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The emerging and evolving landscape of enterprise edge computing

Join Cloud Computing Senior Analyst Nicki Catchpole and Data Center Analyst Stephanie Long for an exclusive preview of TBR’s first edition of the Enterprise Edge Compute Market Landscape. These two TBR teams have come together to analyze the enterprise edge market, an emerging and rapidly evolving opportunity for existing data center and cloud players as well as entrants across a broad spectrum of industries.

Don’t miss:

  • The primary drivers of enterprise investment in edge computing
  • The spectrum of edge business models
  • TBR analysis of the leaders and laggards in the enterprise edge compute market
  • Established and emerging use cases for enterprise edge compute installments

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].

Technology Business Research, Inc. announces 1Q20 webinar schedule

Technology Business Research, Inc. (TBR) announces the schedule for its 1Q20 webinar series. The quarter’s webinars include TBR’s research predictions for 2020.

Jan. 8            A decade in, cloud’s real work begins

Jan. 15         Hardware commoditization pushes vendors into new ventures        

Jan. 22         The end of ‘digital’

Feb. 5           IoT settles in for the long haul

Feb. 12         Leading CSPs and webscales implement new ICT architecture to fully capitalize on digital era

Feb. 26         The emerging and evolving landscape of enterprise edge computing

March 11     Are digital transformation buyers ready for AI?

March 18     Enterprise adoption of private cellular networks poses opportunities and threats for telecom industry

TBR webinars are held typically Wednesdays at 1 p.m. EST/EDT and include a 15-minute Q&A 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].

TBR 2020 Data Center Predictions: Hardware commoditization pushes vendors into new ventures

Hardware commoditization is pressuring traditional data center vendors to invest in related emerging technologies

The data center hardware market has been on a downward trend due to commoditization for years. As a result, vendors have had to get creative to maintain their financial performance. Some vendors that have not adjusted have been forced out of highly contested markets or had assets or whole organizations acquired. However, many vendors have adjusted by investing in new ventures to maintain hardware relevance. Non-volatile memory express (NVMe) and hyperconverged infrastructure are two examples of technologies that have upward potential in the declining hardware market.

Other vendors have chosen to explore entirely new areas, such as quantum computing, to maintain relevance. IBM is notorious for laying the tracks to new markets, and quantum is no exception. TBR believes IBM’s quantum computing investments might increase the longevity of the mainframe, as we see a future in which mainframes and quantum computers can work together to answer tough computational questions. IBM is also investing in high-performance computing, another technology that could fill this space for mainframes.

Change is the only thing in the data center market that is guaranteed. TBR believes 2020 will be marked by a lot of change, and vendors will either adapt or be left behind. Consumption-based pricing and quantum computing are just two examples of the types of change that are coming to the data center space, but there are many others still to come. Vendors that embrace change will be around for the long haul, and fast-followers are more and more likely to be left behind if they sacrifice research and development for quick returns for their capital investors. Vendors should encourage innovation around new ideas to maintain relevance while commoditization maintains its unrelenting grip on the data center hardware space.

2020 Predictions:

  • Cloud vs. on premises: A distinction without a difference
  • The rise of quantum services vendors
  • ODMs will progressively squeeze OEMs as cloud-centric data center environments become increasingly popular

Register for TBR’s 2020 Data Center Predictions webinar, Hardware Commoditization Pushes Vendors Into New Ventures, Jan. 15, 2020.

Technology Business Research 2020 Predictions is a special series examining market trends and business changes in key markets. Covered segments include telecom, cloud, devices & commercial IoT, data center, and services.

Dell Technologies knew what it was doing all along

Dell Technologies’ strategies

Deliver ‘essential infrastructure’

Dell Technologies’ key strategy is to deliver on what it promises: comprehensive and competitive essential infrastructure, specifically, hardware and systems software for PCs, data centers and cloud vendors. Dell Technologies fills in this spectrum with a mantra of “from edge to the core to the cloud,” where edge includes PCs, gateways and near-the-edge data center hardware. By “core,” Dell refers to on-premises data centers. Dell has been investing in R&D and in breaking down internal silos to compete in its core business, with a successful recent track record. For the last two years, part of this strategy included consumption-based pricing to compete with cloud offerings. Dell Technologies’ main competitors, Hewlett Packard Enterprise (HPE) and Lenovo, have similar strategies, including flexible pricing.

