As everyone begins to lament the rapid passing of yet another year, business owners’ thoughts inevitably turn to times ahead.
The final months of 2012 have been eventful for those in the world of IT. Microsoft has released the most radical version of Windows in many years, and Apple’s announcement of new products has continued at an unprecedented pace. This article predicts five ways in which the IT world may become a little different as we head into 2013.
Windows XP has become the stalwart desktop operating system for many businesses. Vista’s bad press discouraged many companies from upgrading and many have taken an “if it ain’t broke” approach and ignored Windows 7 as well.
Companies that have delayed upgrades will have to get with the times in 2013. Windows XP’s extended support lifecycle comes to an end in 2014, so IT consultants are likely to be in demand for operating system migrations. Whether these are to Windows 7 or to Windows 8 remains to be seen.
As with Windows XP, Microsoft’s Small Business Server 2003 is reaching the end of its practical life. As an extra fly in the ointment, Microsoft has announced that it plans to discontinue the SBS product range.
Businesses who have grown fond of SBS will have to quickly jump to SBS 2011 next year, migrate to the cloud, or get used to the cost and complication of running separate Windows and Exchange servers. MSPs should prepare for plenty of questions about this dilemma.
Apple’s release of the inexpensive iPad Mini is sure to result in plenty of the devices turning up in Christmas stockings. Many of them will find their way into offices in the new year, and businesses will need to decide how to properly deal with safely connecting them to company networks. Firms who haven’t yet got around to thinking about BYOD may have to make it a priority.
There’s no reason to suspect that many SME’s moves towards cloud-based services will slow down. People are coming to expect the ability to access information from anywhere, and from a range of devices. MSPs need to be ready with ideas and profitable services, or risk losing clients to those who have them.
Apple has made a stand by removing optical drives from its new computer ranges. With vast numbers of people now downloading and streaming all of their entertainment media, and both Windows 8 and OS X having their own online application ecosystems, it’s likely that Windows laptop manufacturers will also begin to turn their back on the optical drive. It’s time for everyone to import the last of their music collection!
The good news is that, as ever, businesses will need help with the ever-constant changes in the world of IT – and, as ever, they will need to pay people to provide it.