Introducing the 451 Firestarters Award Recipients for Q1 2019

In October 2018, we announced our first set of 451 Firestarters award winners, recognizing exceptional innovation in the technology industry.  Today, we are excited to announce the next group of 451 Firestarters; our Q1 2019 award recipients.

The 451 Firestarters program is exclusively analyst-led, providing our team of industry technology experts with the opportunity to recognize exceptional innovation in the technology industry, regardless of its origin, and based on the simple, yet rigorous, criterion of impressing our team of analysts. This is no mean feat considering our analysts speak to several hundreds of companies at the cutting edge of technology innovation and disruption every year. There are no quotas to fill, and this is in no way a ‘pay to play.’ Any company or technology that we believe could substantially disrupt an existing market – or even create a new market category – has the potential to become a 451 Firestarter.

Each 451 Firestarter awardee falls into one of the four major ‘megatrends’ outlined in the 4SIGHT research framework: Contextual Experience, Invisible Infrastructure, Pervasive Intelligence and Universal Risk.

Below, we are delighted to announce the Q1 2019 451 Firestarters. (in alphabetical order):

BigID – Universal Risk
BigID works to change how companies can protect and manage the privacy of personal data in the face of new breaches and new regulations on data protection.

Concertio – Invisible Infrastructure
Concertio’s suite of tools allow hardware and software systems to work together as seamlessly as possible.

Dragos – Universal Risk
Dragos offers a comprehensive ICS cybersecurity solution to ensure its customers have the tools and knowledge to establish a resilient and adaptable security posture.

Filament – Pervasive Intelligence
Filament offers complete solutions that include hardware, software and services that integrate blockchain technology into an enterprise.

HPE Edgeline Converged Edge Systems – Pervasive Intelligence
HPE’s Edgeline Converged Edge System converges operational technology like data acquisition systems, control systems and industrial networks already in play at the edge which should result in lower operating and energy expenses.

Immuta – Pervasive Intelligence
Immuta has created a data management platform for data science. Data scientists connect your tools to their solution and the company has governance professionals work on policies for you to help comply with industry regulations.

Itential – Invisible Infrastructure
The Itential software helps accelerate the move to software-driven networks as a portion of an enterprise’s digital transformation.

OSIsoft – Pervasive Intelligence
OSIsoft provides an open enterprise infrastructure that connects sensor data and systems with the people who need to leverage that information to better the business.

Terminus – Contextual Experience
Terminus aims to be the end-to-end solution for marketing and sales departments to identify and prioritize key accounts and engage with them across multiple channels through targeted outreach.

Vonage Technologies – Contextual Experience
Cloud communications provider that has redefined unified communications as an open platform built on APIs that enable organizations to customize their own applications.

Weaveworks – Invisible Infrastructure
Weaveworks’ cloud-based solution simplifies the deployment and management of containers and microservices as companies move to be more cloud-native.


Please join us in congratulating our Q1 2019 451 Firestarters! Of course, we hope you will agree with our selections, and will use this as an opportunity to find out more about them. We welcome, and encourage, feedback; this is an opportunity for you to engage with a world-class analyst team whose coverage spans the emerging digital technology landscape. If your organization is actively engaged with our analyst team, then that is your chance to impress us, and potentially become a 451 Firestarter, too!

More detailed insight around all the 451 Firestarter award winners is available to clients via our Research Dashboard. Not a client? Apply for Trial access.

that has redefined unified communications as an open platform built on APIs that enable organizations to customize their own applications
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Critical for Black Friday and Cyber Monday: Contextual Commerce is Convenience, Context and Control

Written by: Sheryl Kingstone, Research Vice President & General Manager - VOCUL

The holiday season is right around the corner and so are the notorious shopping holidays of Black Friday and Cyber Monday. According to our Voice of the Connected User Landscape survey, 80% of respondents plan to spend the same as the previous year and the remaining 20% plan to modify their spending. Whether those modifications involve an increase or decrease in spending is difficult to determine based on trends with those respondents being almost evenly split – with 38% expected to spend more than last year and 45% expected to spend less.

