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Red Hat Analyst Day 2021: Aspiring to make infrastructure a nonevent

Red Hat aspires to be the technology glue for the digital enterprise

Red Hat rose to prominence simplifying technology stacks, with a mission to break the chokehold proprietary operating systems had on the enterprise via Enterprise Open Source, then extending that out to the various cloud developer platforms through its products. For this product strategy, Red Hat developed simple monetization strategies that have been replicated throughout the industry in what are now commonly called “as a Service” business models.

Red Hat recognizes it needs to do more to solidify its position as the glue, or virtual mortar, for digital business. The march to edge, driven by ubiquitous, economical compute, means that Red Hat has to expand beyond its horizontal strategy, which caters to the IT developer community, to also incorporate a more nuanced strategy that provides the requisite workflow and industry wrappers to simplify developer remits even further.

Red Hat quite correctly cites its dominance in the enterprise, with over 90% of the Fortune 500 using Red Hat products and solutions. This share dominance positions the company well for legacy application modernizations for an inside-out expansion strategy. Legacy vendors increasingly expose internal data through a series of different use cases and business constructs, whether it be to deploy internal data for marketing initiatives or to modernize the transfer of permissioned information among other business entities in a multi-enterprise business network.

But outside-in data utilization from customer-facing applications, often built cloud natively, is a different story. Many of the technology startups targeting those business use cases have become enamored with hyperscaler marketplaces as a key attribute when settling upon their development strategy. While developers may still be king, customer parliaments have greater and greater influence over the way the business policies are determined. Simple add-to-cart trials can trump the developer efficiencies associated with writing once in OpenShift to deploy anywhere.

Red Hat has moved to fill that gap by stating it will meet customers where they want to buy. IT procurement, Red Hat rightfully argues, is being consolidated on hyperscaler marketplaces, and Red Hat is developing — across much of its portfolio — more co-selling situations with Microsoft Azure (Nasdaq: MSFT), Amazon Web Services (AWS; Nasdaq: AMZN) and Google (Nasdaq: GOOGL) around OpenShift, SQL and SAP technologies.

Red Hat makes the last-mile connection to the workflow seamless

Red Hat can mask the technological complexities of the hybrid multicloud world. Through Ansible OpenShfit and the Red Hat portfolio, the company can also streamline the DevSecOps processes to allow software development to focus on the business value, while Red Hat addresses the infrastructure deployment layer that will become increasingly important as edge deployments proliferate.

Presently, Red Hat has honed its offers for telco, financial services and what is broadly defined as Industry 4.0. Red Hat’s telecommunications and financial services market share has been a solid underpinning of the company’s install base for decades. Similarly, these two verticals are also pushing hard for edge build-outs to bring compute and networking functionality as close to their end customers as possible.

Through Red Hat’s automation and open-source curation competencies, the company is able to create what it calls validated patterns for the edge. The validated patterns will consist of publicly available reference architectures Red Hat certifies for its various version releases. Validated patterns, in essence, shorten the development time for the broader Red Hat community by addressing the underlying infrastructure connections and interactions necessary to work in the hybrid multicloud world.

At Red Hat’s virtual Analyst Day event, held on Nov. 18, company representatives delivered a rapid-fire presentation on Red Hat’s three-year vision and the company’s efforts to pivot its initiatives to a more vertically focused set of go-to-market motions. The presentation was led by a succession of Red Hat senior vice presidents, including Mike Ferris, Corporate Development and Strategy; Ashesh Badani, Products; Stefanie Chiras, Partner Ecosystems; and Marco Bill-Peter, Customer Success, in addition to Global Partners and Alliances leads Terri Hall and Maryam Zand and Global Industries Chief Strategist Ian Hood. Rounding out the event was a customer testimonial from Deloitte Senior Manager Ashley D’Souza on the ways Red Hat technology enabled Deloitte’s healthcare solutions for the state of Washington.

Tableau will add customers and seats with best practices, new capabilities and utilization of Salesforce’s sales teams

