Five IT Trends to Watch in 2014

Scott Calonico

2014As 2013 begins to draw to a close, it’s time to look to the year ahead and think about the challenges and opportunities that are just around the corner.

There is no shortage of online features discussing IT trends for 2014, but in this article we focus on some topics that could prove particularly relevant for MSP businesses.

Yes, there’s also plenty to talk about regarding topics such as the rise of 3D printing and the “Internet of Things,” but the issues here are those that MSPs could really profit from over the coming months.  

Many companies will want to update their Web presence

Over the past year, the appearance of many websites have truly started to change to reflect the fact that many individuals are as likely to browse the Web from a mobile device as a traditional PC.

As a result, plenty of well-designed business websites have begun to look distinctly “old school” and outdated. Nowadays, for a website to be effective, it needs to be responsive so it displays as well on an iPad as it does on a computer screen. People expect slider interfaces and high-res “retina ready” images.

Maybe your MSP business doesn’t provide Web design services at the moment? If this is the case, perhaps it’s time to add such services to your portfolio?

Creating impressive sites is now surprisingly easy thanks to responsive themes for CMS systems such as WordPress. A little time spent learning the ropes could provide you with a great income stream in 2014 – and if your own MSP site is starting to look dated, bringing your online presence up to speed could prove the perfect first project!

There will be money to be made from encryption

Online privacy and security stories are still at the top of all the news websites, so MSPs can reasonably expect their clients to want to take steps to protect their businesses.

In order to respond to this trend, think about encryption-related services you can offer your clients. If you still have customers who allow their staff to travel the world with unencrypted laptops, now’s the time to sell encryption solutions.

BYOD may face a backlash

BYOD (Bring Your Own Device) has had some bad press in recent weeks. Issues relating to things like cloudeDiscovery and employee privacy have led some companies to get itchy feet about their BYOD policies.

This represents one of two opportunities for your MSP business: You may find chances to make revenue by tightening up on client BYOD policies and Mobile Device Management solutions.

Alternatively, you could witness clients deciding to do away with BYOD altogether - instead bringing back their own fleets of company mobile devices. Either way you should find some revenue somewhere!

Cloud vs. On-Premise dilemmas will continue

There are still plenty of SMEs operating with aging Microsoft SBS systems. Cost cutting due to the economic crisis, and the stress of major infrastructural change has led many customers to bury their heads in the sand and delay decision-making.

2014 should see an end to this. Many countries are showing the “green shoots” of recovery, and creaking equipment (often out of warranty) will force customers to make the big decisions they’ve been avoiding. You just need to make sure you’re there with some well-considered options.

There will be a rush to replace XP

Formal support for Microsoft Windows XP ends on April 8th 2014, yet plenty of businesses are hanging on to the bitter end. Bad press around Windows 8 has played a part in this.

However, as 2014 begins, time starts to run out. If you’re an MSP that wants some easy money, you should focus on identifying these XP sites and winning the migration projects.