As we continue to look at predictions for 2019, the EDGE360 editorial team reached out to David McGillivray, Founder and President of InterGrid and a regular contributor to EGDE360 on managed services and issues surrounding it. InterGrid offers the JetStream Private Label Managed Services program that enables value-added resellers (VARs) to provide managed services without the risk typically associated with building a practice from scratch. In his look back at 2018, McGillivray called it the year of “enlightenment” for VARs, and he predicts that in 2019, they will shift toward recurring revenue, as well as focus on AI and cybersecurity.

EDGE360: Is there anything you see on the horizon that may change how VARs approach or offer managed services? How is the enlightenment you saw in 2018 going to change VARs?

McGillivray: From enlightenment, they will be moving toward the reality of how a recurring revenue model will change cash flow. Everyone in the business of selling will be impacted by subscription services and will need to adjust their thinking about compensation as a result.

EDGE360: Are there any new technologies or updates to technology that VARs should watch for?

McGillivray: AI will continue to grow in 2019. AI will not only make many processes more efficient, but it also will affect staffing decisions and the amount of support needed. An example is that you used to need people to reset passwords, but that’s gone. AI can do that. Facial recognition software is a great example. AI also can help in some instances of remediation support, because it will be able to learn from human activity and fix problems based on what it has “learned.” There will be a trust curve on the human side, but that soon will be overcome.

EDGE360: What do you think will be the biggest growth area in managed services in 2019?

McGillivray: Security. Everyone needs to be prepared to continue to respond to the fact that more data is moving to the cloud and hackers are using more and more innovative techniques – including AI – to get to it. In addition, cybersecurity policy and remediation are going to continue to move downstream in the supply chain. It isn’t good enough that you have a solid security foundation, if your suppliers and vendors do not. Remember the Target hack of a few years ago? They got in through the HVAC system.

EDGE360: You called 2018 the year of enlightenment. What do you see for 2019?

McGillivray: It will be the year of adoption and transformation. Now that VARs are enlightened to the reality of a consumption generation and the resulting subscription model of services, they have to transform their companies from a product-centric focused to service-centric focused. And that includes every type of service. Today, you can put all of your collaboration solutions in the cloud. We will see more and more of that, from the high-level of managed services all the way down to an individual service offering.