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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Introducing the Q4 2018 451 Firestarters

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Today is an exciting day at 451 Research! If you are familiar with our research then you understand that providing data and insight around disruption and innovation in the information technology market is in our DNA. Today we are applying that insight in a new way, through a program we call 451 Firestarters.

451 Firestarters was announced at the recent Hosting & Cloud Transformation Summit by 451 Research CEO Martin McCarthy. It’s an exclusively analyst-led program that recognizes exceptional innovation in the technology industry regardless of its origin. Each Firestarter awardee falls into one of the four categories outlined in 4SIGHT (also revealed at HCTS), our major new report that seeks to empower the digital revolution: Contextual Experience, Invisible Infrastructure, Pervasive Intelligence and Universal Risk. 

Today we are excited to reveal our inaugural group of 451 Firestarters awardees. These organizations have been selected based on a rigorous yet simple criterion; they have impressed our analysts. As you might imagine, tech industry analysts are a tough bunch to impress, and at 451 Research that is especially the case. We speak to a LOT of organizations – several hundred every year – and although we come across many fine organizations, a few really stand out. The guidance we provide to analysts in nominating a 451 Firestarter is simple: “Did the conversation blow your mind?” Accordingly, 451 Firestarters allows our analysts to recognize truly exceptional levels of innovation; innovation that challenges received wisdom, and that we believe has the potential to substantially disrupt an existing market, cause it to change direction, or even create an entirely new category. 

This isn’t the first such program in the industry, but we think it will be seen as one of the best. Why? First, this isn’t an ‘everybody wins’ scenario; although we plan to award Firestarters on a quarterly basis, there are no quotas to fill and the total number of awardees will be small. Thus, to be awarded 451 Firestarters status is special. Additionally, this isn’t just a program for startups; although startups continue to be an innovation engine for tech, they are no longer the only source. Indeed, some of the most disruptive technology in recent years has come from larger, more established organizations. We recognize this innovation diversity in this first cohort of awardees. Finally, (and this goes without saying, but we’ll say it anyway) this is in no way a ‘pay for play’ program. Organizations are selected regardless of whether they are a 451 Research client or not; selections are awarded entirely at the discretion of the analyst team. 

As with any such program, the nomination and award process is of course subjective. There is no formula or algorithm for blowing an analyst’s mind! We, of course, believe you will agree with most, if not all, of our selections, but some you may wish to challenge. We welcome, and indeed encourage, feedback; this is an opportunity for you to engage with our world-class analyst team. You may also be disappointed that your organization is not included, to which we would remind you that this is a quarterly program; if your organization is actively engaged with our analyst team, then that is your chance to impress us.

Below, we are delighted to announce our inaugural set of 451 Firestarters. (in alphabetical order):

Adyen – Contextual experience

Adyen enables businesses to accept and process global, multi-channel transactions via a single payment platform. 

AllSight – Contextual experience

AllSight enables organizations to confidently make decisions based on each customer’s unique POV instead of treating all customers the same. 

Cohesity – Invisible infrastructure

Cohesity works to reinvent data infrastructure so IT is not stifled by complex data management within hybrid environments.

DataRobot – Pervasive intelligence

DataRobot develops automated machine learning platforms with advanced analytical models for data scientists and engineers who know their data but don't have data science expertise.

HashiCorp – Universal risk

HashiCorp aims to solve development, operations and security challenges in an organization’s infrastructure so it can focus on its business rather than threats.

HERE Technologies – Pervasive intelligence

HERE Technologies is a location technology company focused on enabling three-dimensional mapping as our world continues to become more autonomous every day.

JASK – Universal risk

JASK enables security operations centers to optimize human analyst resources, allowing experts to spend more time hunting down threats because they spend less time on mundane data collection tasks. 

JFrog – Invisible infrastructure

JFrog offers a broad software portfolio that is aligned with growing adoption and implementation of DevOps technology and methodology.

Luminate – Universal risk

Luminate enables IT teams to create Zero Trust application access architecture allowing users to connect to any corporate app from any device while reducing attack surface.

RStor – Invisible infrastructure

RStor unlocks highly distributed, multi-cloud IT resources by networking them together and making then easier to use. 

Sanmina 42Q – Pervasive intelligence

Sanmina’s 42Q is a cloud-based MES service to solve its own production challenges, and subsequently productized it as a service to sell to other manufacturers.

