“Organisations will have the opportunity to explore advances in virtual reality, artificial intelligence, advanced analytics, the Internet of Things, and inevitably, a few unexpected breakthroughs.”
CompTIA reports that its IT Industry Business Confidence Index for Q1 2017 — based on IT executives’ opinions of the US economy, the IT industry as a whole and their own company — reached a high, registering at 68.2 on a 100-point scale.
“There is always some measure of optimism at the start of a new year, but industry executives’ positive sentiments are buoyed by an economy on generally solid footing and by customers’ continued interest in technology solutions that can help them innovate and grow,” Herbert said.
CompTIA has identified 12 trends in technology, workforce and the IT channel that it says are likely to impact the industry in 2017:
• The tools of the cloud era emerge – New elements built from a cloud mindset will play larger roles, challenging users to integrate the pieces into a comprehensive digital strategy.
• Security gets worse before it gets better – Many firms remain unprepared for a cyberattack even in the midst of a flood of headline-making security breaches.
• Data teams bridge the gap between IT and business – Data specialists will move from backstage to centre stage to harness the power of organisational data.
• The Internet of Things (IoT) transforms physical environments and social conventions – The IoT will be a major disruptor as more physical objects gain intelligence and connectivity.
• New faces in the channel test traditional go-to market approaches – The line-up of sources for technology solutions is expanding as non-traditional entities get into the business.
• Mandate coming to retool partner programs – What was once valued – sales spiffs, discounts and rebates – are no longer as relevant in today’s services-based market.
• An ageing channel community hastens need to find new blood – An estimated 40 per cent of the channel universe expects to retire over the next decade.
• Opportunity spikes in cloud management arena – The number of cloud companies and services continues to proliferate, giving customers more options and creating more opportunities for channel partners.
• Workers push the boundaries of "Bring Your Own Collaboration" – It’s a balancing act for employers: the benefits of greater productivity and employee satisfaction versus security risks.
• The blended workforce takes on new meaning – “Match-making” employment platforms create new options for employers, full-time, temporary and contract workers.
• Debate intensifies over technology’s impact on employment – New questions arise over the use of artificial intelligence, virtual assistants and other knowledge-based systems.
• Skills gap grows in scope and nuance, forcing organisations to rethink workforce strategies – All signs point to a widening skills gap in many areas. But many employers still lag in hiring and professional development best practices.