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Expanding into consulting: Huawei’s next strategic step

Clients’ technology uncertainties lead Huawei to expand consulting services

In discussing clients and their shifting needs and demands, Huawei leaders told TBR that while previous conversations typically started with a client’s immediate plans and end goals, Huawei’s clients now come to it with uncertainty around technologies, business changes and digital transformations. This shifting client mindset has compelled Huawei to invest more aggressively in consulting-oriented skills.

For Huawei, consulting includes helping customers transform their IT organizations and define their own values around digital transformation, with Huawei providing the foundational technology. In TBR’s view, this more technology-centric approach to consulting fits Huawei’s traditional strengths and does not require brand permission around strategy or high-level business consulting. Huawei’s leaders also noted to TBR that they believe digital transformation encompasses both business and technology changes, but the exact mix depends entirely on each client’s specific needs. By continually circling back to the vendor’s emphasis on individual clients, Huawei’s leaders reinforced their overall messaging on value, including consulting as value definition, implementation as value creation and operations as value optimization.

Previously, during TBR’s in-person visits to Shenzhen, China, and virtual meetings over the last two years, Huawei made passing mention of training, rarely singling out consulting and digital skills, except in the context of the vendor’s overall human resource management strategy.

During this year’s summit and in the follow-on discussions with TBR, Huawei’s leaders emphasized the criticality of training around digital transformation, including formal mentoring programs, enhanced client interactions, and what Huawei describes as “the Digital 9” — nine roles identified in nearly every engagement that increasingly need elevation from traditional IT to digital transformation.

Training at Huawei, like many of its technology-centric peers, includes both upskilling employees internally and certifying partners on its technology solutions. In TBR’s view, every leading vendor in the IT services space has adopted a similar ecosystemwide perspective on training. This means Huawei is aligned with prevailing industry trends, which is a critical step for a vendor with more than 30,000 reselling partners worldwide and 6,200 certified service and solutions partners that are capable of implementing solutions, according to Huawei leaders who spoke with TBR.

Huawei seeks growth outside China, even as its home country remains paramount

According to information shared during the event, Huawei’s Digitization and Technical Services revenue increased by 20% over 2021 as the vendor expanded “consulting services and vertical industry services.” In addition, the vendor noted, “Significant demand is coming from government and financial services and insurance markets, typically for supercomputing and modular data center scenarios. [Huawei’s] value proposition is based around our ability to plan, design and build data centers with low energy consumption, IT integration, data replication and disaster recovery, as well as our strong operation and maintenance capabilities.”

In discussing plans for 2022 and beyond, Huawei’s leaders explained to TBR that the vendor anticipates new growth opportunities in Eastern Europe, Southeast Asia, the Middle East and South America. As an example of the latter, Huawei’s leaders described engagements with electricity utilities outside of China. Huawei has developed expertise around digitalizing utilities’ operations, including generation, distribution and consumption, and during the summit the vendor described the Intelligent Electric Power offering as tightly interwoven with consulting partners, including Deloitte, PwC and Accenture. Notably, in June 2020, a Chinese state-owned enterprise, State Grid International Development Limited, bought one of the top four electricity distribution companies in Chile. In TBR’s view, Huawei adeptly leverages its home country’s strategic investments to further the vendor’s success abroad.

Smart Ports provide a test bed for Huawei and a massive opportunity for growth

During the summit, one particular use case stood out for TBR: Huawei’s Smart Ports solution. The Huawei executive presenting the solution noted that reducing on-site manpower demands through increased automation has proved to be both popular with clients and challenging to implement. Crane operators face long days in harsh and cramped environments, which can lead to long-term health problems. The Huawei solution, already in use in Shanghai, includes deploying remote-controlled cranes, with operators as much as 100 kilometers away from the port and, presumably, sitting in more comfortable surroundings.