With this in mind, we don’t anticipate how much people are spending to be of great interest, but rather where people are buying what they need this holiday season. According to our Global Unified Commerce Forecast, there could be nearly $6 trillion in global digital commerce sales by 2022 up for grabs. That is still a ways away, but digital commerce is still anticipated to dominate holiday spending shopping behavior with 42% of respondents planning to do most of their shopping online rather than in store – a 27% increase in online spending from last year. Additionally, 47% of high-income shoppers will do the majority of their shopping through digital commerce channels.
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Is IBM-Red Hat deal reaction a sign of mega-deal fatigue? New survey sounds off

Key Analyst: Jay Lyman, Principal Analyst, Cloud Native and DevOps

Last week, we offered some initial thoughts about the IBM-Red Hat acquisition. We talked about how it seemed a strong move in favor of hybrid cloud strategies, although somewhat bittersweet for a disruptive, open source software leader like Red Hat to be acquired. Since then, we checked in with our 451 Alliance, surveying several hundred enterprise leaders to get their sentiments on the deal, as we did three years ago in a similar Voice of the Enterprise survey about Dell-EMC.
IBM Red Hat survey blog image 1 overall impressionsAt first look, the overall impression about IBM’s acquisition of Red Hat was predominately neutral (40%), with only 20% of respondents saying they feel at least somewhat positive about the announcement, and 23% saying they feel somewhat negative. Looking at this data made us think about our 2015 survey on the $67 billion Dell-EMC deal. Similarly, respondents to the Dell-EMC survey felt mostly neutral about the deal (50%), although other responses leaned more positive when compared to the IBM-Red Hat acquisition survey, where 24% felt somewhat positive and only 16% felt somewhat negative.

While the majority of respondents to both surveys had a neutral outlook, the IBM-Red Hat acquisition has a more negative impression by comparison. This acquisition should carry the same weight of the Dell-EMC acquisition, even though one is more focused on hardware compared to software. So why is the sentiment so different? It may be a case of mega-deal fatigue.
IBM Red Hat survey blog image 2 negative impression reasonsWhen respondents were asked why they felt negatively about the IBM-Red Hat deal, the top reasons were: the companies are not a good fit (22%), there will be more vendor lock-in (20%), and this deal will limit product innovation (13%). Considering the IBM/Red Hat survey's open-ended responses, many of our neutral respondents had an apprehensive and confused tone. In addition, a lot of them want to be sure that IBM doesn’t change the Red Hat model and products, while others don’t understand the value of the acquisition. 

As one respondent put it in the open-ended verbatim section of the survey: “Technology companies continue to purchase other technology companies, thus reducing the solution landscape. Consolidation continues and that is not a particularly a good thing.”

Despite this M&A fatigue, the way we look at it, M&A deals in this space can be defined as successful if “1+1=3.” In other words, something new and impactful needs to result from the deal. The key question is whether IBM can truly maintain Red Hat’s independence, model and culture and thus its value in the market. The potential is in continued availability and integration of Red Hat software such as RHEL and OpenShift across the major public cloud providers, and the power of IBM’s sales and channel to sell it. The peril lies in Red Hat simply getting absorbed into IBM – as we’ve seen with previous Big Blue acquisitions such as Informix, Rational Software and SoftLayer.
IBM Red Hat survey blog image 3 positive impressionsWhile IBM and Red Hat represent very different cultures, they are both open source-savvy companies – a point that survey respondents seem to acknowledge. They also highlight multi-cloud improvements as a driver of positive sentiment about the deal. Respondents with a positive outlook on the deal believe open source (21%) and multi-cloud (18%) will improve as a result. 

Our survey results indicate a muted impact in the minds of enterprise IT professionals, who may have grown weary of mega-deals and more limited options in the market. There is customer concern around culture clash, vendor lock-in, and diminished innovation. However, there is also customer enthusiasm for a complementary pairing, open source and multi-cloud improvement as the acquisition unfolds.

IBM and Red Hat are no strangers, having collaborated extensively on critical enterprise software such as Linux and OpenStack in the past. If the combined company can build on those collaborations and integrations, while also maintaining the critical collaborations and integrations Red Hat has independently forged with the likes of AWS, Google and Microsoft, then customers stand to benefit. If IBM imposes significant changes in how Red Hat or its employees operate, then customer fears about another good set of technology lost to consolidation may, unfortunately, be realized.

We will have more content on this deal coming soon in the Research Dashboard. For now, check out this deal analysis.

Our Voice of the Enterprise research offers survey-based insight into the minds of IT decision makers, and tracks sentiment and intentions about technology adoption, IT spending priorities and drivers, and vendor selection. Voice of the Enterprise: Servers & Converged Infrastructure provides ongoing enterprise perspectives on the shift from traditional servers to new, hybrid approaches to computing.
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IBM acquires Red Hat, but what does that mean?

Key Analyst: Jay Lyman, Principal Analyst, Cloud Native and DevOps

Earlier this week, IBM announced its intent to acquire Red Hat for $33.4 billion, causing quite a buzz across the entire enterprise IT industry. That makes sense, given that the deal represents one of the industry’s biggest software acquisitions to date, IBM’s largest acquisition to date and considering the repercussions for key segments including cloud computing, hybrid cloud, automation and DevOps, containers and Kubernetes.