Tableau aims to help enterprises create a data-accepting culture

From the opening keynote to the breakout sessions, Tableau was consistent in its message that many enterprises are falling short of their analytics goals. Part of the reason why these enterprises are falling short of their goals is because of their corporate cultures, in which people do not understand the value of their data and business users are apprehensive about manipulating data. To help chief data officers and data analytics advocates shift company culture, Tableau created the Tableau Blueprint. In the analyst breakout session “Leading to Data Culture,” Tableau VP of Product Marketing Mark Jewett defined a data culture as “the collective behaviors and beliefs of people who value, practice and encourage the use of data to improve decision making.” Tableau Blueprint is a free, 190-plus page document of best practices curated from Tableau customers that have successfully shifted toward a data-accepting culture. Shifting a company’s culture to be accepting of data necessitates an executive team that makes it a strategic priority, as well as implicit changes such as cultural habits and explicit policies and resources. Implicit changes may seem ambiguous, but TBR believes that creating an environment in which employees feel comfortable and encouraged to learn about data analytics will breed a data-literate workforce that can better utilize Tableau’s products, enabling customers to achieve a greater return on their technology investment. Tableau Blueprint incorporates this ethos into each step of the customer’s journey, from bringing Tableau onto their infrastructure to training their employees on Tableau to creating an ecosystem that can answer questions for their Tableau users. While Tableau Blueprint will largely be used by data advocates within an organization, TBR expects that Tableau’s consulting partners will also use the set of best practices when implementing Tableau for their enterprise customers.

To further ensure customers are getting the most out of their Tableau products and realizing their strategic objectives and business goals, Tableau’s customer success teams help customers throughout their journey, from acquiring licenses to post-implementation. This is a strategy that Salesforce, which acquired Tableau, has used since its inception, leveraging its customer success team to help customers — and partners — through customer management, customer support, and advisory and consulting services. Tableau collaborates with partners as well, but TBR expects that Tableau’s customer success group will become more akin to that of Salesforce in offering support to both customers and partners as the two vendors collaborate to help customer and partner ecosystems utilize their Salesforce- and Tableau-integrated systems.

Tableau Conference 2019 (TC19) took place in Las Vegas, where Tableau CEO Adam Selipsky, Chief Product Officer (CPO) Francois Ajenstat, Senior Product Manager Graeme Britz and others presented to 18,000 Tableau customers and partners as well as the analyst community. Some of the keynote topics included new augmented analytics and self-service data management features, as well as changes to the company’s strategy. These topics were complemented by success stories from enterprise customers, such as Nissan, highlighting how Tableau helped transform their organization.

HCLT improves position in DMS with portfolio investments, but must leverage its niche expertise to capitalize

Digital marketing services provide HCLT with an entry point for transformation opportunities

As clients look to transform CX and pursue omnichannel projects using technology solutions, the DMS space provides growth opportunities for vendors that can generate engagements by bridging together CX offerings with digital platforms to drive clients’ marketing campaigns. Bringing data to the center of the engagement, collected from sources throughout clients’ organizations and combined with analytics, will lead to future initiatives for both the client and vendor.

While HCLT has traditionally avoided large-scale investments around its DMS portfolio, the company has recognized demand for services and growth opportunities within the DMS space, which we believe guided the company’s March 2019 launch of a digital marketing platform, HCL ADvantage Experience. Based in Adobe Experience Cloud, the platform works with multiple marketing sources to collect and store customer data that supports clients’ user experience and enables HCLT to quickly scale clients’ marketing campaigns, including compatibility with legacy systems, through improved user integration on a DevOps framework. The platform will support HCLT’s position to capture application services opportunities, but the company will face pressure from other vendors that have developed similar platforms, limiting its ability to differentiate and compete for growth opportunities outside of existing clients.

Where HCLT’s partnership with Adobe does not necessarily provide an enhanced position for a vertical play, integrating HCLT’s engineering and R&D services capabilities and legacy data from its manufacturing and automotive expertise would enable HCLT to leverage a vertical strategy and better connect with vertical industry clients as well as begin to create separation from competitors.

Additionally, HCLT used its April 2019 acquisition of Strong-Bridge Envision, a U.S.-based digital consultancy, to expand the strength of its Mode 2 services and solutions to support business outcomes for clients through data insights. Strong-Bridge Envision joined HCLT’s Digital & Analytics portfolio, which bolsters HCLT’s position within the DMS space in the U.S. and supplements existing offerings, allowing HCLT to pursue consulting-led engagements with more specialized expertise on digital strategy, business transformation, CX and organizational change management. We expect HCLT will look to expand wallet share and mindshare from existing clients as well as generate consulting-led opportunities, but may face challenges in gaining permission around C-Suite-level conversations. Focusing on its mature verticals, such as financial services, technology and services, and manufacturing, which collectively contributed 57.3% of total revenue for HCLT in 1Q19, may be an easier path for the company to follow as it holds stronger client relationships and market share. While HCLT is able to pursue opportunities within other verticals, we believe financial services, technology and services, and manufacturing serve as a starting point from which HCLT can begin to build its brand around DMS and DT-related consulting before expanding into other areas.