New NTT Global Data Centers facilities in Chicago and Oregon solidify infrastructure footprint and position the vendor for continued growth

As part of parent company NTT’s July 2019 restructuring effort, a separate company called NTT Ltd. was formed, which unified 31 global brands to create a 40,000-person, $11 billion company dedicated to offering IT, cloud and colocation services to large enterprises. At the center of NTT Ltd.’s strategy is NTT Global Data Centers, a separate division that offers a portfolio of global data center assets including RagingWire (Americas), NTT Communications (APAC), e-shelter and Gyron (EMEA), and Netmagic (India). With over 160 facilities, NTT Global Data Centers is now the third largest global data center provider.

Americas expansion to support NTT Ltd.’s growth in 2021

On Feb. 25, NTT Global Data Centers held a virtual event to unveil its two new data centers, in Hillsboro, Ore. (HI1), and Chicago (CH1). Both CH1 and HI1 are currently 36 megawatts (MW) but are expected to expand to 76MW and 126MW, respectively, to support increasingly complex IT workloads for both hyperscale and enterprise customers. NTT’s roots in telecommunications allow it to provide a broad portfolio of carrier-neutral connectivity options within each data center. Meanwhile the company’s IT services arm is also strong with offerings such as Remote Hands, which removes the need for on-site service and maintenance and has been in high demand during COVID-19.

The establishment of HI1 and CH1 marks the beginning of NTT Global Data Centers’ Americas expansion efforts for 2021. The company plans to open a campus in Silicon Valley, break ground in Phoenix, and expand its campus in Ashburn, Va., while the attach of various connectivity products and managed services will continue to support growth throughout the year. In a company press release, Doug Adams, CEO of NTT Global Data Centers Americas, highlighted the openings in the context of plans for the year, which he stated “will be a year like no other for our division, and opening these two new data centers is just the beginning [of] efforts that underline our commitment to put our clients at the center and bring data center services to key data center markets across the Americas.”

New data centers are strategically placed to address varied client needs

As the colocation market in the U.S. becomes increasingly crowded, NTT Global Data Centers expands in strategic markets to support its retail and wholesale colocation strategies and address the needs of clients regardless of size. This includes pursuing markets with access to affordable sources, low risk of natural disaster and the ability to support connections to emerging markets, among other factors.

NTT Global Data Centers supports 100% renewable energy

As technology sustainability remains a top-of-mind concern for CTOs, NTT Global Data Centers continues to operate on a message of clean energy and efficiency. Specifically, the new HI1 facility is an appealing option for customers looking to consume renewable energy options, while the new campus has earned a Level 3 certification from the Cleaner Air Oregon program, setting NTT Global Data Centers apart from competitors as it is the only data center in the region to receive the certification to date.

Local cost-saving opportunities support lower TCO for customers

One of the key attractions of NTT Global Data Centers’ CH1 facility is access to state and local tax incentives on equipment. Additionally, CH1 is powered by local energy company Commonwealth Edison (ComEd), which offers electricity at rates ComEd states are 18% lower rates than the national average. These initiatives are designed to support lower total cost of ownership (TCO) for customers through cheaper electricity, sales tax exemptions and lower cooling requirements.

Subsea cabling

NTT Global Data Centers has targeted the Pacific Northwest with HI1 due to accessibility to subsea cables that can connect across regions. With HI1, locally housed customers have an opportunity to access strategic markets in Japan as NTT Communications acquired Pacific Crossing for its subsea cable in 2009, supporting data communication between the U.S. and Japan. This connection with HI1 allows customers to contract with NTT Global Data Centers on a single cable and eliminates the need for multiple contracts, underscoring NTT Global Data Centers’ approach of leveraging parent company NTT to support clients. TBR believes NTT Communications’ strong foothold in Japan will boost NTT Global Data Centers’ ability to provide customers with low-latency connections between two emerging markets, serving as a growth driver and offering differentiation from other colocation peers.

