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With Nuance, Microsoft buys into healthcare and more

Microsoft announced its second largest acquisition in company history on April 12 with its intent to purchase Nuance Communications for $19.7 billion. Nuance’s presence in the healthcare vertical was touted as driving the move, but TBR believes much deeper and broader strategies were behind Microsoft’s decision.

Buying Nuance gives Microsoft an opportunity, but not a guarantee, to sustain growth

The announced acquisition of Nuance is the culmination of multiple elements of Microsoft’s recent performance, strategy and growth plans. On performance, Microsoft has benefitted from the COVID-19 pandemic perhaps more than any other technology vendor. Technology demands of businesses and consumers reacting to the pandemic boosted nearly all of Microsoft’s sprawling businesses, aside from an initial downturn in advertising spend that negativly impacted the LinkedIn business. From a strategy perspective, industry specialization has been a growing focus for Microsoft over the past five years, which is a shift in its mostly horizontal technology approach throughout its long history. Healthcare has been a frequent focus, but so too have retail, manufacturing and financial services specialization.

Lastly, in growth, Microsoft has been searching for the next $10 billion plus growth business. Microsoft Office 365 and Azure are clearly carrying Microsoft’s financial performance to date, but new addressable markets are needed to carry corporate growth and profitability for the next decade. While Nuance itself cannot assume that burden, the capabilities Microsoft will acquire will make many of its core technologies relevant to a much wider audience and set of use cases. In this way, the purchase of Nuance is similar to that of LinkedIn, with the full value of the investment hinging on successfully leveraging the technology to benefit as many other business units as possible.

Healthcare is large and ripe for IT investment

Unsurprisingly, healthcare has a profound impact on modern society, with an industry size to reflect that. In the U.S. alone, healthcare spending was $3.8 trillion in 2019, representing 17.7% of total gross domestic product (GDP). Furthermore, healthcare spending increased by 4.6% in 2019, a rate far outpacing growth of the overall economy.

Those facts are only part of the reason healthcare is such an attractive market for IT companies. While many verticals have fully embraced technology-driven transformation over the past decade, healthcare has been much slower to change. While technology has fundamentally changed the retail experience and business model, healthcare’s core operations and customer experience have remained much the same. Delaying this maturity in part are the strict regulations, such as the Health Insurance Portability and Accountability Act (HIPAA), which healthcare entities in the U.S. must meet, creating substantial risk for any IT budget decision makers planning to modernize their environments with cloud, let alone pursue innovative technologies such as IoT to improve the care they provide to patients.

There are glimmers of promise that the healthcare vertical is ready to begin transformations driven by increased technology adoption. Part of the shift is a generational change in doctors and providers. The influence that doctors have within the healthcare industry is one of the attributes that makes the healthcare vertical unique. Generational change among the physician ranks is having an outsized impact on the acceptance of technology within healthcare, but that is only one of the factors pointing to an increase in technology adoption.

Outside of shifting perception, the impact of COVID-19 has forced hospitals and patients alike to embrace solutions that have been around for years but are now a necessity to maintaining the patient-doctor relationship and safety, such as telemedicine. And with all major cloud technology providers offering HIPAA compliance, along with an ecosystem of partners that can leverage those delivery platforms, the aforementioned regulatory requirements are now less of a barrier in slow technology adoption.

IoT is helping improve supply chains, smart city infrastructure and healthcare, with growth in energy, public and manufacturing

3Q20 vertical takeaways

Global organizations are battling supply chain issues due to COVID-19. IoT will continue to play a role in enhancing supply chains to help increase long-term resilience in the event of future pandemics or other disruptions. Automation in manufacturing and other verticals continues to be a major trend. Although some companies may have previously been reluctant to use robots due to concerns over the threat to people’s jobs, the pandemic has required businesses to find ways to maintain supply chains and productivity with less human interaction.

The healthcare vertical will continue to rapidly adopt IoT devices and solutions during the pandemic to help medical systems cope with the high volume of patients. Telehealth solutions remain in high demand, as do IoT solutions that are capable of monitoring changes in patient medical data as part of preventive medical treatments and otherwise delivering more efficient patient care.

Smart cities continue to look to IoT to increase public safety and assist with various public operations, including first responders and traffic equipment. However, smart cities increasingly need an overarching main IoT platform to better manage all the IoT sensor and camera deployments, which will help improve the real-time data analysis.