‘Better together’ with VMware

The company differs from its competitors in its ownership of VMware, a provider of popular software products that provide an abstraction layer between workloads and hardware, allowing flexibility and efficiency. VMware products run on all vendors’ hardware — a necessity for VMware’s continued presence in the market. Dell Technologies seeks to leverage its relationship with VMware to make it easier for customers to benefit from VMware solutions when they buy them on Dell hardware. This “better together” approach is delicate; “better together” implies “worse apart.” One company spokesperson described Dell Technologies’ approach as offering a combined solution to those who prefer Dell hardware or are indifferent and continuing to offer separate solutions for customers who prefer competitors’ hardware.

With or without Dell hardware, VMware’s solutions are very profitable, and contribute approximately one-third of Dell Technologies’ operating profit. Maintaining VMware’s strong position in both core and cloud markets is critical to Dell’s continued success. For this reason, Dell and VMware must ensure that Dell hardware and VMware cannot be too much better together. VMware also plays a role in Dell’s cloud strategy by playing key roles in the company’s multicloud offering, Dell Technologies Cloud, providing a way to work with multiple clouds, both public and on premises. By providing the ability to move workloads between public and on-premises clouds, Dell makes it easier to bring workloads back on premises, where Dell’s margins are stronger and where, the company claims, customer operating costs are often lower.

Dell Technologies World 2019 was, to a large extent, a celebration of the success of a long-term plan. Dell has emerged from a sequence of going private, shedding many businesses, acquiring a huge federation of related business, and then going public as a healthy, growing company. Despite some continuing challenges, Dell Technologies has largely achieved the goals of an ambitious plan to become the dominant provider of “essential infrastructure,” which includes computer hardware, systems software and supporting services “from the edge to the core to the cloud,” including PCs, cloud hardware and data centers.

TBR Weekly Preview: May 20-24

Before the long weekend here in the U.S., our teams will be publishing deeper analysis on some of the vendors that released earnings earlier this quarter. As always, our approach starts with the individual companies, then builds to an understanding of the larger market.

Additionally, don’t miss this Wednesday’s webinar Bringing the best: Talent and technology in management consulting. Register today!

Tuesday

  • The combination of Atos’ integration and technology capabilities with Google Cloud technologies, made possible by the pair’s global partnership, which marked its first year on April 24, is expanding Atos’ cloud client reach and driving revenue opportunities in secure hybrid cloud orchestration, data and AI, machine learning, and digital workplace solutions for enterprises. The acquisition of Syntel expanded Atos’ cloud advise-build-run portfolio and client reach, notably in North America, and provided critical scale for Atos’ Business and Platform Solutions division, which will accelerate Atos’ cloud advisory and implementation activities. Integration of security services and products into cloud solutions, enables Atos to transform clients’ IT and business models and securely support and manage both cloud and legacy IT environments. — Elitsa Bakalova, Senior Analyst
  • The most recent edition of TBR’s Colocation Benchmark highlights how hybrid IT adoption is a driving force behind colocation adoption as colocation providers offer both data center space and connections to leading cloud providers. The availability of hybrid PaaS and IaaS offerings such as Microsoft Azure Stack and, soon, AWS Outposts provides additional opportunities to extend enterprise colocation environments. — Cassandra Mooshian, Senior Analyst
  • TBR’s Cloud Professional Services Market Forecast details how healthy growth will persist across cloud professional services markets despite automation’s downward pressures as hybrid IT sprawl proliferates. Accenture and IBM remained the top two vendors overall in cloud professional services in 2018, while Accenture is expected to take on significant additional market share through 2023 as it benefits from its C-Suite exposure and position as a technology-agnostic third-party expert. — Cassandra Mooshian, Senior Analyst

Friday

  • TBR’s initial look into Hewlett Packard Enterprise’s (HPE) 1Q19 performance deep dives into HPE’s infrastructure strategy amid recent ongoing changes as HPE enters the final year of its Next initiatives. Commoditization continues to take its toll on infrastructure vendors’ bottom lines, increasing competition and encouraging more nuanced strategies to get ahead. — Stephanie Long, Analyst
  • The 1Q19 Fujitsu Cloud report deep dives into Fujitsu’s cloud strategy amid recent changes. As the company no longer competes for new IaaS opportunities outside of Japan, Fujitsu is leaning on partners and their expansive customer bases more significantly and strategically amid the company’s own strategic shift. — Cassandra Mooshian, Senior Analyst