Trucks, according to Huawei, present additional problems: Drivers do not get adequate rest and the work can be monotonous and boring, leading some drivers to leave for more exciting and lucrative opportunities. Working with various Chinese ports, Huawei developed an intelligent dispatching system and autonomous trucks, which stay within a port’s confines. As the first live test case, Huawei operates over 70 autonomous trucks in Shenzhen’s port. Lastly, Huawei leaders noted that port planning can also prove critical to reducing operational costs and enhancing overall port safety, leading the vendor to develop a cloud-based AI tool for planning and optimizing traffic within the port. Reduced planning time, according to Huawei, equals reduced operations costs.

TBR has tracked smart ports for years with the appreciation that these facilities can serve as test beds for integrating emerging technologies, such as 5G, IoT, edge compute and AI, while forcing IT and digital solutions to work seamlessly with real-world physical challenges, such as moving containers and ensuring ships do not collide. With China boasting four of the world’s five largest ports — and two of those currently serving as use cases for Huawei’s new solutions — Huawei will likely continue to be a leader in this field. In TBR’s view, supply chain challenges over the last two years have only heightened the need for highly integrated smart port solutions, and vendors that are able to capture the full breadth of ports’ needs will see an explosion of opportunity over the next few years. Huawei should be well positioned to take full advantage of this growth.

Sustained investment in building Huawei’s consulting capabilities presents a strategic challenge

The Huawei Global Analyst Summit reinforced many of the vendor’s strengths, including its ability to test and prove solutions in China, the advantages it gains from employing a technology-centric approach backed by hardware and software solutions, and its sheer scale. A new emphasis on consulting — if it is matched with sustained investments in training, selective hiring and concurrent upskilling around digital transformation — could enhance Huawei’s competitive advantages for engagements that extend beyond essential technology needs. Currently, TBR observes consultancies solidifying their relationships with the C-Suite, IT services vendors seeking deeper partnerships and technology vendors building professional services capabilities. Huawei can be part of all three of those trends, and the vendor’s near-term success may depend on how skillfully leadership manages any expansion into consulting.

Think global, act local: Huawei’s digital transformation services

More than hardware and networking: Huawei does digital transformations

In the massive and confusing landscape of the digital transformation market, Huawei’s brand centers around hardware and telecommunications — essential, though unexciting, components. Beyond the brand, Huawei has been delivering digital services and engaging with enterprises on their digital transformations in the company’s home market of China and globally, steadily building experience and use cases to support a substantial services practice.

In a wide-ranging discussion with Hank Stokbroekx, Huawei’s VP for Enterprise Services, TBR learned the company has strategically partnered with vendors such as Accenture and EY on digital transformation engagements outside China while building its own reference use cases on the mainland. Stokbroekx highlighted two for TBR that indicate where Huawei is headed.

Shenzhen Bao’an International Airport

In Shenzhen, Huawei’s headquarters, the company has been piloting various digital transformation projects within Shenzhen Bao’an International Airport, including passenger recognition, analytics and IoT solutions. In Stokbroekx’s view, profitability is not the No. 1 priority, as the heightened profile for Huawei of being integral to the airport’s transformation provides brand and marketing value on its own.

During the Huawei 2021 Global Analyst Summit in April, Stokbroekx introduced analysts to Industry Operations Assistance. The solution, based on a platform and ecosystem piloted in China, enables intelligent operation command center monitoring inside a company. Intelligent Operation & Maintenance was used in the Shenzhen airport, which previously had a complex operational system with multiple requirements for operation and maintenance services. As a result of the implementation, the airport experienced reduced time to locate a fault in its network from one day to 20 minutes and improved systems availability by 20%, leading to reduced flight delays.

The solution also enabled the airport to improve operation and maintenance efficiency by 30%. In TBR’s assessment, Shenzhen Bao’an International Airport offers Huawei two massive opportunities. First, every client from every different industry coming to Huawei’s headquarters will pass through the airport, providing the company a chance to demonstrate its digital transformation capabilities in a direct and experiential way. Second, successfully deploying solutions at one airport provides reference use cases for embarking on other digital transformation pilot programs at other airports around the region.

