There are probably a lot of people in IT who sometimes wish that they could peer deeply into a crystal ball and determine the future course of technological happenings and developments. There may not actually be any magical means of discovering what’s in store for IT down the road, but CompTIA ChannelCon is probably a good place to look for clues. This year’s theme: Connect to a smarter future.
Held once a year at the height of summer — last year’s event ran July 29-31 in Orlando, Fla. — ChannelCon brings together various businesses, organizations, thought leaders and IT pros to network, exchange ideas and discuss tech topics. This year, CompTIA ChannelCon is at Marriott’s Desert Ridge Resort & Spa in toasty Phoenix, Ariz, where the high temperature on Monday was a sizzling 106º F. That’s some hot, hot heat, but CertMag has been on the ground in Phoenix since the convention commenced on Monday morning, persevering in spite of the elements.
The CertMag team is enjoying the venue, with confirmed reports of “great service and amnities,” as well as “excellent food.” (See what you miss out on when you don’t go to IT conventions?) The real reason to attend is the IT engagement and feedback, of course, and the Desert Ridge exhibitor hall provided some early highlights on Monday night, with dozens of vendors on hand to demonstrate and discuss IT products and services.
Earlier in the day, CertMag began to lay some groundwork for our fall print issue (not to be confused with the summer issue that’s being sent out later this month) by attending the Cloud Community workshop. An on-the-spot poll of attendees revealed that the three hottest items requested by cloud services clients are hosted e-mail, hosted PBX (private phone and data transmission) and data storage/backup. On the other side of the coin, cloud service providers report that clients’ biggest cloud concerns are security, expense and reliability.
CompTIA execs Seth Robinson and Carolyn April shared some key findings from a recent cloud study. Among the revelations were that more than 90 percent of companies surveyed say they are involved in cloud computing at some level. With demand skyrocketing, it’s no wonder that tech firms are rushing to join the cloud services marketplace. Though nearly everyone has a piece of the action today, just 37 percent of firms surveyed were selling cloud solutions as recently as 2010.
The survey also identified a variety of challenges faced by cloud services providers, including the following: integration, learning curve, policy changes, workflow, defined ROI, vendor lock-in, and rising costs. Despite the myriad of problems, however, selling cloud services has the potential to deliver excellent profit margins, and 63 percent of those surveyed said they are “extremely positive” about the impact of cloud technology.
A panel discussion about the past, present and future of the cloud provided a forum for those present to share both successes and problems encountered, leading to a number of lively exchanges. The early verdict from CertMag (on ChannelCon, not on the cloud): It’s great to be here. And if we haven’t had a chance to shake your hand yet, there’s still time.