Industry Insights

Advisor’s Playbook: 5 Trends to Maximize Impact in 2024

By Ideas @ AppDirect / January 22, 2024

Advisors Playbook Blog

As we enter a new year, now is the perfect time to reflect on the trends that began to emerge in 2023 and to dig deeper to understand what’s to come in 2024.

Recently, CEO and Chairman of AppDirect, Nicolas Desmarais and other industry leaders, spoke about essential 2024 business imperatives in our State of the Union webinar. He highlighted important trends and essential strategies advisors should focus on, along with the fastest-growing technology categories for 2024.

Our advisor segment welcomed Ryan Harrelson, Founder of Metadata Engineering and Stephen Hancock, President of Socium Consulting, to talk about how advisors can manage deals in the security solution space – an ever-growing area of importance for customers. Kelvin Green, Cybersecurity Architect at AppDirect, also ran a security spotlight to look at what the data shows us about security spending and risk management. Let's dive in!

The top 5 trends to shape 2024

Jump to 6:42 in the webinar to listen in

1. Build your wallet share

More advisors are seeing success selling multi-category solutions because IT decision-makers are increasingly looking for partners who offer the full technology stack they need. This is a huge opportunity for advisors to increase their share of wallet.

Below, we'll spotlight rising customer demand and spending in various categories through highlighted forecasts:

  • Business applications—Enterprise IT spending is shifting to cloud, growing to almost $1.8 trillion in 2025, according to Gartner.

Solutions such as accounting tools, productivity tools, email, business intelligence, marketing, CRMs are growing at a rapid pace, giving advisors new opportunities to diversify what they sell. These areas are predicted to rise to 35 percent by 2026. Total customer spending is also expected to rise from $75 billion to $119 billion over the next two years. 

  • Collaboration tools—The collaboration tools category includes things like workflows, file sharing and sync software, video conferencing, and UCaaS and CCaaS. Analysts predict this area is expected to grow in customer spending from $18 billion to $25 billion by 2026.

  • Infrastructure as a service (IaaS)IaaS is a surprisingly fast-growing category. After business applications, the biggest growth we’ve seen affecting share of wallet is IaaS, growing at a rate of 16 percent, so this is not one to overlook!

Specifically, IaaS solutions within the multi-cloud model are rising in demand. According to Forbes, the number of large organizations with a multi-cloud strategy is predicted to rise from 76 percent to 85 percent during 2024.”

  • AIAI is another important trend affecting tech spending. Bloomberg estimates that Generative AI will form 10 percent of marketing spending by 2032, totalling a $1.3 trillion market. There are so many more tools out there utilizing AI, so it’s definitely something that advisors should explore and invest in.

  • Security—Security is also a growing concern for many businesses with the rise of cyberattack threats affecting both large and smaller enterprises. Advisors who can tap into that market can also expect to see success when paired with other solutions, such as business applications.

78% of IT decision-makers rank security as their number one priority, and nearly 30% have increased their investment in security over the past year. AppDirect IT Business Leaders 2024 Outlook Report

In fact, cybersecurity solutions such as data security, endpoint, network and mobile security are predicted to grow from $6 billion to $8 billion by 2026.

Despite growing opportunities, many advisors steer away from selling security solutions because of their lack of experience. However, AppDirect has resources to help you familiarize yourself with this market. To read more about the latest cybersecurity threats and how to mitigate them, read our Cybersecurity ebook.

For more on selling security solutions, jump to 29:17 in the webinar to hear our security panel and 49:06 for our cybersecurity spotlight with Kelvin Green.

2. Focus on cross selling, slash acquisition costs with marketplaces

In 2024, a second major trend is the increasing IT consumption via marketplaces. This is an exciting opportunity for providers to sell through their own or 3rd-party marketplaces. It's also a big opportunity for advisors to reduce customer acquisition costs using marketplaces, and to  zero-in on upselling and cross selling.

Marketplace spending has seen a growth rate of around 80 percent, which is a great sign for advisors using the AppDirect Marketplace.

This is largely because people prefer to get everything in one place to reduce search and transaction costs. It also reduces friction when it comes to billing, data management, and onboarding. Customers also appreciate everything being wrapped up in a unified service agreement.

3. Lifetime value and retention

Increasing customer retention has always been a key part of growth because it’s always more cost-effective to keep client relationships than it is to find new ones.

Overall, webinar speakers identified cloud management, spend management, and AI will impact Customer Lifetime Value (CLV) over the coming year:

  • Cloud management—As cost computing is going down, there are additional  services made available within the enterprise environment, which need to be managed in a unified way. The current market for cloud management is set to rise to $35.25 billion by 2030, so this could potentially become a very valuable part of your portfolio.

  • Shadow IT/spend management—In a recent report from Coupa, the company highlights that currently, 46 percent of CROs say they lack full visibility into spend data across their organization. One-third of IT decision makers are using some form of tool for their spend management, and one-third is also looking for more automation in that area, which presents another avenue for advisors to pursue.

  • AI—More and more businesses want to leverage AI applications – especially those with user interfaces that allow employees to interact with applications without having to learn brand new workflows.

There is also trend that Nicolas calls the “humanization of IT.” The market has already experienced the consumerization of it, but humanization refers to technology becoming more immersive and natural in the way we interact with it. By being aware of this trend, advisors can better spot potential revenue opportunities. 

4. AI meets network management

In the January State of the Union webinar, Willow Pfahler, President and CEO of WX Technology Group, highlighted other key trends poised for growth in 2024. She specifically pointed to advancements in SD-WAN and network management technology as areas ripe for innovation.

​​“...We’re seeing a lot of chatter around automating network engineering tasks—from patch management and security, and from LAN ports to intrusion detection. There's also a growing focus on data analytics in zero trust applications and legacy network components, integrating proactive AI-driven automation…" —Willow Pfahler, President and CEO of WX Technology Group

Willow predicts a significant shift towards integrating AI with network management applications. This fusion, she believes, is set to streamline complex networking solutions, enabling customers to pivot away from technologies that use the ICE technique to ('Interactive Connectivity Establishment) to connect computers. She also sees providers moving away from ICE and towards AI and automation in the SD-WAN space.

5. Embrace cloud 2.0 & staff augmentationStrategies for maximizing CLV

Willow also underscores the necessity for advisors to keep pace with the ongoing evolution of cloud technologies in 2024. This involves not just a focus on colocation or hybrid cloud, but also understanding the deeper transformation within these areas.

She believes we’re seeing a transformation as to what colocation really means.

“There's a number of companies out there that are doing some some really interesting things around single stack and being able to build an in house hyperscaler.”

Frank Millo, Vice President of Sales at Matrix-NDI, also identifies staff augmentation as a key trend for 2024. He points out that there's a lot of partners within the AppDirect community that can help with NOC services, deployments, and other areas where there’s a common theme of lacking staff.

“Staff augmentation, especially in national rollouts, is becoming crucial. Many clients have projects but lack the necessary workforce to actually get it done.” —Frank Millo, Vice President of Sales at Matrix-NDI

By aligning customer conversations with these top five 2024 trends, advisors can capture a larger share of IT spending, securing improved CLV and retention.

> Hear more from Willow and Frank in the panel discussion here.

For more, watch the December and January State of the Union webinars to hear from our panel on market trends and selling security solutions. Also register for the series!