As 2012 comes to a close, we see many in the industry pause to reflect on the year completed and begin to evaluate where they see the market heading in the upcoming months. One key observation that I’ve personally noticed is the increasing rise of complexity, specifically for integration systems and the resulting data management challenges. The reality is that with the introduction of Cloud and SaaS applications, even classic B2B integration is more challenging than ever before. In the year ahead, I believe that managed services (including expert / knowledgeable people, proven processes and modern technology) will continue to play a critical role in helping companies thrive, as they begin peeling back the layers of complexity around cloud integration and data management initiatives that have been implemented over the past year or two.
Here are the four areas I believe that the Cloud will precipitate and managed services will focus on in 2013:
Services companies will win the race to the Cloud over their software brethren
In 2013 the technology industry will see companies begin to bridge old and new offerings through acquisitions and mergers. I believe that leading Cloud Integration Brokers, as well as service companies like IBM and Accenture, will win the race to the Cloud finish line. The increased pressure on companies to evolve will dramatically demonstrate the split between those who can and those who cannot embrace diverse and dynamic needs of Cloud business models.
Cloud adoption will drive a convergence across previously distinct integration solutions
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As companies continue to move to the Cloud, they will seek complete data integration solutions instead of distinguishing between various silos of integration “features” or “styles of integration” that exist today such as Application to Application (A2A), Business to Business (B2B), Managed File Transfer (MFT) and Business Process Management (BPM). This technology and service convergence will cause wide ripple effects, touching internal Centers of Excellence, the vendor landscape, and even sourcing/deployment strategies for IT. Most importantly, this shift in the integration market will lead to more comprehensive and “data aware” integration architectures within the next few years and forever change the way we think of integration and data management.
Managed services will remain the “secret ingredient” to success as integration complexity proliferates
With more regulations, security considerations, and increased diversification and federation of data, I expect to see growing awareness among companies of the importance of managed services. Technology alone is simply incapable of addressing the growing complexity companies are facing in this area. In 2013, I see more companies using a blended solution of technology, people, and processes from fewer strategic vendors – especially when it comes to the union of data integration and data management. To achieve this, companies will turn to expert integration and data management teams at trusted managed services providers to obtain the human touch and blend of processes and technology that they’ve been missing.
Vertical markets will turn to the private sector for data integration solutions that can scale
I predict that the market will see a surge in demand for proven (private sector) data integration networks. For example, as healthcare organizations and Government funded Health Information Exchanges (HIE’s) struggle to find a sustainable business model, we expect to see up to 90% of all Government funded HIE’s fail to reach sustainability by 2016. With little observable value to show from their initial grants, which in many cases were exhausted on implementation and maintenance of basic integration and data management infrastructure, surviving HIE’s will turn to established private sector data networks and even managed services to fulfill this need. Furthermore, I believe that vertical markets will seek an integration solution that liberates and empowers data to become actionable as organizations continue to shift their focus toward providing a unique value to their constituency with this data in the coming years.