Has Cisco Got The Right Stuff?
Feb01

Has Cisco Got The Right Stuff?

John Chambers, who handed control of Cisco to Chuck Robbins in July 2015, was bumped further upstairs a month ago when he became Chairman Emeritus, while his successor took over his role as Chairman of the Board, but more than a change in leadership, the turnover represents a new — and hopefully — improved networking, server and security vendor. The company, which has been struggling with the cloud and commodity hardware and software-based competitors for the last decade, looks poised for new life — and growth — as it hosts this week’s Cisco Live EMEA 2018, in Barcelona, Spain. Reinventing Cisco is not new. “We’re probably reinvented ourselves five or six times literally in the last two decades alone,” said Chambers shortly after moving up to the board. In an industry famous for it’s what-have-you-done-for-me-next philosophy, networking has been battered by explosive demands, increasing complexity and flat budgets, with the results that Cisco’s market domination has been mired in commodity hell. In Q3 its Ethernet switching business grew 7.4% year-over-year to $6.75 billion (56.7% market share), while the router market climbed 3% to 41.4%, up slightly sequentially (40.8%), but down year-over-year (44%). While networking accounts for the bulk of Cisco’s revenues, it’s been doing pretty well in the datacenter market with its server portfolio (i.e. UCS and HyperFlex), statistically tied with IBM for third place in 3Q17, with 5.8% of the market ($992 million), behind HPE (19.5%) and Dell (18.1%). Cisco also did very well in the converged systems market, and while it’s a much smaller segment, $2.99 billon vs $17 billon in Q3, the company held down second place between Dell (48.3%) and HPE (10.3% share, down 41.9% from a year-ago’s 18.1%), and grew its marketshare 56.4% YoY to $485.5 million. Security is another market where Cisco is growing strongly. Cybersecurity spending is expected to soar from last year’s $137.85 billion to $231.94 billion by 2022, at a Compound Annual Growth Rate (CAGR) of 11.0%. According to ESG cybersecurity guru Jon Oltsik, “Cisco is one of only a handful of $2 billion-plus cybersecurity vendors that can grow its security revenue to over $5 billion by 2020.” At 4% of total revenues, the company’s security business is never going to be more than a wagging tail, but it grew 13% YoY in 2016, and 12% in the first nine months of 2017, which is way better than the switch and router business. A week ago Cisco expanded its cybersecurity portfolio with the acquisition of Skyport — a privately held company that has secured approximately $70 million in funding — whose core product platform is SkySecure Server, a physical server...

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CA Wants To Be The One (DevSecOps) Throat To Choke
Nov30

CA Wants To Be The One (DevSecOps) Throat To Choke

Whether it’s via a perfect storm, product onslaught or the ‘disrupt or be disrupted’ times, CA Technologies appears to be making steady, if slow, progress from its mainframe roots to the app-fueled digital transformation world where trust, AKA cybersecurity, is essential. Changing a $4-billion company is proving challenging, especially when you consider that the bulk of your business is tied up with a mainframe environment synonymous with slow and steady, as befits the platform that holds between 70-80% of corporate data and affects 70% of enterprise transactions. The software developer may be pushing the ‘software factory’ theme together with fast and agile DevOps, or the newer handle, DevSecOps, but that doesn’t mean it’s customers are comfortable with rapid changes. Not that they have much choice: only 12% of the Fortune 500 survived the period between 1955 and 2016, and up to 50% of the S&P 500 ranks are expected to be replaced over the next 10 years. So disruption is the name of the game, and CA is doing its best to change its spots and become the essential go-to partner for fast and agile DevSecOps where ‘everyone is responsible for security with the goal of safely distributing security decisions at speed and scale to those who hold the highest level of context without sacrificing the safety required.’ That’s a mouthful, but the stakes are mind-boggling, with the potential to take CA’s total addressable market from mainframe billions to DT/DevSecOps trillions. “The ability to manage change, respond to new inputs or insights and pivot has never been more important,” said CA Technologies CEO Mike Gregoire in his opening keynote . “Our entire portfolio is designed around the pillars of the Modern Software Factory to increase the velocity, security and performance of the solutions and the apps that are critical to our customers’ businesses.” He said the company is on a “deliberate journey”, balancing creation and execution and morphing from a solutions company to one that is focused on “accelerating business values.” Operational efficiency isn’t enough, Gregoire added. “First among the tools to confront these challenges is your Modern Software Factory. It ensures that your company is built to change and can adapt to an accelerating digital world.” We may be app-driven, but without security, you’re looking at a world of pain. With DevOps, CA helped break down the barriers between development and operations but “we don’t think about security,” said Gregoire in a media scrum following his keynote. The application is the weakest link in your chain, he said, so you need security involved right from the start, with the coder. However, rather than best-of-breed standalone tools, customers are...

