Prepping for HCTS – Q&A with Research Vice President Brenon Daly

Research Vice President Brenon Daly, who oversees the financial analysis of 451 Research's Market Insight and KnowledgeBase products, will be at the 14th annual Hosting & Cloud Transformation Summit this year. He'll be joined onstage at our Tech M&A Breakfast by Chris Moon, Managing Director at ING, to discuss broad-market tech M&A.

Q: Has there been a M&A breakfast at previous summits?
A: We haven’t hosted a tech M&A breakfast in four years, at least not one that focuses on the overall tech market. During the more-recent summits, we held M&A Breakfasts that focused exclusively on the hosting and services market. We’re bringing back this former favorite because the activity this year is calling for it. The value of tech transactions this year is tracking to the second-highest annual total since the internet bubble burst. Given the almost unprecedented resurgence of acquirers from all tech sectors, we’ll be expanding our look at the market. Spending on tech deals in 2018 has already eclipsed full-year 2017, while the number of acquisitions is rebounding after dropping almost uninterruptedly since mid-2015. It’s a more-robust tech M&A market than any recent year – we have a lot to talk about.

Q: What was your biggest take away from any previous HCTS?
A: My biggest take-away is no transaction happens in a vacuum. Buyers and sellers – regardless of whatever sector they operate in – need to pay attention to the overall M&A market because the current trends – even seemingly unrelated ones – can have a direct impact on the pricing and timing of their transactions.

Q: What can we expect at the M&A Breakfast?
A: We’ll start with a look at spending and volume in the overall tech M&A market. We’ll also surface a number of key trends that are driving activity including a record number of big prints, with the current pace running at two $1bn+ transactions announced each week; the continued acceleration of PE buyers, who are accounting for one-third of all tech acquisitions; and some recent developments in the exit environment for VC-backed companies, where liquidity is drying up.

Q: What can HCTS attendees hope to gain from the breakfast?
A: In addition to the trends I have mentioned, I’ll also have some insight around M&A valuations, which is always a key concern for anyone looking to buy or sell a company. There are a number of dynamics, including renewed confidence at corporate acquirers and unprecedented competition among PE firms, that have driven valuations for both buying groups to their highest-ever level.

Q: Why are you excited to attend this year’s HCTS?
A: I look forward to opening the aperture and including the broader tech market into our discussion of M&A. Understanding how the themes from HCTS figure into acquisition activity – and, more importantly, valuations – is something I’m looking forward to exploring while at the event.

Be sure to connect with Brenon at HCTS to discuss Tech M&A with him, and meet with all of our speakers, at the Bellagio in Las Vegas, September 24-26, 2018. Check out some of our previous Q&As with speakers to learn about all the upcoming topics including the previous Q&A with Aaron Sherrill.
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How, why, and when AI & machine learning will transform organizations

Written by: Nick Patience, 451 Research Founder and Research Vice President – Software

AI – and machine learning in particular – is set to be the most transformative technology existing over the next decade, but it’s only just getting started. 

We have been covering AI and machine learning at 451 Research since we started the company in 2000. Back then, we were primarily focused on text analytics around use cases in government intelligence scenarios and, in the future, in the legal industry. We branched out from there as additional information types – such as audio speech, images and video – became viable data types from which machine learning can extract insights. To enhance our coverage of this vast and evolving space, we launched our inaugural survey on the topic: Voice of the Enterprise: AI & Machine Learning survey – Adoption, Drivers and Stakeholders 2018

Our new survey brings together use cases, business benefits, barriers to adoption and information about how who is influencing and ultimately deciding when, how and why to adopt machine learning. Given it is an omni-purpose technology, it is not surprising that use cases for machine learning are spread across all industry verticals and all layers of organizations. Practically everybody surveyed – 97% – believe AI will have an impact on society and 75% of this group think it will have a moderate to significant impact within the next two years. The question is how much impact and where will it be felt?

PR Graphic VotE AI 2018 2 1
Industry Optimism
Respondents are broadly optimistic, with 69% of them believing AI will have a mostly or somewhat positive impact on society. The much-vaunted threat of job losses doesn’t seem to concern people that much. While 62% think AI will have some type of impact on their organization, only 7% of them think it will be negative, suggesting respondents aren’t worried about AI replacing their jobs in the near term. 

VotE AI 2018 blog image 2
As the domain gets closer to the individual situation, we find people becoming more ambivalent about the effect of AI. Our survey found only 36% or respondents believe it will have a significant or moderate impact and 40% are unsure whether the impact will be positive or negative.
Enterprise adoption
Although we are in the very early phases of machine learning adoption – probably in the flat bit at the start of an S curve by our reckoning – we found plenty of organizations already developing or deploying machine learning. Some 36% of respondents are currently either developing or deploying machine learning. Early adopters could be developing it themselves with in-house talent, using some sort of third party to develop it for them or buying applications with machine learning already built in – security tools of various types being a good example of the last of those. 
Exactly how they are developing and deploying is predictably varied, with no single approach dominating. Some respondents are using cloud-based tools and third-party systems, but a healthy portion are looking to buy applications with machine learning built in while others are looking to build in-house. Similarly, several different execution venues are available for both development and deployment, as are a proliferous set of tools. Cloud-based platforms are the most popular, with almost half using them, but breaking that down, we see where machine learning is being developed or deployed varies by the status of the initiative. For example, those that say they plan to use machine learning in the future are more inclined to choose cloud platforms than those already deploying machine learning. 
This survey paints an overall picture of what is going on in small to large enterprises in North America, Europe and Asia-Pacific. Future surveys will focus sharply on use cases and business benefits and delve even more deeply into the infrastructure changes that are required or already happening to make the promise of AI and machine learning attainable for all organizations.

