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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IBM’s… Back to Kicking Butt

I’m ex-IBM myself and it gives me great pleasure to see my old firm do well. Well this quarter they didn’t disappoint with significant improvement in their new business initiatives, which are just short of 50 percent of revenue. You remember the mainframe, that platform that supposedly was dead back in the 1980s? Well, once again IBM showcased there is evidently life after death because that puppy grew more than a whopping 70 percent year over year. Let’s talk about IBM’s results and why IBM, after 100 years, is again able to perform at the top of their class. To read the complete article, CLICK HERE NOTE: This column was originally published in the Pund-IT...

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DT Success Is… Elusive
Dec21

DT Success Is… Elusive

Everybody needs it. Most everybody is trying to achieve it. And the majority of those who try fail to realize its benefits. It is digital transformation — AKA DT, DX or Industry 4.0 — the multi-trillion-dollar business phenomenon enabled by cloud computing, Internet of Things (IoT), big data and analytics (BDA), mobility, social media and security that is reshaping everything for the foreseeable future. Succeeding at DT is the next new normal, and the stakes are literally life and death, i.e. a 33% increase in speed to market; 40% increase in customer satisfaction; and 37% increase in new business revenue. On average, companies going digital expect to increase annual revenues by 2.9% and reduce costs by 3.6%, but businesses going all-in can achieve both revenue gains and cost reduction of more than 30% at the same time. So DT is an extinction-level phenomenom that is transforming all aspects of our lives, and while the stakes are high, the risks — and failure rates — are higher. The failure rates for unsuccessful digital transformation projects range from a low of only 70% to as high as 84%. The biggest DT barrier is cultural resistance to change, followed by legacy IT systems and retaining critical talent, respectively. “One of the things that our research and expertise consistently show is that shifting people and how they need to operate differently are where some of the big challenges are coming from, as more and more companies try to digitally transform,” said IDC’s Shawn Fitzgerald, research director, worldwide digital transformation strategies. Positioned as a Leader in IDC’s Worldwide Digital Transformation Consulting and Systems Integration Services 2017 Vendor Assessment, Accenture is also grappling with DT internally, as its more than 400,000 professionals visit more than 10,000 customer sites daily, said CIO Andrew Wilson. He told IT Trends & Analysis that organizations need to transform from old techniques and waterfall philosophies to much more horizontal processes and experiences. “You have to be much more real-time.” The service provider practices what it preaches, focusing on the new skills and training required to enable an increasingly mobile and dispersed workforce to make the most effective use of the latest technologies. Wilson said his company is working to connect employees through social collaboration tools like The Stream, Accenture’s version of Facebook, that enables employees to stay connected with colleagues and communities, post updates and share knowledge anywhere. It also uses video communications, including the CIO’s monthly talk show for employees that features interviews with executives from Accenture and alliance partners. A key component of the SP’s DT-delivery capabilities is called Accenture Digital — consisting of Accenture Analytics, Accenture Interactive...

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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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