NEWS: Global Mentoring Solutions is now part of the Sherweb family. Click here to read more about the acquisition.

How is technology going to affect business in 2012?  How about the overall effect in the consumer space?  How is IT going to shape the way people do business, communicate and entertain themselves in the upcoming year?

Every year my team at Ulistic challenges our clients to come up with their visions of 2012 and the impact IT will have on the day-to-day lives of the people they serve.  It is a great exercise in being a visionary, something new for many leaders in the MSP community.

What are the top trends many of the CEOs see happening this year?

Mobility – Mobility cracked the top of the list of every CEO Ulistic coaches.  People are becoming increasingly mobile. As a result, the challenges involved with how organizations secure mobile devices or simply control the onslaught of people wanting personal mobile devices to be part of the corporate network also increase.  Ulistic clients understand the importance mobile solutions play in today’s business world, but how do we keep personal information personal while carving out the business data stored on our devices?  It will be interesting to see how mobility and mobile solutions evolve this year.

Cloud – No discussion of the future would be complete without a frank conversation about the role cloud services will play this year.  The cloud will continue to advance with alarming velocity, which is a great thing for those who are “all in” with cloud solutions.  Many are making serious revenues by helping businesses understand applications in the cloud.  But still many others are nervous and fear that the cloud will chip away at their profitability.   Start exploring new revenue streams now.

Security – Talk about the wild frontier.  As more and more solutions transition away from on-premise solutions, the need for the right security advice increases. Leading IT service firms are making the move towards becoming security consultants.  We have the perfect storm brewing for a major security breach that will trickle down to the small-business marketplace.  If you don’t have a security practice in place today, you need to partner with an MSP security expert.

Verticals – Not a technology per se, but important to focus on.  MSPs absolutely must go vertical in 2012 if they want to survive long term.  Gone are the days of the general running a highly successful business.  It is imperative that IT service firms become the trusted technology partners of specific industries and understand the line of business applications used, the process and workflow and how firms do business.  Vertical focus is crucial this year.

2012 will prove to be a great year if we understand the trends that will affect how we do business.  Are you excited about or fearful of what will happen this year?

Don’t forget that customer service is essential.  Make sure you have the resources available to meet the demands of your client base.  Having a strategic MSP help desk partnership will give you that competitive leg up on your competition.