TMCnet recently spoke to some of our favorite analysts about their thoughts on 2013 and the year ahead in tech. Here’s our interview with Mike Sapien, who is responsible for Ovum’s U.S. Enterprise Practice. Based in southern California, Sapien is focused on North American and global enterprise telecom markets including WAN, managed, and advanced voice, video and data services to address global MNC, large enterprise and SMB customers. His focus areas also include data center services, emerging cloud and hosted services, enterprise mobility services and related product development, market launch and channel programs of enterprise services. Sapien is a frequent speaker at Technology Marketing Corp. events, including M2M Evolution and SDN Precon.
Who is the most interesting person in tech this year, and why?
“Tim Cook – for many reasons including having to replace a legend at Apple. But [he was] able to create his own persona as well as manage Apple at a critical time. Plus he also was just promoted for the passage of a bill against workplace discrimination. [He has] just a wide range of interests and the impossible job of replacing a legend.”
What was the biggest tech failure in 2013?
“It has to be the Obamacare website, unfortunately. I would have said something like wireless access to legacy applications, but I think this website fiasco has to win it all.”
What were the three most important tech developments of 2013?
“Mobile everything: Mobility is one of the most important [trends] across the board – every application [is] going mobile, knowledge workers [are] becoming completely mobile, and mobile devices are taking up consumer and enterprise mindshare now.”
“Cloud of clouds: I see the connection of clouds proliferating in many dimensions – clouds connected to other clouds, clouds connected between private and public clouds, enterprise applications using multiple clouds within one application, cloud service marketplaces where applications will be [a] combination of cloud services and not one service cloud.
“Cloud-network integration: Cloud providers of all kinds will be connecting to each other, many networks and many different applications, but the difference here is the network and cloud will be integrated and controlled from one portal or vendor. Cloud providers will be integrating the required network, and telecom providers will be integrating the cloud services. SDN will be one of the catalysts or ingredients.”
What was 2013’s top startup?
“There are too many startups to pick one, but in general, I see the startups that are focused on cloud middleware as being hot startups now. Related to my cloud of clouds, companies are going to need help to orchestrate and managed the cloud of clouds environment.”
What was the most noteworthy acquisition of the year, and why?
“The one that comes to mind is the Verizon buyout of Vodafone. It was finally time for this relationship to change, and the alliance had outgrown its original intention and objectives. The two companies were both being hindered by this joint ownership, and now both companies can be free to go their own ways. I also think it was a true win for both companies. Joint ventures are always tricky and have a certain lifecyles, and this one has hit its end of life. When it was created, it was needed, and the relationship created one of the world's strongest wireless providers in the U.S. Most of these relationships don't succeed in any fashion and are usually unwound with both companies taking a huge write-off. Kudos to both sides on this great success that generates a new opportunity for both companies.”
Which companies are prime candidates for acquisition?
“Most prime candidates are operating in mobility and/or cloud or both. But I would highlight firms that are creating solutions around cloud/network integration and managing complex cloud environments, but also firms that are providing mobility support for any enterprise application and solutions that are increasing the management of mobility within the enterprise.”
Customer experience, the cloud, M2M/IoT, mobile wallet, wearable tech and WebRTC were hot topics of discussion in 2013. What do you expect to be the hot topics in 2014?
“The cloud and IoT will remain hot topics. 2014 is the year of WebRTC trials and scalable deployments, IoT in more enterprise applications and again the cloud of clouds environment.”
What are your top three 2014 predictions for our industry?
“My top three are:
1) Mobility will dominate enterprise IT solutions and decisions.
2) Most enterprise applications will have a 'cloud of clouds' architecture
3) The integration of cloud, network and IT will create many new alliances, increasing M&A activity and channels for services by all providers, which will lead to mass confusion by the IT decision makers.”
If there's just one thing related to tech that businesses need to know going into 2014, what is that one thing?
“It is still about solving a business problem that customers can easily understand and use; it is not about technology at all.”
Edited by Cassandra Tucker