The Commercial IoT Market Landscape delivers overall market and top vertical insights, including identifying key use cases as well as trends in technology and buyer behavior. The landscape also captures the top public deals within those verticals and the lead vendors associated with them.

Two Back, Three Forward: Go-to-market strategies matter now more than ever

In our new weekly blog series Two Back, Three Forward, we look at two numbers in TBR reports from the prior week as well as three numbers from our upcoming reports, highlighting the analysis TBR provides and the vast amount of data — the numbers — we’re working with every day. It’s all about the data and what that data means to you.

Two Back

13, questions answered during our recent Digital Transformation Insights webinar: After presenting findings around digital transformation customers’ adoption of AI services and discussing some of the challenges across the market, Principal Analyst and Practice Manager Patrick Heffernan and Senior Analyst Boz Hristov fielded questions from attendees on industry-specific examples, selling software “as a Service,” understanding resource planning by both IT services vendors and their customers, and more. If you missed the webinar, check out the replay here.

4.34, total average TBR score for T-Systems: T-Systems is rated “challenged versus peers” in only Financial Model, one of the three categories on which TBR scores companies it tracks; the company scored essentially average in Go-to-market & Services and Resource Management.The company’s score has steadily crept upward. According to Analyst Kelly Lesiczka, “T-Systems continues down the path of transformation to improve its business operations and management as well as realign its portfolio to support growth areas such as IoT, security and cloud. We expect the overall score will increase behind go-to-market improvements, specifically in revenue and revenue growth.”

Three Forward

60.7%, Dell Technologies Services’ North America revenue, as a percentage of overall global revenue: As detailed in TBR’s upcoming full report, Dell Technologies’ $1.8 billion North Americas revenue in 4Q19 reflects continued success in driving new business and attached services opportunities in the region, benefited by the company’s robust partner ecosystem and traction from its sales and go-to-market strategies. In contrast, Dell Technologies’ revenue flattened in EMEA and declined in APAC for the third consecutive quarter. Macroeconomic conditions in those regions do not bode well for a turnaround in early 2020. 

30K, cloud projects completed by Accenture and curated for the company’s MyNav tool: Hristov’s upcoming event perspective on Accenture’s 2020 Technology Symposium will include his assessment of the MyWizard, MyConcerto and MyNav tools. Additionally, he will explain what it means to Accenture that every company is a technology company and how cloud sits at the heart of innovation.

$5B, the price of DXC Technology’s announced sale of its State & Local Health and Human Services business to Veritas: In January we noted DXC Technology’s intention to sell off parts of its healthcare IT services business and predicted the state and local practice would remain intact at DXC, based on its sustained success and apparent profitability. In a future blog, TBR will re-evaluate its overall position on DXC Technology as well as the vendor’s placement in our Healthcare IT Services Benchmark.

AI, Accenture and Amazon: HITS acquisitions update 2020

Accenture’s steady appetite, Amazon’s potential new offering and Google’s uncertain moves

Accenture’s acquisition of Clarity Insights follows the company’s INTIENT purchase and rounds out a typically active acquisition year for one of the leaders in TBR’s HITS benchmark. Clarity Insights brings Accenture AI and machine learning capabilities, 350 healthcare data scientists, and healthcare industry clients. As noted in our most recent full report on Accenture’s HITS business, “Accenture targeted the AI opportunity in life sciences in mid-2019, launching its INTIENT platform for collecting, storing, monitoring and analyzing data from life sciences clients’ business environments. The platform leverages Accenture Applied Intelligence to provide AI and analytics services, improving efficiency and data management.” Beyond extending Accenture’s capabilities, the Clarity Insights acquisition reinforces Accenture’s strategy around AI and life sciences that the INTIENT purchase supported. The report adds, “TBR believes Accenture must foster industry-specific partnerships to extend the capabilities of INTIENT and drive traction for the platform in the industry.” TBR will closely track how Accenture’s partnerships evolve and how the company drives new revenue based on these acquisitions.

