Telecom infrastructure services: 2Q21 insights from TBR’s Telecom team

5G and geopolitics take center stage in the development of the TIS market

Unprecedented government support will boost the ICT sector over at least the next five years, with the telecom industry poised to be one of the key beneficiaries of the stimulus. Western-aligned governments will also increasingly mandate and provide support for CSPs to swap out gear from Huawei and ZTE, and these projects could take several years to complete.

Join Telecom Senior Analyst Michael Soper for a webinar examining TBR’s Telecom Infrastructure Services (TIS) Global Market Forecast for 2020-2025, including the expected impact of these events on the market.

Don’t miss:

  • Key growth drivers and growth detractors in the TIS market from 2021-2025
  • How government spend and geopolitics will influence the TIS market
  • Which vendors are well-positioned to capitalize on trends in the TIS market

Register today to reserve your space

TBR webinars are held typically on Wednesdays at 1 p.m. ET and include a 15-minute Q&A session following the main presentation. Previous webinars can be viewed anytime on TBR’s Webinar Portal.

For additional information or to arrange a briefing with our analysts, please contact TBR at [email protected].


Who is going to want Boomi?

In TBR’s newest blog series, What Do You Think?, we’re sharing questions our subject-matter experts have been asking each other lately, as well as posing the question to our readers. If you’d like to discuss this edition’s topic further, contact Geoff Woollacott at [email protected].

What Happened

Boomi will be sold to Francisco Partners and TPG for $4 billion in yet another in a series of asset sales, spinoffs and engineering measures Dell EMC has been making to cover the debt load from Dell’s acquisition of EMC in 2016. But this is not about Dell and the efficacy of its strategic actions. This is about Boomi. Who is going to want Boomi?

It is a broad question in terms of customers and potential buyers. Ultimately, the acquiring equity firms that shelled out $4 billion for the assets will want to “optimize” Boomi to resell the operation in whole or in part for more than $4 billion after having added their “value.” Rarely are these equity firms eager to sink money into long-overdue R&D to align an aging portfolio to the current market situation. If they were home flippers, they would want to put a fresh coat of paint on the clapboards for a five-year fix, not strip the bottom four rows of siding, replace the sill damage, reside it and paint it for a 15-year fix.

Customer Situation

Boomi lags with API tool sets in an era often called the API economy. Even those with sound API management capabilities such as MuleSoft are now being called into question for not having API automation for push-button development capabilities. There are a lot of emerging companies, such as Entefy and Kong, getting serious evaluation in early adopter enterprises as the next leap forward in the iPaaS tool set space while UiPath receives mention in TBR’s discussions with customers as having the capabilities to swing into this space as well.

Boomi’s sweet spot seems to be the late majority large and midsize enterprises, with most of these customer applications residing on premises and many of them bespoke or highly customized. These data transport vessels are like the African Queen steamboat chugging along in the data river.  These data center leaders will not find out-of-the-box API integrations into their bespoke applications from the leading SaaS apps they may be adopting at the start of their slow roll to native-cloud applications and data center consolidations that are a threat to Boomi as well as the traditional hardware manufacturers such as Dell, Hewlett Packard Enterprise and Lenovo.

Those are the customers that will likely want Boomi, but the number of potential buyers will rapidly dwindle as the market trends that threaten that sweet spot support the continued acceleration of cloud migration, sparked by the pandemic. Specifically, Salesforce’s 2018 acquisition of MuleSoft provided the SaaS front-office leader with an integration layer to tie together its proprietary solutions, in addition to integrations with AppExchange, its app partner ecosystem. While MuleSoft was born in legacy IT, its combination with Salesforce provides MuleSoft with substantial capital to innovate and evolve its offerings for better alignment with Salesforce by enhancing its tool sets for cloud application integration. Boomi’s challenge is to take these core strengths for business-to-business/EDI management and easy self-service reporting and integrations and build out the API and AI/machine learning capabilities sooner rather than later.

Buyer situation

In terms of who may want Boomi in their portfolio, the current owners likely eye Salesforce’s $6.5 billion acquisition of MuleSoft as the kind of pinata they hope to crack open with this $4 billion swing at a payoff. To TBR, that is likely a swing and a miss due to the aging portfolio issues referenced. Yes, SaaS players will increasingly bake in iPaaS tool sets, but emerging SaaS players will be less inclined to worry about on-premises and bespoke integrations where Boomi excels as they will be to have out-of-the-box connectors to market-share-leading SaaS apps in other segments.

