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IBM Z Software: Refinancing rather than retiring technical debt increases Z relevance

Tying into a recent IBM Institute for Business Value thought leadership booklet entitled, “Incumbents Strike Back,” IBM (NYSE: IBM) has invested considerable time and effort into reminding analysts of the dominant install base IBM mainframes enjoy in large enterprises, where they transact 68% of the world’s economic activity. IBM categorizes its existing customers into three camps: those that have yet to embark on an IT modernization initiative, those that went for wholesale rip and replace at great economic cost, and those that seek to modernize ― or refinance ― their existing investment in legacy mainframe assets to prepare them for the digital business era as outlined by TBR in its recent special report The Business of One.

Wholesale rip-and-replace initiatives come at a great upfront expense that is difficult, IBM asserted, for corporate boards to justify from an ROI perspective. Rather than retire that technical debt, large enterprises seeking to migrate to digital business streams are finding a more prudent alternative to be refinancing the technical debt through application modernization. IBM hinges future mainframe revenue growth and ongoing relevance on this point, netting out the IBM Z value proposition as bringing pervasive encryption, analytics infusion across the business stack, and simple and secure connections into multiple cloud environments.

Equipment vendors continue to struggle with lower sales volume, while IT services and software-centric companies enjoy growth, thanks to digital

HAMPTON, N.H. (Jan. 5, 2018) — According to Technology Business Research, Inc.’s (TBR) 3Q17 Telecom Infrastructure Services Benchmark, leading vendors are making significant strategy changes and retrenching around their core competencies to weather subdued communication service provider (CSP) spend.

“Leading vendors are realizing they must transform themselves before they can effectively help their customers transform,” said TBR Telecom Senior Analyst Chris Antlitz. “New technologies and processes, particularly in the areas of cloud, artificial intelligence, cognitive analytics, automation and DevOps, promise significant agility, better outcomes and cost savings, and vendors must not only offer solutions that leverage these technologies to their customers but also adopt and employ these technologies internally to be credible, differentiate and remain competitive.”

Tier 1 network solution providers (NSPs) are going back to their product-led roots and doubling down on partnerships. Huawei, Ericsson and Nokia are all transitioning back to being product-led, which is an about-face from their prior strategy of being services-led. This strategy shift indicates that product-centric vendors have realized that the optimal go-to-market model is to stick to their core businesses and core competencies as much as possible and augment capabilities with partnerships.

TBR believes this strategy shift means NSPs will increase emphasis on product-attached services, which is their main telecom infrastructure services (TIS) profit pool, particularly maintenance services. This retrenchment by NSPs will also enable IT services companies to have a clearer path to capitalize on digital opportunities.

TBR’s Telecom Infrastructure Services Benchmark provides quarterly analysis of the deployment, maintenance, professional services and managed services markets for network and IT suppliers. Suppliers covered include Accenture, Amdocs, Atos, Capgemini, CGI, China Communications Services, Ciena, Cisco, CommScope, CSG International, Ericsson, Fujitsu, Hewlett Packard Enterprise, Huawei, IBM, Infosys, Juniper Networks, NEC, Nokia, Oracle, Samsung, SAP, Tata Consultancy Services, Tech Mahindra, Wipro and ZTE.

For additional information about this research or to arrange a one-on-one analyst briefing, please contact Dan Demers at +1 603.929.1166 or [email protected].

 

ABOUT TBR

Technology Business Research, Inc. is a leading independent technology market research and consulting firm specializing in the business and financial analyses of hardware, software, professional services, and telecom vendors and operators. Serving a global clientele, TBR provides timely and actionable market research and business intelligence in a format that is uniquely tailored to clients’ needs. Our analysts are available to address client-specific issues further or information needs on an inquiry or proprietary consulting basis.

TBR has been empowering corporate decision makers since 1996. For more information please visit www.tbri.com.