Ericsson’s focused strategy and strong 5G position yield results

TBR perspective

Ericsson’s recovery continues into its third year, evidenced by revenue growth and expanding margins, trends that TBR expects to continue in 2020. A strong 5G position with respect to both RAN and mobile core is a significant driver of this improvement as Ericsson’s early technology bets and increased investment in Networks unit R&D are spurring CSP adoption of Ericsson’s competitive 5G portfolio. Ericsson has notched high-profile wins in 5G and grown its market share at Huawei’s and Nokia’s (NYSE: NOK) expense thanks to ERS, which offers an attractive total cost of ownership and a powerful baseband unit. As restructuring progresses, Ericsson will shift from an emphasis on cost reduction and efficiency to a disciplined growth mindset, evidenced by the recent acquisition of Kathrein’s antenna business and an effort to poach LTE customers from rivals for 5G upgrades. With China deploying 5G en masse in 2020 and the next wave of adopters expected to roll out through the early 2020s, Ericsson has the ability to wring a few more years of growth and market share gains from this cycle.

TBR views Ericsson’s turnaround as a success, but multiple headwinds will take shape over the next few years, such as vRAN; the rise of disruptive startups like Altiostar, Mavenir and Parallel Wireless; and uneven CSP spending. TBR believes Ericsson has baked 5G market share gains in China into its 2020 guidance. These gains are likely to come at Nokia’s expense.

Long term, Ericsson is hoping that emerging businesses including IoT Accelerator, Edge Gravity and eModo scale up. The company needs to succeed in an area outside of RAN and core to maintain share, but Ericsson is not currently preparing to expand its addressable market in terms of enterprise verticals.

Ericsson (Nasdaq: ERIC) hosted its annual Industry Analyst Forum in Boston, bringing along a range of executives to provide an update on the company’s corporate strategy, which includes continued restructuring, particularly within Digital Services, as well as infusing AI and automation across key product areas and selective expansion in emerging technology areas. 5G, however, was the dominant topic due to Ericsson’s market share gains spurred by the Ericsson Radio System (ERS), which is optimized to meet the cost-conscious needs of communication service providers (CSPs). Similar to last year, the tone of Ericsson’s 2019 analyst day was upbeat as the company continues to execute its focused strategy — now in its third year — which is driving improvement in its financial metrics. Following the main session, analysts could attend three tracks — Building the Network Platform, Automation in 5G Operations, or New Business Opportunities for Service Providers (i.e., IoT, private cellular networks and fixed wireless access [FWA]) — and then participate in one-on-one speed meetings.

5G-related investment fuels vendor growth; greenfield 5G and Industry 4.0 opportunities emerge

U.S. cable operators and Dish Network are exploring building out their own 5G networks

Rakuten’s mobile broadband network deployment demonstrates that vendors must be aware of new opportunities to deploy 5G networks for customers that do not currently own mobile broadband networks. In November Dish Network selected Ericsson to supply a radio access and core network for Dish’s Narrowband IoT (NB-IoT) network, which is expected to be completed in March 2020. Dish, which has been closely watching Rakuten’s build-out, is also contemplating a nationwide 5G network, on which it could spend up to $10 billion. Cable operators Comcast, Charter and Altice, which are currently mobile virtual network operators (MVNOs) of Tier 1 mobile operators, are contemplating greenfield 5G network builds as well.

Industry 4.0 will drive demand for cellular connectivity within the enterprise, but not for a few years

TBR’s research suggests that Industry 4.0, which includes mass 5G adoption globally, will not ramp up until between 2022 and 2025, at which point business cases will be proven, justifying an increase in market spend on ICT infrastructure. Cellular technologies, namely LTE and 5G, have better uplink and security capabilities, and lower latency than Wi-Fi, all of which are necessary as enterprises begin to use network technology for mission-critical workloads rather than “best effort” communications. Certain vendors, namely Nokia, Huawei and Cisco, are better positioned than others to capitalize on this trend as they sell both directly and indirectly into enterprises, as well as through communication service providers (CSPs). Ericsson, in contrast, plans to go to market almost exclusively through CSPs, which will place it at a disadvantage as many large enterprises will want private networks.