Eyeing the future: Accenture’s fundamentals drive human-centric technology change at scale

‘Leaders Wanted — Masters of Change at a Moment of Truth’

Accenture’s (NYSE: ACN) recent virtual event to introduce its Accenture Technology Vision 2021 kicked off with a quick recap of the socioeconomic headwinds of 2020. These headwinds include four new concerns facing people personally and professionally: an increasing global population driving a need for new ways of interacting; the evolution of “Every business is a tech business” as technology’s role changes with the changing environment; the workforce of the future; and sustainability. Accenture Group Chief Executive – Technology and Chief Technology Officer Paul Daugherty then outlined in detail the five major trends of its 2021 vision.

Delivered under the slogan “Leaders Wanted — Masters of Change at a Moment of Truth,” the vision highlights five key areas, which we expect to drive investments not just from Accenture but also peers and enterprises, given the company’s market-making status in multiple domains.

  1. Stack strategically: While this trend at its core applies to architecting and redesigning organizations’ technology stacks to support the enterprise of the future, which includes attributes from the customer experience to the security layer, it also maps to Accenture’s core value proposition of joining consultants, designers, researchers, solution architects and delivery personnel, all through the umbrella of Accenture Innovation Architecture.
  2. Mirrored world: The resurgence of the digital twin is moving beyond experimental phases, and large enterprises are seeing an opportunity to invest in an area that, in the era of COVID-19, which has led to social distancing and reduced access to physical plants, will allow them to use IoT techniques to enable remote monitoring and control. Accenture’s ongoing investments in mobility and IoT service offerings over the past five years, along with the recent push into product engineering offerings, largely enabled through acquisitions, will enable the company to address demand and increase client stickiness.
  3. I, technologist: The democratization of technology, which has enabled workforces to do more with less and orient their productivity to higher-value tasks largely enabled by automation, while not a new trend, has certainly reached a pivotal point, given the changes over the past 12 months in how employees perform their work. Accenture’s rigorous approach to and ongoing investments in training — including spending $1 billion per year on reskilling and upskilling personnel, with efforts most recently focused on building cloud consulting, architecting and delivery skills — enable it to drive internal change at scale, and then sell its capabilities “as a Service” to clients.

On Feb. 17, 2021, Accenture held a one-hour virtual session introducing its Accenture Technology Vision 2021. While the format was different than in previous years, the 21st iteration of the summit had a similar goal: to portray Accenture’s technology prowess and appetite for innovation and scale. Hosted by Accenture Group Chief Executive – Technology and Chief Technology Officer Paul Daugherty, Accenture Senior Managing Director and Lead – Technology Innovation and Accenture Labs Marc Carrel-Billiard, and Managing Director – Accenture Technology Vision Michael Blitz, the virtual delivery of the content was both a sign of times and a demonstration of Accenture’s ability to coordinate, deliver and manage virtual events in collaboration with ecosystem partners — in this case, Touchcast. 

Who’s there?: The rise of multienterprise business networks

Not everything about business is technology, but every business has to leverage technology everywhere

Over the last few years, executives discussed redesigning their businesses for the safe, secure and accurate flow of actionable data with as little human involvement and oversight as possible, a change Google describes as removing the “human toil” from economic activity. Business leaders called this process optimization, a process often resisted by employees which in turn slows an organization’s digital efforts. Organizations big and small have been forced to embrace a cloud- and digital-first posture to maintain business continuity and participate in everyday economic activity. In short, these efforts are being done to maintain relevance. As a result, nontechnology-savvy executives and employees will exit the workforce exponentially over the next five years.     

In this transformative period, future managers train now at new entry-level IT jobs, even as IT services vendors and other players in the technology ecosystem complain about a shortage of STEM talent in the hiring markets. The talent that does come on in new roles spread across a digitally savvy enterprise understands application interfaces, which align human interaction with technology and data platforms. By entering the business in this capacity, the incoming talent gains experience across the various elements of the business operation that executive managers require while also ensuring they are fully digitally versed for the Business of One.

Adding further complexity has been the disaggregation of business functions or value among different business entities. In technology we see this as the IP-centric elements of a business being split away from the labor, or task-centric functions. Looking at semiconductors, for example, some on Wall Street are calling for Intel to be split between the IP-laden aspect of chip design and the capital-intensive aspect of fabrication plants capable of manufacturing those designs reliably at scale. They are two businesses with entirely different rhythms and economic drivers, yet neither can thrive without the other.