Echoing Accenture’s focus on AI, Amazon acquired Health Navigator, a platform designed to foster more expeditious collaboration between healthcare providers and patients, in part through natural language processing and enhanced analytics. Amazon reportedly purchased the company amid efforts to build out Amazon Care, its in-house healthcare services, which it launched in September 2019. On the surface, Amazon’s healthcare-related acquisitions and moves denote neither an immediate threat to traditional HITS vendors nor a clear signal Amazon intends to become a different kind of player in the HITS space. Analyzing Amazon only on the surface would be foolishly shortsighted. Once the company irons out the challenges within Amazon Care, including fully integrating Health Navigator, TBR expects the company will craft a new offering for Amazon clients, potentially starting first with healthcare joint venture partners JPMorgan (NYSE: JPM) and Berkshire Hathaway (NYSE: BRK.A; NYSE: BRK.B). At 1.2 million employees for those three companies combined, Amazon would have a sizable test bed for enhancing current capabilities and developing new offerings. If Amazon can demonstrate an ability to provide top-notch healthcare services for its own employees and a few select partners, every household will wonder if the first step in getting healthcare should start with, “Alexa …”     

In acquiring Fitbit, Alphabet (Google) alarmed some data privacy and industry analysts concerned that the search engine and advertising giant bought the wearables company to gain access to massive amounts of personal, and specifically healthcare-related, data. Both companies’ executives declared data protections would be unchanged and the underlying reasons for the acquisition centered on Fitbit’s expertise and intellectual property around wearable devices and health-tracking applications, platforms and user experience. In TBR’s view, acquiring Fitbit conforms with Google’s overall expansion strategy and specifically boosts the company’s potential role in the overall HITS space. Enhancing Fitbit’s platform with Google’s AI capabilities could further minimize perennial HITS challenges, such as around data privacy and population health, but only if Google can manage the delicate tasks of leveraging user data without violating privacy, crafting and enhancing algorithms that improve the user experience, and maintaining the streamlined seamless flexibility of Fitbit even as the data flows into the highly regulated healthcare ecosystem.  

Traditional business models continue shifting for management consultancies

This week TBR publishes its semiannual Management Consulting Benchmark, and Senior Analyst Elitsa Bakalova notes the following: “Vendors compete for holistic transformation opportunities and expand the breadth of their portfolios and resources to provide clients with offerings that augment consulting value propositions by integrating consulting with IP-based solutions and managed services. As consulting teams continue to diversify, combining consultants with data scientists, designers and solution architects, vendors’ strategies around human resource management will prove increasingly vital to long-term success. Recruitment will need to be paired with employee engagement initiatives, corporate social responsibility tactics and performance management systems that attract and retain top employees.”

Additional assessments publishing this week from our analyst teams

“DXC Technology’s leadership, headed by the company’s new CEO Mike Salvino, is actively pursuing strategic alternatives for three of DXC’s businesses: U.S., state and local health and human services; business process services; and workplace and mobility. TBR believes DXC’s decision to spin off these businesses will provide the vendor with much-needed capital to continue to scale out its digital healthcare portfolio, particularly as it comes under increasing competition from digitally fluent vendors including Allscripts and Cerner in core markets, such as electronic health records (EHR).” — Kevin Collupy, Analyst

“As Deloitte morphs its value proposition toward an ‘as a Services’ firm, bundling proprietary IP in service contracts helps it drive profitable growth. At the same time, attaining and retaining IT trained staff can prove difficult for a legacy consulting firm, compelling Deloitte to explore new ways to increase retention.” – Boz Hristov, Senior Analyst

5G benefits in healthcare industry

The 5G network will augment the facilities in healthcare, however, according to technology business Research’s Antlitz, CIOs should not consider telemedicine as a ‘low hanging fruit’.

“5G can revolutionize healthcare from that perspective,” commented Antlitz. “It’s basically just video conferencing. It’s a real-time, high-resolution, no buffering type experience that you can’t get with 4G.”

Full article

TBR Weekly Preview: March 18-22

In addition to this week’s vendor analysis, TBR Senior Analyst John Caucis will host a webinar Wednesday, March 20, sharing his insights on the state of the healthcare IT services market and the 2019 HIMSS mega-event. 

Furthermore, TBR analysts will be attending several events this week, so be on the lookout for special reports on Accenture, SAP and Oracle as early as next week.

Monday

  • Despite its top-tier innovation and optimistic messaging, Oracle struggles to find incremental growth outside its cloud ERP portfolio. While traction around autonomous database builds, these ERP inroads present an opportunity for Oracle to more effectively craft a story across its integrated cloud applications and platform capabilities. TBR’s initial findings can be accessed today, but read more on the subject in our 1Q19 Oracle Cloud full report publishing in April. (Meaghan McGrath leads TBR’s analysis of Oracle.)

