On day one of the industry body's ChannelcCon event in Chicago, Thibodeaux told delegates that of five great paradigm shifts the channel was supposed to experience over the last half-decade, managed services is the only one that has actually been realized.
The other four - cloud, mobility, healthcare IT and broadband expansion - failed to materialize as anticpated, delegates heard.
"We've been hearing words like disruption, synergy for a while but have they really taken a hold?" Thibodeaux asked. "We've been promised a lot of great paradigm shifts and transformations in the last five to seven years. Even during my time here at CompTIA we've had five major periods, five areas where we've been guaranteed these paradigm shifts and great opportunities to come, but have they really done so?"
He said that in 2008 and 2009 as the industry - and world - came out of recession, there was set to be a stimulus program that was intended to make money available for broadband, broadband expansion and spending on various other areas of IT, but he questioned whether the channel saw any real impact of this.
"How many of you got a big benefit out of that? How many of you had some benefit but not so much and how many had none?" he asked delegates.
In answer to Thibodeaux's question, fewer than half the audience said they got any real benefit from what was supposed to be a "big, major deal".
"We were all going to be able to make money, deploy more broadband, go into schools, bridge that digital divide, and all those different things that were going to come from that," he said. "But it didn't turn out to be quite as big a deal as we all thought."
Another area of the industry that has not delivered as expected is healthcare IT, Thibodeaux said. He asked audience members if they had seen a "measurable, meaningful impact" from this area. With 50 percent of the audience saying yes and 50 percent saying no, Thibodeaux pointed out that healthcare IT was a major focus of a ChannelCon a few years ago, with the whole event designed around it.
"People organized their booths all around this idea that healthcare IT was going to be the next big thing. We were going to have years and years of upgrades and doctors' offices moving to electronic records, to upgrading all their systems," he said. "And putting these things in place would enable solution providers and MSPs to make a lot of money."
However, this was not the case, he pointed out, saying that he would be "surprised" if there were more than a handful of companies that made a meaningful business out of the healthcare IT transition. "Things just kind of fizzled away," he said. "But we all thought that was going to be a big thing."
Conversely, when it came to managed services, the majority of the audience who responded said they had seen some kind of meaningful impact on their business.
"Of these first three transitions that we have seen over the last few years, the most important one obviously has been managed services," Thibodeaux pointed out.
"The other two were fleeting, in-the-moment things that were out there for some companies to take advantage of if they could figure out the system. Some companies that may have had some business in the healthcare space to begin with may have got something out of that and seen continuing business, but you don't hear too much about either of these two expected booms actually happening. Managed services, on the other hand, is enduring."
On the subject of cloud and mobility, around 20 percent of the audience said they had developed a meaningful business from cloud. And where mobility is concerned, only a handful of people said they had managed to achieve some kind of meaningful business.
"The bottom line here is that there's no magic bullet," Thibodeaux said. "One out of five areas that we talked about, one out of the five major transformations that we've seen - the paradigm shifts that were supposedly there for the industry over the last five to seven years, only one of those hit and hit over a long period of time.
"The magic, silver bullet doesn't exist out there. What it takes is a lot of hard work, listening to your customers, figuring out what helps them manage their businesses and grow; because their businesses are changing too. Just as we see major transformations and paradigm shifts, they see them as well."