Finally, publishing this week from John Caucis are 1Q19 assessments of federal IT majors CACI and Leidos, including key developments from the quarter and detailed analysis of each company’s fiscal performance. Nearly a year after losing out to General Dynamics in the competition to acquire CSRA, CACI aggressively jumped back into the M&A fray, spending nearly $1 billion on acquisitions during the quarter to deepen its capabilities in C4ISR, cybersecurity, signals intelligence and electronic warfare for the U.S. Department of Defense and intelligence community. In the past, CACI’s MO regarding acquisitions was often paying a premium to scoop up differentiating solutions capabilities, and after paying $225 million to acquire N.Y.-based Mastodon Design and its 50 employees, it appears CACI retains an aggressive, but judicious, M&A posture. CACI delivered 12%-plus year-to-year growth during 1Q19 — more than half inorganic in nature. Federal IT peer Leidos delivered strong organic growth in its first quarter following its “year of transition” in 2018, suggesting its revamped growth strategy, which hinges on effective leverage of the information systems and strategic solutions assets acquired from Lockheed Martin nearly three years ago, is working. With its operational and organizational revamp around its core markets complete, Leidos is beginning to turn its attention to adjacent market opportunities, including in the U.K., where it plans a significant ramp up of recruiting activities in 2019.

TBR Weekly Preview: May 13-17

As we move further into May, we will shift from initial earnings reports to larger, detailed reports on the vendors we cover, plus the benchmarks and market forecasts for the broader areas, such as cloud and telecom. And definitely do not miss Wednesday’s webinar on digital transformation.

Monday

  • The IBM Cloud report highlights how cloud remains an increasingly key component to IBM’s hybrid business model and long-term strategy. IBM reported single-digit cloud year-to-year growth, at 7%, a remarkably smaller rate than its larger cloud peers, which underscores the continued messaging and go-to-market shortcomings it needs to overcome. Cloud is often relied on as IBM tries to bounce back, but the cloud business also needs some attention. IBM will continue to sell off noncore software assets to hone its hybrid IT focus and messaging — the success of which is largely contingent on the planned acquisition of Red Hat in late 2019 by IBM. — Cassandra Mooshian, Senior Analyst

Wednesday

  • Strengthening its focus on premium customers enabled AT&T to improve the EBITDA margins of its Mobility and Entertainment Group divisions in 1Q19, despite competitive pressures hindering subscriber growth. Though AT&T will continue to trail T-Mobile in postpaid phone net additions throughout 2019, AT&T will boost Mobility margins through its premium unlimited data plans and by being disciplined in its device promotions. Conversely, AT&T continues to lose video subscribers to over-the-top platforms, but the operator’s higher DIRECTV price points will help strengthen Entertainment Group margins. — Steve Vachon, Analyst