Wednesday

  • HP Inc. delivered corporate growth of 1.3% year-to-year, a significant slowdown after five quarters of double-digit growth. During the company’s 4Q18 earnings call, executives discussed challenges within HP Inc.’s profitable print supplies business, but slowed growth in its commercial printing and overall PC businesses indicates the problem is broader. Slowing consolidation opportunities and rising opposition from its peers in the PC market will increasingly challenge HP Inc., whose PC business composes most of its top line. In addition, the CPU shortage has been more impactful to HP Inc.’s wider portfolio. Read our full report to find how HP Inc. will navigate these challenges throughout 2019, including growing its Device as a Service portfolio and supporting its sales channels to build a bulwark for upcoming PC share wars. (See Dan Callahan for more analysis.)

Thursday

  • According to TBR estimates, Dell Technologies achieved $23.8 billion in revenue, up 8.6% year-to-year in 4Q18. Gross profit increased 20.7% year-to-year, highlighting Dell Technologies’ successful improvement in overall profitability. In TBR’s 4Q18 full report on the company, we will dive into the performance of key business units. Within Infrastructure Solutions Group (ISG), TBR believes aggressive market share expansion in both servers and storage will be a key focus for at least the first half of 2019, which will result in investments in direct sales, ISG’s channel partner program and portfolio enhancements. In Client Solutions Group, Dell Technologies will continue to benefit from shrinking memory prices as well as the CPU shortages, which will drive profitability up during 2019. From a corporate perspective, 2019 will see tightened integration between the vendor’s strategically aligned companies. (See Stephanie Long for more analysis.)
  • In this quarter’s analysis of Dell EMC Services, TBR will highlight how Dell Technologies integrating preconfigured services solutions around core infrastructure technology competencies enables Dell EMC Services to attach profitable and recurring services revenue streams. (Kevin Collupy leads TBR’s analysis of Dell EMC Services.)
  • In 4Q18 Hewlett Packard Enterprise (HPE) reported corporate revenue of $7.6 billion, down 1.6% year-to-year. TBR estimates total cloud revenue reached $1.9 billion, up 3.1% year-to-year, as HPE continued to invest in its cloud portfolio and capitalize on customer demand for hybrid IT solutions. HPE’s leaner business and ongoing restructuring efforts through HPE Next allow HPE Cloud to focus on and invest further in its core areas of strength, namely hybrid infrastructure and edge computing for IoT and telecommunications use cases. (Cassandra Mooshian leads TBR’s coverage of HPE Cloud.)
  • VMware’s top-line growth continues to outpace that of its software peers in TBR’s Infrastructure Management Software Vendor Benchmark. In 4Q18 VMware experienced its strongest quarter since 3Q14, with revenue growth of 16.4% year-to-year to $2.6. Revenue growth was buoyed by strong adoption across VMware’s emerging product lines, with vSAN revenue growing 60% year-to-year and Hybrid Cloud and SaaS revenue growing 35% in the same time period. Further, the company is successfully packaging solutions around hybrid management to increase deal sizes and reported a company-record 23 deals in excess of $10 million during the quarter. (Cassandra Mooshian leads TBR’s coverage of VMware.)
  • Huawei is taking a prominent role in setting standards for 5G and launching solutions to help operators implement 5G services, which has led to key early commercial 5G-related contracts in EMEA and APAC. While security concerns around 5G will persist, Huawei will continue to grow revenue in 2019 largely due to its Consumer and Enterprise business units, which are taking share from incumbents.(Michael Soper leads TBR’s coverage of Huawei.)

Friday

  • According to TBR’s 1Q19 Telecom IoT Market Landscape, TBR estimates global communication service provider (CSP) IoT revenue rose 25.6% year-to-year to $22.3 billion in 2018. Despite sustaining strong revenue growth, TBR estimates global CSP IoT revenue accounted for only 1% of consolidated global CSP revenue in 2018, which is insufficient for most service providers to offset erosion within challenged segments such as legacy network services. To maximize IoT revenue opportunities long term, CSPs are focusing on attracting customers by implementing more cost-efficient network technologies such as NB-IoT and LTE-M, targeting high-value contracts in areas such as smart cities and healthcare, and by positioning to support next-generation IoT solutions integrating technologies such as 5G and edge computing. (Steve Vachon is TBR’s lead analyst covering the Telecom IoT space.)

