Monday, August 25, 2014

The Future still is IT Services

Through the decades of change and innovation that have marked the history of information technology, one constant has remained, according to a 30-year veteran of the IT industry.
“Your future lies where it has always been,” Howard M. Cohen told attendees at the CompTIA IT Services and Support Community Monday at ChannelCon. “It’s your services. The opportunities have always been in the things that you can do for your customers.”
Cohen spoke to the IT services crowd on “Tomorrow’s Tech” and what it means for IT services businesses.
First and foremost, he said, is the customer.
“What customers want is business relevance; technology solutions that are relevant to making their business operate better,” Cohen said. “Business relevance comes in the form of intellectual property, your intellectual property. That’s your differentiator, that’s your expertise.”
Infrastructure sales, maintenance, break-fix services and desktop deployment no longer will generate sufficient income to sustain a business, according to Cohen.
But application development and management, process improvements, network and systems management and cloud integration are services that hold long-term, money-making potential.
“The reality is the cloud is nothing more than the same services we installed for customers individually, instead they’re now installed in a single data center,” said Cohen. “I can serve a lot of customers with one infrastructure.  Better service at a lower price is hard to compete with”
Cohen urged his audience to expand its vision of what IT services include, starting with the initial customer consultation. Just as accountants, doctors, lawyers and other professionals charge for every initial consultation so, too, should IT solution and service providers.
“You deserve to get paid for the knowledge you have and that you share with a customer,” Cohen advised.
Cohen also identified several other areas that IT service firms need to look at, including:
Mobility: “The device isn’t the story, it’s the data.” Personal data and corporate/business data are stored on the same device. There are business opportunities to help customers keep those two data categories separate.
Big data: More and more companies are leveraging big data to improve their business. Anywhere technology is being used is an opportunity for you.
Routing: By 2020, an estimated 50 billion devices will connect to the Internet. “Turn you skills in routing protocols to help your customers get more things on the Internet.”

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