It feels like the end of an era in addition to the end of the road with Red Hat’s acquisition. This open source software pioneer helped force the enterprise IT industry, including software giants such as Microsoft and VMware, to take open source seriously. IBM acquiring Red Hat marks the beginning of the new age of open source – one populated by established giants and newer open source endeavors such as the dozens of projects that surround and support Kubernetes. That new age is also all about hybrid cloud and cloud-native applications. From a technology M&A standpoint, at $33.4 billion this acquisition marks the largest software transaction we’ve tracked since 2002 – which is impressive and validates the importance and prominence of open source software in the enterprise IT industry.

The deal is also very much about hybrid cloud. According to our Voice of the Enterprise: Cloud Hosting and Managed Services – Budgets and Outlook survey from earlier this year, 58% of respondents cited their organization is pursuing a hybrid strategy. Almost half (46%) of respondents said they expect their businesses to increase vendor spending to spread out more across vendors, either new or existing, as part of their hybrid strategy. IBM and other major public cloud providers like AWS, Microsoft and Google have also broadened their reach in hybrid cloud, but it has been limited mainly to their own clouds integrating with on-premises environments. In IBM’s case, all those public cloud players are already key partners and integrations for Red Hat’s software such as RHEL and OpenShift – expanding IBM’s hybrid cloud reach even further. This deal also follows collaboration and integration that IBM and Red Hat have already accomplished on software such as Linux, OpenStack, and containers and Kubernetes.

Despite how this deal is beneficial for both companies, there is some risk. Upholding Red Hat’s culture could be a challenge during the transition, despite both companies acknowledging its importance. To maintain Red Hat’s strategy and momentum and take full advantage of it, IBM will need to maintain Red Hat’s globally distributed work force with many remote employees rather than to consolidate it. Allowing Red Hat to operate as an independent unit would prove beneficial for everyone.

The deal is also an interesting consolidation of PaaS, given IBM based its former Bluemix PaaS software – later to become its CaaS – on the open source Cloud Foundry software and Red Hat's OpenShift PaaS is based on different open source code. For a deeper analysis on the deal, current clients can check out our deal analysis in our Research Dashboard.
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Introducing 4SIGHT Part 1: Contextual Experience

At our 14th annual Hosting Cloud & Transformation Summit last month, 451 Research CEO Martin McCarthy unveiled 4SIGHT, a new extensive report detailing the major forces of innovation reshaping the digital enterprise landscape. Serving as a framework for our clients to help plan for the future – as well as underpinning our research agenda – the report describes four major categories that will drive the industry over the next decade: Invisible Infrastructure, Pervasive Intelligence, Contextual Experience and Universal Risk. In this post, we provide an overview of our thinking around Contextual Experience.

We define Contextual Experience as the interactions between a customer, worker or citizen and an organization that are augmented by rich sources of real-time information, delivered in the right way at the right time for a friction-free experience.

As technology becomes central to how individuals experience the world around them, it shifts the center of gravity from businesses to individuals in an unprecedented way. Business is being redefined from a transactional relationship between people into a more nuanced, tangled relationship between humans and the automated systems and devices they use to engage with the world. With it, the balance of power between organizations and their customers changes dramatically across virtually all industries. Prices and products are no longer enough to influence decisions. Instead, customers place a higher value on experiences. Employees will also value experiences and will need more motivation than compensation, benefits and an appealing corporate mission statement from their workplace.

With the explosion in new types of physical, digital and blended experiences, the battleground is moving beyond businesses providing ‘omni-channel’ strategies. Users will soon be expecting intelligent, immersive, pervasive and seamless experiences, all personalized to their own changing context.

For example, think about your relationship with your smartphone and how you use it. We found that 80% of online purchases in 2017 were influenced by mobile and that the average person will have more conversations with machine-learning-enabled bots than with other humans each day within a decade. It will behoove organizations to work toward delivering such contextual experiences to their consumers to avoid being passed over in the future.

From an enterprise perspective, successful organizations will adapt their technology stacks and utilize new inputs to create the Liquid Enterprise – enabling them to organize more fluidly around their customers and their workers. Businesses that can quickly and easily marshal and manage human resources to organize responsively around users’ ever-changing requirements will be on top in the future.

In short, technology will become central to how individuals experience the world around them, and enterprises will be expected to cater to the users’ preferred ways of consuming information, engaging the brand and completing work. We are starting to see these changes today, but these developments will increase over the next decade.

There is much more to learn about the long-term effects and predictions within the 4SIGHT report. Current customers can contact their sales rep; otherwise, apply for a trial to learn more.
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