Learn more about Voice of the Enterprise.
Written by: Nick Patience, 451 Research Founder and Research Vice President – Software
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Prepping for HCTS – Q&A with Senior Analyst Aaron Sherrill

Continuing with our “Prepping for HCTS” series, we are eager to welcome Aaron Sherrill back to Las Vegas for HCTS 2018. Aaron is a Senior Analyst at 451 Research who covers emerging trends, innovation and disruption in the Managed Services and Managed Security Services sectors.

Q: What did you discuss last year?
A: Last year, I led a session with Dan Thompson called “Managed Security Services: The Good, the Bad, and the Ugly.” In that session, we discussed where enterprises are struggling with security in their organizations and examined opportunities for service providers delivering managed security services to fulfil those needs and differentiate their services in a growing market.

Q: What was your biggest take away from last year’s HCTS?
A: I took away that managed services is a broad descriptor – it never ceases to amaze me the many unique approaches service providers take to tackle the market and the various ways services are shaped, packaged, and delivered.

Q: What will you be discussing in this session?
A: My session this year is called “Movin’ on up: Why Service Providers are Moving Up the Security Stack,” and this session will focus on the future of security services, examining the security considerations and opportunities where service providers can add value. Considering that, according to our Voice of the Service Provider survey, 61% of respondents offer security services to their customers.
vsp chart 1 for sherrill QA
Q: Why should HCTS attendees find this session valuable/what can they hope to gain?

A: This session is not just for service providers, but also for those companies that supply technology and tools to service providers and those that consume services from service providers. Security is a broad but important topic for the entire supply and consumption chain of services delivered from the cloud.

Q: Why are you excited to attend this year’s HCTS?
A: I always look forward to catching up with colleagues, meeting new people, and hearing new, big, thought-provoking ideas.

Aaron is one of many 451 Research analysts returning to the main stage at HCTS, which will be held at the Bellagio in Las Vegas, September 24-26, 2018. Register for HCTS 2018 to hear all the speakers you have met thus far in our ongoing series, including the previous Q&A with Owen Rogers.
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Prepping for HCTS – Q&A with Research Director Owen Rogers

You may recognize our next speaker from when he sported a cloud print suit last year. Owen Rogers is Research Director of the Digital Economics Unit at 451 Research, which helps customers understand the economics behind digital and cloud technologies, so they can make informed choices.

Q: What did you discuss last year?
A: Last year I discussed how cloud pricing was coming down, but cheaper providers weren’t necessarily winning market share as a result. For me, this indicated a value-driven market where enterprises are willing to pay more for products that better suit their needs, but naturally want to squeeze every penny once their requirements are met.

Q: What was your biggest take away from last year’s HCTS?
A: My biggest take away from last year is that service providers need to be better at adding and communicating value, as infrastructure becomes increasingly commoditized and enterprises look up the stack.

Q: What will you be discussing in this session?
A: In my session, “Winning at Every Stage of the Cloud Journey,” I will be looking at how services providers can add value at every step of the enterprise cloud journey. One way they can is through managed services, particularly when clients are leveraging a multi-cloud environment. According to our Voice of the Service Provider survey, in addition to the services being offered like backup/dr, security and managed hosting, many customers revealed several pain points they are looking to service providers to solve (see Figure 3 from the survey results). Additionally, being able to address these pain points could be a key differentiator between the service providers and their competition.
Voice of the Service Provider Figure 3 2018Any attendee can also ask me about my expert sunburn avoidance techniques at any time during the Summit.

Q: Why should HCTS attendees find this session valuable/what can they hope to gain?
A: I’d like to think attendees will leave my session with ideas for new products to add to their portfolios and new opportunities to add value. My session will identify which of products are most likely to derive greater margins.

Q: Why are you excited to attend this year’s HCTS?
A: The Crabcake Benedict in Café Bellagio is exquisite. Also, the lounge at the airport has a fantastic gruyere-based soup.

We are excited to have Owen back to Las Vegas for HCTS, which will be held at the Bellagio in Las Vegas, September 24-26. Register for HCTS 2018 to hear all the speakers you have met thus far in our ongoing series, including the previous Q&A with Andy Lawrence.
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Webinar - Global Unified Commerce Forecast: Top Trends Reshaping Retail

The Global Unified Commerce Forecast: Top Trends Reshaping Retail webinar will be held September 18, 2018, at 1:00 pm ET.

The confluence of new technologies, new entrants and new consumer demands has catapulted retail into a state of flux. These market shifts are influencing not only the way in which shoppers choose to obtain their desired goods and services, but how and where they spend their money. Join Research Vice President Sheryl Kingstone and Research Director Jordan McKee as they share key findings from 451 Research’s recently launched Global Unified Commerce Forecast. The webinar will hone in on insights derived from the forecast, pinpointing major market shifts occurring in retail.

 Register to attend below.

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