Thursday

  • TBR’s first public sector IT services report of the quarter, Raytheon Intelligence, Information & Services (IIS), will discuss how Raytheon’s IIS business group continues to deliver market-leading fiscal performance, despite the run-off of a major defense sector support contract. IIS delivered double-digit top-line growth in 1Q19, driven principally by continued robust expansion of its core cybersecurity and space programs. Growth in these key sectors, particularly in the classified arena, was critical in enabling IIS to deflect the impact of declining work volumes on the Warfighter Field Operations Customer Support program, though the wind down of this program will become increasingly taxing during 2019. Meanwhile, a newly centralized base of operations in the United Arab Emirates will generate mindshare and market share gains for Raytheon in the Middle East while the company positions itself at the forefront of the 5G revolution in federal IT as the premier contractor to escort defense agencies into the 5G era. Finally, Raytheon is targeting the lucrative European security market as an opportunity to leverage its cyber leadership and expand international sales. — John Caucis, Senior Analyst
  • Cisco strengthens its portfolio by attaching services to new product offerings to capture data center, IT infrastructure and workplace transformation engagements. However, declines within its deferred revenue signal the company could face challenges in maintaining services revenue expansion. — Kelly Lesiczka, Analyst
  • Capgemini continues to sustain its profitable growth through an operating model based on three pillars: a unified go-to-market strategy that presents one face to the client and sells the entire Capgemini portfolio, industry focus, and an agile and competitive portfolio. Changes Capgemini made during 2018 to its portfolio, organizational structure and sales model enable the company to address rising demand from clients’ business side and strengthen relationships with clients to expand wallet share. Offering industry expertise, such as through the new Unified Commerce Solution for Grocery, enables Capgemini to attract clients’ C-Suites by addressing their business-specific needs. Capgemini has a competitive portfolio and global services capabilities around fast-growing and emerging solutions and revitalized core outsourcing offerings that will continue to drive revenue growth for the company. — Elitsa Bakalova, Senior Analyst
  • Industry specialization is becoming a central focus of Atos’ strategy as the company articulates and delivers digital value and customer excellence leveraging its technology expertise and partnerships in areas such as security, cloud, IoT and quantum computing. One of Atos’ strengths is its ability to strictly execute on the plans it sets for its financial performance over three-year horizons and present consistent messaging to the industry analyst community. TBR expects Atos to execute on its plan to provide clients with innovative solutions that enable technology-powered strategies and business models. Deconsolidating Worldline as a stand-alone business as of Jan. 1 is a logical move that will have an immediate positive impact and enable Atos to focus on its core digital services activities. — Elitsa Bakalova, Senior Analyst
  • Despite the maturing smartphone market and competition from new mobile virtual network operators such as Xfinity Mobile and Spectrum Mobile, significant opportunity remains for T-Mobile to sustain subscriber growth, exemplified by the company gaining higher postpaid phone net additions in 1Q19 compared to 1Q18. Decreased postpaid phone churn, which has been lower than that of AT&T the past two consecutive quarters, is a main driver of T-Mobile’s higher net additions, as customers are becoming more satisfied with T-Mobile’s service options, network coverage and customer service. — Steve Vachon, Analyst
  • The strength of its broadband business will enable Comcast to sustain Cable Communications revenue growth through 2020 despite continued video subscriber losses as consumers shift to over-the-top offerings. Comcast will also sustain revenue growth long term through the company’s burgeoning businesses, including Xfinity Mobile, Xfinity Home and its machineQ IoT venture. — Steve Vachon, Analyst

Friday

  • Fujitsu Services benefits from portfolio investments but needs to reorient its focus on client retention to sustain growth. We expect Fujitsu will look to its services portfolio offerings and onshore centers, showcasing its technology expertise to create differentiation and extract additional wallet share as well as generate opportunities outside its traditional client base. — Kelly Lesiczka, Analyst

TBR Weekly Preview: April 29-May 3

Two weeks in a row cranking out tons of analysis around technology companies, their strategies and performances, and how we see the market changing constantly. As always, connect directly with the analysts if you have questions.

Monday

  • In TBR’s 1Q19 Fujitsu Cloud Initial Response, we discuss Fujitsu’s strategy and next moves after its decision last October to stop international sales of K5. An increasingly strategic partnership with Microsoft coupled with continued enhancements to its data center and managed services businesses and capabilities will be ever more critical to the vendor’s long-term success outside Japan. — Cassandra Mooshian, Senior Analyst, Cloud and Software Team

Tuesday

  • In TBR’s 1Q19 Alphabet (Google) Initial Response, we track Alphabet’s ability to supplement core advertising revenue with sales of its Hardware products, Cloud services and YouTube subscriptions, as well as its investments in original and licensed video content that have begun to pressure margins. Alphabet’s Other Bets also comes into focus as the company leverages investments in the businesses within this segment, such as Waymo autonomous driving, Verily life sciences and Wing drone delivery, to create revenue streams that are sustainable over the long term. — Michael Soper, Senior Analyst, Telecom Team
  • Leidos begins 2019 with a renewed focus on growth and continued robust activity within its public sector healthcare business. TBR’s 1Q19 Leidos Initial Response will highlight two new collaborations to illustrate the increasing strategic importance of healthcare in Leidos’ revamped growth strategy, as well as updates on the company’s ongoing consolidation of its physical assets in the U.S. and expansion of its footprint in the U.K. — John Caucis, Senior Analyst, Professional Services Team
  • Digital marketing services (DMS) remains a growth opportunity — expected to reach $132 billion by 2023 — as CX-related content deployment advances to maturity. In TBR’s 2Q19 Digital Transformation Insights Report: DMS, TBR benchmarks 19 vendors that are well positioned to increase their share of the addressable DMS market, which on average expanded in revenue 22% year-to-year in 4Q18, through 2023.— Boz Hristov,Senior Analyst, Professional Services Team