The work-around to this business disaggregation taking place is to establish a network of businesses with complementary value propositions. This network is increasingly being called the multienterprise business network (MEBN). Many technology-centric firms describe this as their platform. But platforms are a stage on which something is performed, and that performance is the outcome enabled by multiple different parties. As such, viewing MEBNs from solely a technology-centric view can miss the point entirely.

As the Business of One evolves, legacy technology vendors selling on technical merits, or speeds and feeds, and selling just to IT face tremendous market pressures to pivot to selling business outcomes. Today’s reality requires understanding customers’ busines objectives and speaking directly to business decision makers.

For Technology Business Research’s (TBR) Digital Practice, this necessitates taking our core value proposition of vendor-centric business analysis of technology companies across a standard technology business value chain and combining it with additional considerations about industries and the operating best practices of business ecosystems that tie back to the specific use case and the personas integral to that use case. After having established those core frameworks, the analysis then ties back to time horizon and MEBN participant. In short, what is in it for the MEBN participant at what stage (commonly referred to as Horizon 1, 2 and 3 in today’s frameworks) in the MEBN product road map.

To illustrate the intent here, consider the creation of an MEBN for the utilization, storage and maintenance of autonomous vehicles. Having autonomous vehicles moving about a defined geography would clearly be the Horizon 3 aspiration, which is nowhere near commercial reality today.

Horizon 1 would be delivering an immediate level of business value creation to entice the participants necessary for that Horizon 3 aspiration. For example, gas stations, mechanics and parking garages, at a minimum, will need to be recruited into the MEBN for autonomous vehicles. Later, additional services for the auto owner could be added such as online ordering with brick-and-mortar pickup across various nontech-centric small businesses providing localized services. Creating a buyer network in Horizon 1 for today’s cars and owners has to provide sufficient business value for enrolling participants.

The capital investment in the technology infrastructure likely must come from the Horizon 3 business benefactor and be viewed as a long-term investment to facilitate the recruitment of the necessary member participants. In the end, those autonomous vehicles will need the fueling, maintenance and parking services to function and the adjacent human services of pickup and delivery to increase their utilization rates beyond a source of human transport. Yes, it requires a technology value chain as its backbone, but nontechnology participants are just as necessary to flesh it out into a thriving MEBN of buyers and sellers who may not even concern themselves with the technology underpinnings at all.

More colloquially, few singer-songwriters would have the capital necessary to build the technology assets for downloading music over the internet. But once Apple took a long view to their investment posture, it was able to build out a robust MEBN that profited many artists, disrupted traditional nontechnology businesses, and delivered value to many customers in the form of the iTunes platform, which itself has been disrupted by streaming services such as Spotify and Pandora.

TBR’s Digital Practice remit is to take its core value proposition of discrete company business model analysis and apply it to the MEBNs by isolating the different components through a series of frameworks. In doing this, we will then be able to assess the financial impact for the different member participants across the near-term, mid-term and long-term horizons.

Industries have different automation leverage points, enabling different personas; inexpensive tech makes possible a myriad use cases

Compute ubiquity has been well documented. The multimillion-dollar supercomputer performance of yesteryear is now contained in smartphones. The first IBM PC chip, the 8088, is now matched by CPUs the size of a grain of sand that cost $0.10 to produce. Historically, the heavily regulated industries of financial services and healthcare were early technology adopters, given the risk exposure of noncompliance with government regulation. As the cost of compute was brought down to incredibly inexpensive price points, compute expanded from those back-office functions into front offices. Today, we are at a point where, as on EY executive summed it up in analyst interaction when peppered with multiple questions: “We can do whatever you want; you just have to make up your minds.”

Making up our minds translates into codification of standard business results to digitize activity in a consistent way, and this sits at the heart of multiple game-changing technologies including AI, machine learning and blockchain. And these are horizontal technological capabilities that cascade through a variety of industries. Retail, once cost-conscious, was one of the later industries to adopt technology. Amazon, as we know, has disrupted this sector at the detriment of many high-profile brick-and-mortar brands of yesteryear.

