Livestream: Highlights from VotE Digital Pulse: Coronavirus Flash Survey October 2020

As the pandemic persists and enterprises adjust their expectations for an end to altered working conditions, much of the focus is on accommodating the need to safely operate workspaces, including permanent commitments to work-from-home practices, various approaches to in-office distancing and additional consideration for employees with children in school. Since March, we've conducted surveys with mid-level and senior IT professionals to gage how enterprises are adapting to and planning for the future in the face of COVID-19. Liam Eagle and Melanie Posey dove into the key findings from the third Voice of the Enterprise: Digital Pulse, Coronavirus Flash Survey (October 2020) in this recent livestream. Watch the video to get the insights about:
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Video: Voice of the Enterprise Digital Pulse Coronavirus Flash Survey

In our  Voice of the Enterprise: Digital Pulse, Coronavirus Flash survey, we measured the impact of the pandemic on business operations and strategy. Some of our key findings are summarized in the above video - including our 451 Take - but you can check out additional insights on the S&P Global Market Intelligence website

As the impact of the pandemic continues, we are sharing all of our public-facing insight as the pandemic unfolds on this COVID-19 microsite
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Is your AI Infrastructure Prepared to Meet Future Demands?

Written by: Senior Research Associate Jeremy Korn and Research Vice President Nick Patience

Many organizations are underprepared for the demands AI and machine learning applications will place on their infrastructure, but they are prepared to spend money to change that situation.

Those are just a couple of conclusions we can draw from our new Voice of the Enterprise: AI and Machine Learning Infrastructure 2019 survey. Almost half (45%) of enterprises indicate that their current AI infrastructure will not be able to meet future demands (see Figure 1), which prompts a few questions:

• Why is that?
• What do they propose to do about it?
• Are they prepared to spend money to fix the problem?

Figure 1
figure 1 status of enterprise infrastructure for ai

Why is that?

Broadly speaking, data is the reason infrastructure needs to be overhauled to deliver AI at scale, with 89% of respondents in our survey saying they expect the volume of data in using the machine learning workloads to increase in the next year, and almost half projecting an increase of 25% or more. Much of that growth will come from unstructured data, since the most transformative use cases of AI and machine learning involve gaining insight from unstructured data, be it text, images, audio or video.

What do they propose to do about it?

Organizations understand that, for them to take advantage of AI at scale, it is not simply a case of scaling existing infrastructure. New infrastructure is needed to cope with the demands of machine learning workloads, including new scalable storage, dedicated accelerators and low-latency networks. These need to be deployed across a variety of execution venues.

Enterprises also express a variety of concerns about their AI infrastructures, from the security of these systems to the opacity of data management capabilities. Overhauling AI infrastructure demands more than just buying better hardware; it will require new tools and updates to architectural paradigms.

Are they prepared to spend money to fix the problem?

Yes, they are. Our survey shows that 83% of responding enterprises say they will expand AI infrastructure budgets next year, with 39% of those projecting an increase of 25% or more. Spending on cloud-based AI platforms will lead the charge, with 89% of respondents planning to increase spending on them in the next year.

Our Voice of the Enterprise: AI and Machine Learning Infrastructure 2019 survey contains a lot more data on subjects such as spending decision-makers, the specific points in the machine learning process that put strain on infrastructure, the types of AI-specific infrastructure components organizations are looking to buy, the areas in which skill shortages are most acute, and how often and where machine learning models are trained and deployed.

For more insight, check out this free Market Insight report.

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Featured Data: VotE Survey Results Indicate that Automation Investment is on the Rise

Contributed by Principal Analyst Carl Lehmann

IT Environment automation - clehmann
According to our latest Voice of the Enterprise – Digital Pulse: Budgets & Outlook survey data, 58% of respondents indicated that their current IT environments are either highly or mostly reliant on manual processes. As these businesses move toward digital transformation, these organizations need to be able to tackle new IT projects that will allow them to adapt to digital disruption, adopt new technologies, and meet new business objectives. Automation is a key tool that can allow IT teams to refocus their time on these new projects. Thus, it is sensible that 75% of VotE respondents indicated they expect to increase their automation investment in the next 12 months.

I see this trend as a key driver for digital business and the future of hybrid IT as businesses transform for the future. This will be an important element as I collect my insights for my presentation – “Automation Effectiveness – Are You Prepared to Compete for the Future?” – at the 15th annual Hosting & Cloud Transformation Summit this coming September. Register today to get the insights you will need as you navigate the digital revolution.
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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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