Watch These Spaces

Heather Clancy

So, at the risk of upstaging our 20 To Watch outlook issue for Jan. 3, I wanted to share the five e-mail subject lines guaranteed to get my attention in the year ahead.

Subject line No. 1: "May we brief you on our global delivery capabilities?" This is the term I'll use right now instead of that galvanizing "offshore" adjective that seems to get everyone worked up in all the wrong ways. The fact is, the most cost-effective model for providing services in the future will involve some sort of component that lies outside the United States. You will limit yourself if you don't look abroad.

Subject line No. 2: "Solution provider XYZ to merge with VAR ABC." Vendor pacts like the IBM-Lenovo deal and the Symantec-Veritas merger may be stealing headlines now, but the channel itself is headed for major consolidation in the next 12 months as new national players emerge. At the very least, I anticipate the rise of more tight-knit services alliances such as the ones orchestrated by 1NService and Coast Solutions.

Subject line No. 3: "Who's watching you?" We know security is big. Now, solution providers must steep themselves in technologies related to "physical" security. You'll hear more about identity management, biometrics and corporate surveillance. And, by the way, this all needs to work together with existing cybersecurity policies.

Subject line No. 4: "FCC rewrites all telecommunications laws." The government is considering VoIP service implications and has launched a study to open up wireless and cell phone usage on planes. IP communications will be huge in 2005, and any VAR with infrastructure ambitions must be poised to represent the right IP telephony products and services.

And, subject line No. 5: "New vendor-neutral certifications help solution providers support governance projects." I know product-specific knowledge is necessary, but as IT projects take on more urgency in the boardroom, broader guarantees of competency will become much important to your customers than the latest Microsoft or Cisco designation.

What are you watching? Share your ideas with Heather Clancy, editor at CRN, by e-mailing

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