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CA: Connecting the DoTs

To help address the emerging multi-trillion-dollar app-driven digital transformation business phenomenon, CA Technologies made more than 20 new and enhanced product announcements at CA World ‘17. That might seem like a lot, but not when you consider that even after decades of consolidating and rationalizing its software portfolio, the ISV still lists 192 separate products on its website (courtesy of the approximately 70 companies acquired since opening its doors as Computer Associates back in 1976). While its efforts to expand the non-mainframe portion of its business — 65% of total revenues last quarter — seem to be taking longer than expected, CA’s emphasis on four pillars, or what Ayman Sayed, President & Chief Product Officer, called patterns — 1-making the products simpler to use and driving faster time to value; 2-SaaS availability; 3-openness, i.e. any infrastructure, any platform; and 4-AI — figured prominently in the innovation onslaught. Innovation was repeated often in the keynotes and one-on-ones. ”Most everyone in our industry is operationally efficient… but that’s not enough,” said CA CEO Mike Gregoire. “Our job is to break down barriers between technology and innovation,” referring to the event’s ‘No Barriers’ theme. Whether it’s built internally or bought, the company’s promise “and the holy grail” is to take innovation, integrate it with its other offerings and make it a “force multiplier”, he said. The innovations were intended to help address some of the impacts customers are confronting, he said. There has been a shift from building products to providing and supporting business outcomes. Customers are also demanding more intelligence, and security is becoming a bigger concern and a challenge, he added. Customers were another focus for CA, and as important as the announcements were, the “most exciting” news were the “170 customers joining us to talk about using our products to transform themselves,” said Sayed. Then he talked about the products, including the company’s latest artificial intelligence initiatives. CA combined the up and coming technology with its mainframe roots with solutions that ‘help customers speed time to resolution by 5X, reduce insider threats and cut operational expenses by 25%.’ “Through A.I. and machine-learning powered intelligent automation, CA’s new mainframe solutions enable increased insights across broader sets of data,” said CA’s Ashok Reddy, GM, Mainframe, in a prepared statement. It’s not a new concept or term, but as part of its security focus CA is pushing the concept of DevSecOps. In announcing new tools that integrate security throughout the software development lifecycle, Sayed said this approach is “critically important”, and the tools are now available across the company’s Automic, Veracode, and Continuous Delivery portfolios. “Companies that embrace DevSecOps deliver better and...

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Talent-Gap Cure Or Just Cur-AI-ting IT?
Oct19

Talent-Gap Cure Or Just Cur-AI-ting IT?