TBR’s Telecom Vendor Benchmark details and compares the initiatives and tracks the revenue and performance of the largest telecom vendors in segments including infrastructure, services and applications as well as in geographies including the Americas, EMEA and APAC. The report includes information on market leaders, vendor positioning, vendor market share, key deals, acquisitions, alliances, go-to-market strategies and personnel developments.

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.)

Cost of ‘intelligent connectivity’ must decline significantly for intelligent world to unfold

TBR perspective

Realizing the intelligent world presented by the mobile industry at Mobile World Congress Barcelona 2019 (MWC19) will require a fundamental change in how networks are architected, including a radical reduction in the cost of providing connectivity. It will also require business transformation for companies tied to the old world, namely communications service providers (CSPs) and their incumbent vendors.

It was readily apparent at the event that technology is advancing at a much faster pace than the establishment of business cases that economically justify deployment of the technology. The reality for the mobile industry is that the cost of building, owning and operating networks is too high and networks are too inflexible to support the business realities of the digital era, whereby connectivity is relegated to a commodity service and the value lies in the platforms and applications that run over the network. The industry has known this for years, but changes have been minimal, until maybe now.

The entrance of Rakuten to the mobile industry could be a game changer and provides a glimpse into what a digital service provider will look like. In what could arguably be the most important takeaway from the entire event, Rakuten’s approach to building and operating a network could signify a paradigm shift in the industry. Not only will Rakuten’s network be agile, flexible and dynamic to provide digital services, it will also enable a dramatic reduction in the cost of connectivity.

The theme of MWC19 was “intelligent connectivity” and centered on how 5G, IoT, AI and big data are coming together to enable the intelligent world. Against this backdrop, Rakuten stole the show with the evangelization of its end-to-end virtualized and cloud-native network, which is being deployed across Japan this year. Rakuten’s network provides a glimpse into what the intelligent network of the future will look like.

AI chips: Explosive growth of deep learning is leading to rapid evolution of diverse, dedicated processors

Artificial intelligence (AI) utilization has been accelerating rapidly for more than 10 years, as decreases in memory, storage and computation cost have made an increasing number of applications cost-effective. The technique of deep learning has emerged as the most useful. Large public websites such as Facebook (Nasdaq: FB) and Amazon (Nasdaq: AMZN), with enormous stores of data on user behavior and a clear benefit from influencing user behavior, were among the earliest adopters and continue to expand such techniques. Publicly visible applications include speech recognition, natural language processing and image recognition. Other high-value applications include network threat detection, credit fraud detection and pharmaceutical research.

Deep learning techniques are based on neural networks, inspired by animal brain structure. Neural networks perform successive computations on large amounts of data. Each iteration operates on the results of the prior computation, which is why the process is called “deep.” Deep learning relies on large amounts computation. In fact, deep learning techniques are well known; the recent growth is driven by decreasing costs of data acquisition, data transmission, data storage and computation. The new processors all aim to lower the cost of computation.

The new chips are less costly than CPUs for running deep learning workloads

Each computation is limited and tends to require relatively low precision, necessitating fewer bits than found in typical CPU operations. Deep learning computations are mostly tensor operations — predominantly matrix multiplication — and parallel tensor processing is the heart of many specialized AI chips. Traditional CPUs are relatively inefficient in carrying out this kind of processing. They cannot process many operations at the same time, and they deliver precision and capacity for complex computations that are not needed.

Nvidia (Nasdaq: NVDA) GPUs led the wave of new processors. In 2012, Google announced that its Google Brain deep learning project to recognize images of cats was powered by Nvidia GPUs, resulting in a hundredfold improvement in performance over conventional CPUs. With this kind of endorsement and with the widespread acceptance of the importance of deep learning, many companies, large and small, are following the money and investing in new types of processors. It is not certain that the GPU will be a long-term winner; successful applications of FPGAs and TPUs are plentiful.

