Finding the next big thing for a Microsoft Partner!
What do you think will be the next big thing for a Microsoft Partner to bet on?
Personally I see that AI, Artificial Intelligency, will be a very important component and it spans over so many areas - one area is that Chat-Robots (Chatbots) will revolutionize call centers and there is an early mover advantage for partners here. I also see that focusing on a vertical like Healthcare makes sense as we will see huge investments in IT spend in that sector.
I also think that SIs should try to become ISVs - one area that has always been successful for ISVs is to add value to Microsoft's products and in today's world it means adding functionality to Microsoft's different cloud services like Microsoft/Office 365, Dynamics CRM, Azure etc. When adding value to Microsoft's services you will need to sell in the same fashion as people buy Microsoft's services.
Everything that takes out manhours from a process and adds higher quality, a lower (and predictable) cost will be winning areas.
For hosters it's important to understand that their world is changing rapidly and they need to act rapidly and find new ways to be successful - I wrote an article recently in Redmond Channel Partner Magazine - https://rcpmag.com/articles/2017/07/01/hostingconfidential.aspx
Cybersecurity is a very hot sector with lots of growth and here there are multiple opportunities like selling hours in different ways, selling software as an ISV and selling managed services as a MSP. If I would pick only one area today, then I think that selling managed services in cybersecurity with a strong AI twist is very high on my list.
Now, tell me yours?
For us, we plan to bet on the IoT marketplace. Not only has the IoT market been growing rapidly, but the idea of "Smart Cities" is beginning to gain traction, starting first at the transportation industry and then growing to encompass everything from farming to security. All of these devices require (and will continue to require) an analytics platform to process and sort data--perfect for Azure!
AI and Machine Learning do combine well with IoT, even for simple solutions--such as smart lighting. Several case studies on the example can be found here: https://www.onvia.com/company/blog/smart-lighting-for-safer-streets-cities-go-high-tech-illumination
I recently wrote this piece for The Register on chatbots. I'd love to see more case studies of how they are providing value, instead of just the theory that they are great. I'd also like to see more real examples of how Enterprise & SMB IT depts & Partners are using them, instead of the predominant retail industry. Remember, this is The Register so there is an element of criticism in there: https://www.theregister.co.uk/2017/09/21/the_bots_breaking_business/
Last week I spoke to a group of MSPs about moving to high level advisory services. The 'trusted advisor' term is so 2015. MSPs need to broaden their reach and consult with a "whole of business" approach, to be seen as comparable to a CIO (where their customers don't have this role covered in-house). It's a challenging move but a big differentiator, to be seen as a 'board member' solving business problems and enabling the business to grow, instead of just being seen for "IT advice".
Great feedback! Well written!
Super important to get out of the IT box and take a "whole of business" approach! This also supports my thinking that Microsoft Partners need to hire people that knows their customers' businesses (i.e. vertical knowledge) and are able to give high level advice!