TBR will use this construct to incubate standard coverage of markets, facilitating a way to bring analysis of that market to a vendor-centric view. TBR’s Digital Transformation research portfolio will serve as the vehicle to introduce these frameworks. The inaugural Digital Transformation Blockchain Market Landscape is set to publish in April 2021 and Digital Transformation IIoT Market Landscape will be published in June 2021. These reports will follow a semiannual publication cadence.

Atos Named a Leader in the TBR Quantum Market Landscape

“Atos announced today that it has been named a Leader in Technology Business Research Inc.’s (TBR) Market Landscape for Quantum Computing. Atos was identified as a Leader for its ability to advance the exploration and development of quantum algorithms, reflecting its commitment to deliver early and concrete benefits of quantum computing by bringing forth new use cases.” — HPC Wire

Quick Quantum Quips: Vendors seek ways to increase quantum accessibility

Welcome to TBR’s monthly newsletter on the quantum computing market: Quick Quantum Quips (Q3). This market changes rapidly, and the hype can often distract from the realities of the actual technological developments. This newsletter keeps the community up to date on recent announcements while stripping away the hype around developments.

For more details, reach out to Stephanie Long or Geoff Woollacott to set up a time to chat.

February 2021 Developments

As the power of quantum computing becomes more widely understood, accelerating access to quantum technology and quantum-like capabilities has become a key focus of vendors in the industry worldwide. The COVID-19 vaccine has highlighted the value quantum computing can have in accelerating drug discovery, creation, manufacture and distribution once the technology can be fully harnessed. Additionally, direct application of quantum computing exists in climate change, a top global concern, and sustainability, a focus of major corporations.

  1. Quantum Computing Inc. (QCI) unveiled Qatalyst, a quantum application accelerator. The aim of this software-centric offering is to leverage quantum principles with classically trained computer scientists to harness the power of quantum technologies for complex optimization problems such as supply chain and delivery route optimization by bypassing QPUs and leveraging APIs in their place. While Qatalyst is likely to accelerate near-term access to quantum computing capabilities, TBR believes advancements in other quantum computing technologies will surpass it in the long term. Qatalyst and related QPU and CPU resources are all available via the cloud and do not require on-premises resources to access.
  2. Cambridge Quantum Computing (CQC) partnered with CrownBio and JSR Life Sciences on cancer treatment research. The companies will leverage CQC’s quantum capabilities and CrownBio and JSR’s years of cancer-related research and data to identify multigene biomarkers for cancer treatment drug discovery. It is generally accepted throughout the quantum community that drug discovery will be one of the initial use cases for quantum systems that will be able to achieve economic advantage due to the costly and laborious techniques currently employed in drug discovery. Quantum computing could accelerate this process and reduce the amount of wet-lab research necessary to bring new drugs to market.
  3. IonQ is in early talks to merge with public company DMYT Technology Group Inc., which is a special purpose acquisition company (SPAC) created for the purpose of acquiring an existing company. The merger would enable IonQ to become a public company without going through a lengthy initial public offering. This would be the first U.S.-based pure play quantum computing vendor to go public through a SPAC if it comes to fruition. IonQ is also one of the leading vendors in the trapped ion quantum architecture space, and an IPO would provide the vendor with access to additional capital, which could accelerate its innovation efforts.
  4. D-Wave expanded the availability of its Leap quantum cloud service to Singapore, providing users in the country with real-time access to D-Wave’s Advantage quantum computer, hybrid quantum/classical solvers, and the Quantum Application Environment (QAE).
  5. Microsoft has acknowledged the potential positive impact quantum computing could have on energy, including reducing emissions and power consumption. Further, the research enabled by quantum technologies could lead to discoveries around cleaner energy sources and more efficient electrical power systems. TBR notes there has been an industrywide increase in focus on sustainability so while these acknowledgements by Microsoft of the environmental benefits of quantum computing are not unique, they mesh well with industrywide marketing efforts.

If you would like more detailed information around the quantum computing market, please inquire about TBR’s Quantum Computing Market Landscape, a semiannual deep dive into the quantum computing market. Our latest version, published in December, focuses on the software layer of quantum systems.