Cisco originally pitched a story focused on its latest initiatives to address the ‘IT skills and knowledge gap’, which is a big and growing problem, and while the just-released AI-powered predictive services can be folded, spindled and mutilated into a ‘talent-gap cure’, it appears more to be just a really good set of business solutions. The costs and resources required to keep the datacenter lights on can account for 70-80% of IT budgets, said Bryan Palma, Senior Vice President and General Manager, Cisco Advanced Services, but while improving efficiencies and uptimes will pay a huge business dividend, that doesn’t mean those freed-up resources will translate into the IT skills and knowledge required to facilitate the new IT reality, digital transformation, which by one estimate will be worth $493.39 billion by 2022, and is speeding along at a CAGR of 19.1%. The new services, available immediately, fall into two categories — Business Critical Services and High-value Services — and are extensions of what the company has been providing for some time, said Palma. Services is the second largest business unit at Cisco, at $13 billion and 25% of revenues, with 90% of its services revenue recurring. A big part of the company’s competitive advantage is its installed base of 50 million networks, he told IT Trends & Analysis, and the telemetry data from that provides Cisco with a better picture of what’s going on in the IT environment than practically every other vendor. Professional services can leverage that data to help customers shift their focus from maintaining their datacenters and network infrastructures to finding new ways to improve customer services and generate revenues, he added. “At the same time we’re seeing that IT has been more defensive and they are looking to be more offensive, and that’s where we’re looking to take them.” Calling it a new portfolio of subscription services, Business Critical Services ‘deliver more capabilities including analytics, automation, compliance and security by Cisco Advanced Services’ technology experts’. “In the past it’s been called optimization,” said Palma, and as part of their ongoing focus on constant improvement, have made a number of improvements. “What we’re trying to do is give them the flexibility to move with their strategic options.” The new service benefits include helping minimize human error by: reducing complexity and cost through automation, orchestration, and technical expertise; accelerating business agility and transformation through advanced analytics and machine learning capabilities; and reducing risk with automated compliance and remediation services.The business outcome objectives are to help reduce downtime by 74%, resolve issues 41% percent faster and reduce operational costs by 21%. The other side of the services portfolio, Technical Services,...

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CA Levels The Playing Field
Jun01

CA Levels The Playing Field

SAN JOSE: CA Technologies has a storied past that began with the mainframe back in 1976, but it’s looking to reinvent itself as the architect of the ‘modern software factory’ which will make Digital Transformation a reality. It’s all about rapid — and frequent — change, levelling the playing field, and the keys include a focus on business agility, a high degree of automation and reducing time to market, all while securing that software lifecycle, said CA President and Chief Product Officer Ayman Sayed. DT is a business phenomenon, as much as it is driven by cloud computing, Internet of Things (IoT), big data and analytics (BDA), mobility, social media and security. But technology enables that phenomenon, he said. “Every business strategy is a technology strategy.” The good news for CA, is that while technology may be the foundation of DT and the next industrial revolution, this will be a software-driven revolution. “I think the time is right… our portfolio is well positioned,” added Sayed. The challenge is that many people still think of CA as it used to be 5-10 years ago, a vendor of legacy software, and not the supplier of the tools and methodologies for today’s emerging ‘app economy’. “The key thing is that we need to see that perception catches up to reality,” said Sayed. The company has been around for quite a few decades, established a reputation, and people see CA in a specific way that doesn’t actually apply to who it is today, agreed CA’s Otto Berkes, EVP and Chief Technology Officer. Management wants to drive awareness that CA has a new and interesting story to tell, one based on technology transformation and business transformation. The company’s current value proposition is helping its customers reinvent their businesses, transform their businesses, said Sayed. We do this by giving them the tools, technology and expertise to become the modern software factory, enabling them to build the modern software factory. CA is building in analytics, machine learning and intelligence, and security in everything it creates, he added. “Transform or die, disrupt or be disrupted. It’s an ongoing journey, not a checkmark,” explained Sayed Once you’ve established these elements of digital engagement there are lots of ways to transform the business, he said. “The new world is one that levels the playing field.” Technology and DT level the playing field, give you much larger scale and reach, added Sayed. There is a gap between current capabilities and desired objectives, said Berkes. “Enterprises don’t have efficient mechanisms for turning ideas into software,” but CA’s portfolio, built around agile, DevOps, and security, “an end-to-end value proposition,” delivers maximum value...

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