TBR Weekly Preview: March 4-8

As we start winding down beginning-of-the-year earnings calls, here’s what you can expect from the TBR team this week:

Tuesday:

  • In 3Q18 TBR noted Salesforce built on its industry-specific strategies by releasing Financial Services Cloud for retail banking and by expanding its target audience for Education Cloud. Salesforce’s ongoing innovation to address vertical use cases and ability to understand customers’ business needs enabled the vendor to execute multiproduct deals in 4Q18. TBR expects Salesforce will close 4Q18 with $12.2 billion in annual revenue, keeping the vendor on track to attain its $21 billion to $23 billion annual revenue goal in 2021. (See Jack McElwee for more analysis.)
  • Google Cloud’s hiring of Thomas Kurian as CEO (replacing Diane Greene) is meant to attract enterprise customers and facilitate stronger competition at scale with Amazon Web Services and Microsoft; Kurian, former Oracle president of Product Development, brings deep understanding and detailed messaging on the technical and business impacts of cloud. TBR’s 4Q18 report will detail Google Cloud’s continued innovation among its core AI and ML portfolios while partnering and leveraging Kurian’s clout to gain enterprise mindshare, which will be increasingly critical to long-term success. (For everything Google and cloud, see Cassandra Mooshian.)

Thursday:

  • Cisco continues to grow revenue as it transforms itself through acquisitions, divestments and new product releases that enable the company to reduce its reliance on hardware — a commoditizing market — and embrace software. TBR’s 4Q18 Cisco report will include deep dives on Cisco’s most recent acquisitions, including Luxtera, which will help Cisco attract more webscale spend and improve the performance of its proprietary-based solutions, as well as Ensoft and Singularity Networks, which will broaden Cisco’s software capabilities in the service provider space. (Mike Soper leads TBR’s analysis on Cisco.)
  • TBR will also report on Cisco Services and the company’s expansion around software and next-generation solutions, which has created advisory and implementation opportunities that enabled Cisco Services to accelerate growth in 2018. An increase in software-related services as well as adoption of next-generation secure and intelligent platforms and products that support clients’ digital business will create attached services opportunities for Cisco Services, driving revenue expansion throughout 2019. (For more on Cisco Services, see Kelly Lesiczka.)
  • TBR’s latest report on Perspecta will provide an update on how the fledgling company is managing the task of integrating three legacy organizations into a unified whole. In past reports, we have talked about how the company’s innovation incubator, Perspecta Labs, underpins its long-term position in the federal services landscape. Our 4Q18 Perspecta report will dive more deeply into how the company introduces Perspecta Labs to its biggest client, the U.S. Navy, in advance of the recompete of Perspecta’s largest contract, which entails managing the Navy Next Generation Enterprise Network. (Joey Cresta heads up TBR’s Public Sector practice.)
  • As reported in our initial response, NetApp earned $1.6 billion in revenue in 4Q18, representing a 1.6% year-to-year increase. Strong 1H18 revenue momentum enabled the vendor to achieve solid year-to-year revenue growth for 2018, demonstrating the success of some of NetApp’s strategic moves during the year. Our full report will dive into the 2018 establishment of a cloud infrastructure business unit that will enable NetApp to pivot its portfolio further in 2019, as the company, one of the few major pure play storage vendors left in the market, transforms itself to establish its brand as one that enables customers’ digital transformations. (See Stephanie Long for more analysis.)

Friday:

  • Utilizing its technology expertise and ability to address clients’ business challenges, Capgemini reached its 2018 revenue growth and profitability goals and is confidently moving into 2019. Capgemini’s bookings reached their highest level since 1Q17 in 4Q18. In the latest full report, TBR will note how the increase in bookings, combined with Capgemini’s unified go-to-market approach; enhanced offerings around digital, cloud and industry-specific solutions; and reinforced expertise via training and reskilling, will enable the company to sustain revenue growth. (Elitsa Bakalova covers Capgemini for TBR.)

Be on the lookout for additional analysis from TBR, including assessments of Accenture Technology and TELUS International. TBR’s next webinar will be held March 20 and feature Senior Analyst John Caucis talking about healthcare IT services.