Wednesday

  • In TBR’s 1Q19 Apple Initial Response, we will report on Apple’s efforts to shift toward a more services-oriented model as it combats slower product revenue due to lengthening smartphone ownership cycles and global saturation. While Apple’s extensive ecosystem puts it into a strong position to enter the vast content services ecosystem, the company will have to navigate busy service and content markets and overcome experienced and embedded competitors, such as Netflix, Amazon and Spotify. — Daniel Callahan, Analyst, Devices and IoT Team 

Thursday

  • With nearly $1 billion in new acquisitions in 1Q19, M&A is once again taking center stage in CACI’s overall growth strategy, enabling the company to align well with shifting defense and intelligence priorities emphasizing agile solution development, accelerated acquisitions cycles, and advanced communications and security products for warfighting and intelligence missions.  TBR will have in-depth analysis of CACI’s most recent acquisitions to expand its portfolio of cyber, electronic warfare and communications intelligence capabilities in our 1Q19 CACI Initial Response. — John Caucis, Senior Analyst, Professional Services Team

Friday

  • Cognizant’s strategic framework is in place, enabling the company to capture and accelerate digital opportunities. The recent acquisition of Meritsoft, which will add SaaS capabilities to its Digital Operations arsenal, reaffirms Cognizant’s commitment to digital and will help the company expand its digital platforms within its addressable market. — Kelly Lesiczka, Analyst, Professional Services Team 
  • Steady expansion of the number of clients in Tata Consultancy Services’ (TCS) largest segments illustrates the continued traction of TCS’ Business 4.0 framework, designed to drive digital enablement. TBR’s 1Q19 TCS report will discuss hiring trends and margin projections during the remainder of 2019. — Kevin Collupy, Analyst, Professional Services Team
  • As Infosys evolves its value proposition and go-to-market strategy, investments in AI, cloud and design thinking remain at the forefront of company executives’ agenda. A recent uptick in performance, evidenced by the healthy pipeline of large deals the company signed in FY19 for a total contract value of $6.28 billion, gives Infosys the confidence to invest and tout capabilities in new areas to secure long-term growth through product-enabled services. Doubling down on its position on the services supply side through investments in innovative portfolio offerings could help Infosys solidify its standing as a trusted outsourcer as it converts bookings to cash.
  • Boz Hristov, Senior Analyst, Professional Services Team

This week TBR will also publish several special reports on recent analyst events, including PwC’s Risk Summit and EY’s annual analyst event.

TBR Weekly Preview: April 22-26

This week is one of the busiest weeks of the year for us, with plenty of earnings calls and scheduled benchmark publications.

Tuesday

  • TBR’s Cloud Professional Services Benchmark highlights the leading vendors — and strategies — in each cloud professional services market as well as how evolving customer demands are fundamentally disruptive to the market as a whole. Enterprises are increasingly looking for vendors to supplement labor-intensive activities with automation to speed time to delivery and keep costs at bay, forcing vendors to establish more repeatable software and delivery frameworks. While Accenture and IBM continue to lead the market, regional systems integrators and cloud vendors themselves continue to build their solution sets, aiming to close the gap the two leaders have on the market. — Senior Analyst Cassandra Mooshian
  • Under new CEO Hans Vestberg, Verizon is streamlining its operations and go-to-market strategies to highlight its strengths as a provider of premium network services. Verizon’s renewed focus on core services follows prior attempts to create growth engines via ventures such as Oath and go90, which ultimately fell short of expectations. TBR’s 1Q19 Verizon Initial Response will examine how Verizon’s restructuring strategies are impacting the company’s profitability and will include assessment on the operator’s early 5G initiatives. — Analyst Steve Vachon

Wednesday

  • Market challenges and shifting consumer preferences are impacting investments AT&T has been relying on to sustain long-term revenue growth. For instance, DIRECTV continues to shed satellite customers and struggles to retain DIRECTV NOW subscribers amid the multitude of other over-the-top services in the market. WarnerMedia and Xandr will serve as new growth engines but will face market challenges as WarnerMedia’s streaming service competes against rival offerings such as Netflix and Disney+ and Xandr is challenged by the duopoly of Facebook and Google in the digital advertising market. In TBR’s 1Q19 AT&T Initial Response, we will analyze how AT&T’s WarnerMedia and DIRECTV initiatives are impacting the company’s overall financial performance and assess the operator’s growth initiatives in areas including 5G, IoT and NFV/SDN. — Steve Vachon