5G-readiness spend and migration to new network architectures spur the TIS market to growth in 3Q18

According to Technology Business Research, Inc.’s (TBR) 3Q18 Telecom Infrastructure Services (TIS) Benchmark, the TIS market grew as communication service provider (CSP) investment in areas tied to 5G-readiness increased. CSPs are rearchitecting their networks leveraging NFV, SDN and the cloud as well as implementing new business models, which requires growing spend across a broad range of professional services. Deployment services spend grew slightly, but the market will strengthen as the 5G spend cycle ramps up over the next couple of years, although the spend intensity will be lower than during the LTE cycle. RAN suppliers Nokia (NYSE: NOK), Ericsson, Huawei, ZTE and Samsung will capture incremental TIS market share as they drive high volumes of services attached to their 5G RAN. This is already occurring to some extent as CSPs densify networks as part of their 5G-readiness strategies. Though 5G will require significant hardware spend, the aggregate amount will be lower compared to LTE, which will drive vendors to explore new market areas, such as Industry 4.0.

The managed services market was flat year-to-year in 3Q18 as a decline in outsourcing was offset by growth in the out-tasking market. Generally, vendors are exercising pricing discipline when determining which outsourcing contracts to take on in an effort to improve margins. Ericsson is currently leading the way in this regard as it evaluates 42 contracts for exit or rescoping. Huawei, ZTE and CCS have been less concerned with price and are focused on consolidating the outsourcing market. Other vendors, including those that are historically hardware-centric with little to no footprint in the managed services market, are increasingly playing in out-tasking as they will manage applications deployed in CSP networks. Ciena (NYSE: CIEN) is an example of this trend.

 

 

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 (NYSE: ACN), Amdocs, Atos, Capgemini, CGI, China Communications Services, Ciena, Cisco (Nasdaq: CSCO), CommScope, CSG International, Ericsson, Fujitsu, Hewlett Packard Enterprise (NYSE: HPE), Huawei, IBM (NYSE: IBM), Infosys (NYSE: INFY), Juniper Networks (NYSE: JNPR), NEC, Nokia (NYSE: NOK), Oracle (NYSE: ORCL), Samsung, SAP (NYSE: SAP), Tata Consultancy Services, Tech Mahindra, Wipro (NYSE: WIT) and ZTE.

Ericsson Turnaround Could Limit Growth Potential, Says TBR

“‘Though Ericsson’s focused strategy has proved to be a viable approach to stabilize the company, return it to profitability, and provide incremental organic growth, the key concern will be how sustainable that stability and growth will be over the long term,’ wrote Chris Antlitz, a senior telecom analyst at Technology Business Research (TBR), in a new report.

“Antlitz cited Ericsson’s focus on the wireless access domain that he noted was undergoing significant competitive disruption due to the launch of 5G networks and increased use of virtualization technologies. He explained that Ericsson’s focus could allow it to take market share from rivals, particularly Nokia, Huawei, and ZTE, but that business trends like virtualization, cloud, and white box could impact those efforts down the road.

“‘Ericsson is betting its [Radio Systems RAN gear] will offset the impact of these adverse trends and hasten its shift to a more software-centric entity with a more recurring, license-based software model that carries relatively high, sustainable margins, but this shift will take years to unfold, and there is significant legacy business at risk of disappearing in the interim,’ Antlitz noted.”

U.S. 5G investment supports non-China-based vendors as Huawei and ZTE face increasing headwinds

Nokia and Huawei are well-positioned to win as operators overhaul architectures in the 5G era, but most of the spend to date is on 5G radios, with Ericsson at an advantage due to market perception of its software-upgradeable Ericsson Radio System RAN. The network must ultimately be overhauled to fully realize 5G’s potential, but it will take CSPs many years to evolve their networks end-to-end, and the current focus — and 5G-related capex spend — will be on 5G radios. In the 5G RAN space, TBR believes Ericsson leads in market share. Nokia and Huawei, however, have broad portfolios that enable them to enter 5G accounts from multiple domains.

Graph showing 3Q18 revenue, year-to-year growth and operating margin for vendors in TBR's Telecom Vendor Benchmark

 

 

The Telecom Vendor Benchmark details and compares the initiatives and tracks the revenue and performance of the largest telecom vendors in segments including infrastructure, services and applications as well as in geographies including the Americas, EMEA and APAC. The report includes information on market leaders, vendor positioning, vendor market share, key deals, acquisitions, alliances, go-to-market strategies and personnel developments.