This leaves buyers looking to consolidate aging assets to profitably manage opportunity in declining markets. A sound firm such as Informatica can follow the acquisition strategy deployed to great success by Computer Associates (CA) in the late ’80s and the ’90s as minicomputer consolidation started. In essence, CA became a software distributor of disparate, stand-alone utilities and tools for the various proprietary install bases that started their slow decline into irrelevance as Intel/Microsoft ate the data center. The CA acquisitions in that era were often asset sales, however. Ultimately, that consolidation caught up to both CA and BMC. While they are in operation, they likely lack the cash flow to justify adding Boomi to their boneyard — unless, of course, the equity partners decide to cut their losses if the financial pinata fails to crack open.

So, what do you think? Who is going to want Boomi?

Quick Quantum Quips: Public investment continues to drive quantum computing development

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 Geoff Woollacott or Jacob Fong to set up a time to chat.

April 2021 Developments:

Activities this month illustrate the burgeoning signs of early quantum commercialization more so than the research discoveries advancing the computational power of quantum architectures themselves would suggest. Microsoft landed a new enterprise partnership; QC Ware established a public military partnership; the University of Maryland furthered its goal of becoming a quantum hub by creating a quantum-focused incubator; and CQC added talent to its rich scientific team. In addition, we highlight infinityQ Technology, which introduced its first quantum computer using what it describes as “quantum analog computing.”

Microsoft: In late April Microsoft announced an early quantum partnership with Ally Financial, the parent company of Ally Bank, to explore quantum algorithm use cases. Through Azure Quantum, Ally will gain access to quantum computing expertise and the ability to upskill its team on specific quantum software development through Microsoft’s quantum development kit.

Near-term enterprise quantum activity will likely continue to look very similar to this type of partnership. While full-scale enterprise quantum applications are still several years away, enterprises will want to begin learning about the fundamental technology, current and anticipated capabilities, and high-level application and integration scenarios specific to their industries and businesses if they intend on capitalizing on early adoption advantages. As we see with the Microsoft-Ally partnership, enterprises are beginning to take the important steps to most effectively utilize the capabilities quantum computing will bring by developing these relationships with quantum vendors and cultivating talent and subject-matter expertise.

Additionally, TBR believes the leading cloud platform and infrastructure providers in enterprise, such as Amazon Web Services (AWS), Microsoft Azure, Google Cloud Platform (GCP) and IBM Cloud, will play a large role in quantum computing distribution, as buying and deploying on-premises quantum computers will not always be necessary or practical in use cases that do not have strict low-latency requirements.

QC Ware: The Air Force Research Laboratory (AFRL), the primary research and development branch of the Air Force, formed a partnership with QC Ware to use its quantum machine learning algorithm, q-means, to infer unmanned aircraft mission objectives based on the observed flight paths. A core objective of the AFRL has been to facilitate the advancement of key areas of quantum algorithm development such as optimization, machine learning and quantum simulation.

University of Maryland: The University of Maryland is creating a quantum incubator to help nurture early-stage startups that spawn from the university, such as academic spinoffs and companies started by entrepreneurial graduates. Initially budgeted at $25 million, the incubator will presumably provide funding and operational resources such as access to offices and labs, high-speed internet, and networking opportunities for executive advisers, talent and potential customers.

Cambridge Quantum Computing (CQC): The U.K.-based quantum startup bolstered its scientific team by naming Professor Stephen Clark as head of artificial intelligence. He transitioned from DeepMind, an AI subsidiary of Alphabet Inc., where he was a senior staff research scientist. DeepMind notably created some of the strongest AI engines with its games Chess and Go, which are well suited for AI experimentation due to the astronomically large number of permutations achievable in a bounded environment. Clark specializes in natural language processing and led a team at DeepMind that was working on grounded language learning in virtual environments. Prior to his work in the private sector, Clark was a faculty member at the University of Cambridge and the University of Oxford.  

infinityQ Technology, Inc.: This Montreal-based, woman-founded and -led quantum startup introduced its first-generation quantum computer, which uses a unique approach the company calls “quantum-analog computing.” The approach falls outside the categories found in other system architectures that use elements of superconductivity or ion-trap technology to reap the benefits of quantum mechanics in computing.

InfinityQ describes quantum-analog computing as using “artificial atoms to exploit the superposition effect and achieve quantum computing capabilities without the error correction and cryogenics tax.” The company reported that the quantum-analog computing approach offers certain advantages, including extreme energy efficiency, a compact form factor and the ability to operate at room temperature — all characteristics that are in direct contrast to the shortcomings of the superconductive quantum architecture. The company claims it has demonstrated the ability to solve the famous traveling salesman problem for 128 cities, compared to the 22 cities that other, presumably quantum, machines have been able to solve.

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