Thursday

  • To drive cloud revenue growth in the next two years, Accenture’s Cloud practice will rely on its business-centric approach and ability to provide multicloud managed services. At the same time proper pricing scope and staff management are must-haves for Accenture to remain competitive. — Senior Analyst Boz Hristov
  • Industry specialization is becoming a central focus of Atos’ strategy as the company articulates and delivers digital value and customer excellence leveraging its technology expertise and partnerships in areas such as security, cloud, IoT and quantum computing. One of Atos’ strengths, which TBR will highlight in this quarter’s initial response, is its ability to strictly execute on the plans it sets for its financial performance over three-year horizons and present consistent messaging to the industry analyst community. — Senior Analyst Elitsa Bakalova
  • TBR expects Capgemini will sustain revenue growth through dynamic portfolio management while further improving profitability during 2019. Capgemini is positioning as a leading IT services vendor for clients facing mission-critical challenges. Capgemini helps clients reach their business goals by deepening industry specialization, approaching clients’ C-Suites and selling solutions across the portfolio. — Elitsa Bakalova
  • In TBR’s semiannual Global Delivery Benchmark, we report that to sustain revenue growth, vendors have been transitioning from human capital-focused to technology-enabled organizations. However, vendors increasingly struggle to balance navigating the automation-enabled services market with meeting stakeholders’ expectations, forced to use labor arbitrage again. — Boz Hristov

Friday

  • Digging into Atos’ Cloud practice, TBR notes that Atos seems to have solidified its cloud strategy and doubled down on its cloud go-to-market efforts over the past year, particularly benefiting from its partnership with Google Cloud and the Syntel acquisition in North America as well as opportunities to capitalize on bringing its cloud solutions and capabilities to Syntel’s customer base in the region, which is underpenetrated by Atos. The challenge, however, will be for Atos to establish, build and maintain brand awareness in North America, particularly as the region is arguably the most saturated cloud market globally.
  • We reported in 4Q18 that Fujitsu Services continued to rely on its Japan client base as a primary driver of revenue expansion. TBR expects the same will be true in 1Q19 as Fujitsu reorients its talent in Europe, impacting its sales strategy and access to clients outside of primary focus areas in onshore Europe. While the shift will improve Fujitsu’s marketing and sales efforts in onshore EMEA, Fujitsu Services revenue could face challenges from the losses in offshore areas.

This week TBR will also publish 1Q19 initial responses on public sector-focused and healthcare IT services-centric vendors. Our senior analyst in these areas summed up developments in both as follows:

  • Recent and ongoing actions by benchmarked public sector vendors (e.g., Northrop Grumman, General Dynamics) illustrate the priority equivalence of portfolio reshaping, enhancing operational efficiencies, and optimizing supply and service delivery chains to maintain growth and competitiveness in an evolving government IT investment environment. Some providers are allowing low-value contracts on their books to expire without replacement to reposition their business mix upmarket and away from increasingly commoditized technology areas. Despite the turmoil generated by the 35-day partial government shutdown, federal IT vendors saw their primary customer beginning fiscal year 2019 with a budget for the Department of Defense (DOD) in place and, for the first time in a decade, without a continuing resolution. The enhanced stability and predictability of the DOD spending environment is buoying the outlook for defense-focused contractors across the board and generating confidence about 2019.
  • Healthcare IT services (HITS) vendors are finding increasing difficulty scaling revenues from existing provider clients simply on the coattails of prior health IT investments. Not only have health systems adopted a more judicious approach to their IT budgeting, but the burden is also increasing on health IT vendors to deliver maximum ROI with every engagement. Pockets of growth exist and new ones are emerging, even as the overall trend in health IT spend moderates. Average contract sizes are slowly expanding for several health IT vendors, particularly the electronic health record (EHR)-centric companies that are seeing more frequent services expansions with existing clients. The diversification of health IT contracts is also forcing vendors to streamline go-to-market approaches for selling wide-ranging solution categories and simplify the process for existing clients to work with them. The maturity of the U.S. EHR market (industry observers estimate 95% of hospitals and 87% of physician practices now have some kind of EHR system in place) is also pressuring HITS vendors to increase R&D to develop new solutions geared toward the impending industry adoption of value-based care and fee-for-value models of care remuneration and delivery.

Commoditization economics and emerging workloads disrupt the data center landscape

Commoditization mitigation strategies require business model shifts and an ever-watchful eye on exascale cloud entrants

Volume or value?