Complexity and trust: EY’s evolving approach to risk

Internal risk professionals may have the best internal intelligence

Setting the stage for changes at EY and in the broader market, Frank Leenders, EY’s Digital & Innovation lead based in the Netherlands, explained that the firm helps clients “reframe the future” and focus on “trusted transformation,” which comes through six different lenses: Investor Trust, Organizational Trust, Third-party Trust, Customer Trust, Technology Trust and Regulatory Trust. Leenders added that the COVID-19 pandemic helped expose in greater detail how clients think about risk and trust and how different lines of defense can become sources of organizational intelligence.

Risk-oriented functions within clients’ organizations brought forward insights using data analytics and provided timely analysis on strengths and weaknesses, as revealed by internal responses to operational challenges created by the pandemic (and echoed by EY’s own Megatrends pandemic-related survey findings). While many clients’ digital agendas had been accelerating over the past four years, 2020 became an inflection point in understanding how using data and technology for timely insights related to risk could show not only what could go wrong but also how clients could improve their operations and enhance overall risk management. In short, internal audit and risk professionals likely have the best intelligence and insight into their own organizations — skills that are critical to running the business and optimizing opportunities during a prolonged crisis.

After walking through details on EY Resilience Edge — an AI-powered emerging risk modeling and scenario planner developed with IBM Watson and IBM Research — the EY partners described the EY VIA (Virtual Internal Audit) platform, a tool for end-to-end digitalization of the internal audit process and activities, including continuously ingesting data and developing analytics on clients’ ERP environments. EY uses the platform, which includes risk monitoring and what EY has named its Flexible Audit Response Model, not only as a tool for delivering on its internal audit engagements but also as a stand-alone Software as a Service offering. In addition to the technology tools and bespoke configurations, EY has the opportunity to provide change management consulting as clients adopt new tools and processes.

Regulatory Trust as the gateway to trusted complexity

Shifting to Regulatory Trust, which EY defines as managing “the regulatory burden with innovative frameworks that make compliance an enabler, allowing organizations to pursue sustainable pathways,” Federico Guerreri, EY’s Global Financial Services Risk leader, noted that stakeholders and customers have increased pressures around understanding and evaluating an enterprise’s full ecosystem, including suppliers, particularly as the end of the COVID-19 pandemic is in sight. For EY, “compliance and conduct” have become “the most important offerings” as clients in highly regulated sectors, including financial services and energy and utilities, recognize new risks associated with ecosystem partners’ behaviors and the regulators’ view of those risks.

For EY, this leads to “working from the future back to transform compliance” and infusing technology to create “continuous, dynamic monitoring.” Guerreri specifically pointed out that EY’s clients see the potential risk impacts of new regulations as a board-level issue, further raising the profile of risk professionals as well as the need for EY’s services and solutions centered on compliance.

Building on that point, Amy Gennarini, EY’s America’s FSO Risk Technology leader, said the organizations most successfully addressing risk have explicitly tied together regulatory obligations and business attributes. By integrating and making complex linkages across an entire organization, a business can enable faster and more comprehensive transformation. For TBR, this insight stands out as critical to understanding how EY sees the future of risk, trust and digital transformation: Complex linkages help identify risks and facilitate transformations. Complexity, usually a byword for making things too complicated, can be hugely beneficial for enterprises, if managed properly.

In late January, TBR spoke with leaders in EY’s risk consulting services practice about recent portfolio developments and expectations for 2021. Three critical elements stood out for TBR. First, the maturation of EY’s risk consulting services practice (which sits in the firm’s Business Consulting domain) provides the firm with a solid foundation to build new offerings and help clients with the transformational opportunities connected to risk, not simply the obligatory or compliance-related aspects of risk management. Second, the firm remains committed to making technology an enabler, through innovation and at scale, while keeping the fundamental consulting business model intact. Third, and most critically for understanding EY’s overall thinking on risk, the firm fully embraces the complexities that arise when applying technologies at scale to every component of a client’s organization and utilizes these complexities to build trust while addressing risk. In EY’s approach, complex linkages between data, technology platforms and internal business groups help identify risk and thus help clients’ transformations. In short, complexity can be good if handled well.