Toward the end of 2018 in the data center market, two distinct vendor strategies emerged: Vendors began either increasing sales volume or selling lower-volume but higher-value solutions. TBR believes that in 1H19, now that vendors have determined their camps, they will begin to craft competitive strategies directly targeting specific peers. For example, Dell EMC has publicly stated its intent to increase its market share in both servers and storage, and we believe the vendor will target key competitors to gain this share. Similarly, Lenovo’s large-scale data center investments imply significant competitive goals.

In February Lenovo unveiled TruScale Infrastructure Services. This directly competes with Hewlett Packard Enterprise’s (HPE) GreenLake and Dell EMC’s Cloud Flex. It also addresses customer demand for private cloud infrastructure that is financed like a public cloud offering. TruScale is available for Lenovo’s entire stack of data center infrastructure solutions. In April Lenovo unveiled a server portfolio refresh, which likely reinforces its TruScale solutions and increases its competitive edge against Dell EMC and HPE.

TBR believes that during the next few months, Dell EMC and HPE will fight back against Lenovo’s marketing tactics to preserve market share. HPE has an advantage in that it is pursuing value-centric data center sales, so it is likely willing to concede less-profitable sales to Lenovo or Dell EMC. Dell EMC’s stated objective to increase market share in servers and storage will increase competition between the company and Lenovo as both aim to scoop up HPE’s lower-margin customers.

ODM participation heats up as commoditization drives provisioning simplicity

Because data center hardware becomes increasingly commoditized as software capabilities become more advanced, we believe data center vendors will increasingly find themselves competing against ODMs, especially for larger deals. Smaller customers will still show a preference for OEMs as they need the additional software and services provided with OEM data center solutions. Lenovo’s manufacturing capabilities give the company an advantage in the hyperscale space, where Lenovo’s past financials illustrated some successes, and enable the vendor to differentiate from its OEM peers.

On the hyperscale front, ODMs are rising to dominance, but OEMs such as Lenovo remain a force to be reckoned with in the space. As cloud becomes an increasingly central piece of IT environments, public cloud providers seek ways to expand their environments as cost-effectively as possible to preserve profits. TBR believes very large enterprises are likely to explore leveraging hyperscale vendors as well for their on-premises environments if it is cost-effective.

Consumption-based pricing models tie to the commoditization march

TBR’s Hyperconverged Platforms Customer Research continues to highlight the correlation between private cloud installments and HCI. Most recent findings indicated that 80% of respondents leveraged their HCI purchase for a private or hybrid cloud environment. Since customers are already turning to HCI for cloud, it is a logical next step for vendors to price HCI like a public cloud solution to deepen the competition.

With their channel partners also engaged, Dell EMC, HPE and Lenovo are the three main players in the consumption-based pricing space. Their solutions are not limited to just HCI, but HCI is one of the solutions that can be purchased in this manner. The key value proposition of consumption-based pricing for data center vendors is the ability to bundle software and services into hardware consumption-based deals. This is likely to boost the margin on the solutions. Further, it guarantees larger deals, as in many cases, these consumption-based pricing deals lock customers in for a predetermined duration that has early termination penalties.

TBR Weekly Preview: April 1-5

As we start into the second quarter, we will be examining companies’ 1Q19 earnings as they release. For this week, look for more benchmarks and special reports.  

Friday

  • In our quarterly Healthcare IT Services Benchmark, we note that healthcare IT services vendors are finding it increasing difficult to scale revenues from existing provider clients simply on the coattails of prior health IT investments. Not only have health systems adopted a more judicious approach to their IT budgeting, but the burden is increasing on health IT vendors to deliver maximum ROI with every engagement. Pockets of growth do exist and new ones are emerging, even as the overall trend in health IT spend moderates. The benchmark scenario points out that the ground continues to shift beneath the feet of both health plans and their IT services vendors alike as digitization takes hold, mHealth tools are employed by increasingly tech-savvy health plan members, and the insights from data analytics become the new currency.
  • TBR’s 4Q18 Data Center Benchmark highlights the performance of key players in the data center infrastructure market. In our 4Q18 PowerPoint and Excel report bundle, technology spotlights include some recent developments in the quantum computing and high-performance computing spaces that will impact, whether directly or indirectly, the data center market landscape in the coming years. Additional highlights include the impact of the newly launched Lenovo-NetApp joint venture in China, the IBM Z product cycle, and the growing implications of political tensions on data center vendors’ financial performance. (Contact Stephanie Long for more analysis.)

If you missed the Accenture initial report from last week, see the TBR website.