Sea Street Technologies – Invisible infrastructure

Sea Street built a different approach to infrastructure orchestration and service delivery through model-based governance. 

Smartsheet – Contextual experience

Smartsheet is a software-as-a-service application for collaboration and work management.

Snowflake Computing – Pervasive intelligence 

Snowflake Computing is a cloud-based data-warehousing startup whose product allows corporate users to store and analyze data using cloud-based hardware and software.

Spotinst – Invisible infrastructure

Spotinst provides a cloud-application scaling service designed to optimize performance and costs. 

Twilio – Contextual experience

Twilio is a cloud communications platform as a service company that allows software developers to perform various communications using web service APIs.

Twistlock – Universal Risk

Twistlock provides container and cloud native cybersecurity solutions for the modern enterprise. 

Please join us in congratulating our Q4 2018 451 Firestarters! The full evaluation of all these businesses is available to clients in our Research Dashboard. Not a client? Apply for Trial access.

Today is an exciting day at 451 Research! If you are familiar with our research then you understand that providing data and insight around disruption and innovation in the information technology market is in our DNA. Today we are applying that insight in a new way, through a program we call 451 Firestarters.

451 Firestarters was announced at the recent Hosting & Cloud Transformation Summit by 451 Research CEO Martin McCarthy. It’s an exclusively analyst-led program that recognizes exceptional innovation in the technology industry regardless of its origin. Each Firestarter awardee falls into one of the four categories outlined in 4SIGHT (also revealed at HCTS), our major new report that seeks to empower the digital revolution: Contextual Experience, Invisible Infrastructure, Pervasive Intelligence and Universal Risk.

Today we are excited to reveal our inaugural group of 451 Firestarters awardees. These organizations have been selected based on a rigorous yet simple criterion; they have impressed our analysts. As you might imagine, tech industry analysts are a tough bunch to impress, and at 451 Research that is especially the case. We speak to a LOT of organizations – several hundred every year – and although we come across many fine organizations, a few really stand out. The guidance we provide to analysts in nominating a 451 Firestarter is simple: “Did the conversation blow your mind?” Accordingly, 451 Firestarters allows our analysts to recognize truly exceptional levels of innovation; innovation that challenges received wisdom, and that we believe has the potential to substantially disrupt an existing market, cause it to change direction, or even create an entire new category.

This isn’t the first such program in the industry, but we think it will be seen as one of the best. Why? First, this isn’t an ‘everybody wins’ scenario; although we plan to award Firestarters on a quarterly basis, there are no quotas to fill and the total number of awardees will be small. Thus, to be awarded 451 Firestarters status is special. Additionally, this isn’t just a program for startups; although startups continue to be an innovation engine for tech, they are no longer the only source. Indeed, some of the most disruptive technology in recent years has come from larger, more established organizations. We recognize this innovation diversity in this first cohort of awardees. Finally, (and this goes without saying, but we’ll say it anyway) this is in no way a ‘pay for play’ program. Organizations are selected regardless of whether they are a 451 Research client or not; selections are awarded entirely at the discretion of the analyst team.

As with any such program, the nomination and award process is of course subjective. There is no formula or algorithm for blowing an analyst’s mind! We of course believe you will agree with most, if not all, of our selections, but some you may wish to challenge. We welcome, and indeed encourage, feedback; this is an opportunity for you to engage with our world-class analyst team. You may also be disappointed that your organization is not included, to which we would remind you that this is a quarterly program; if your organization is actively engaged with our analyst team, then that is your chance to impress us.

Below, we are delighted to announce our inaugural set of 451 Firestarters. (in alphabetical order):

Adyen – Contextual experience

Adyen enables businesses to accept and process global, multi-channel transactions via a single payment platform.

AllSight – Contextual experience

AllSight enables organizations to confidently make decisions based on each customer’s unique POV instead of treating all customers the same.

Cohesity – Invisible infrastructure

Cohesity works to reinvent data infrastructure so IT is not stifled by complex data management within hybrid environments.

DataRobot – Pervasive intelligence

DataRobot develops automated machine learning platforms with advanced analytical models for data scientists and engineers who know their data but don't have data science expertise.

HashiCorp – Universal risk

HashiCorp aims to solve development, operations and security challenges in an organization’s infrastructure so it can focus on its business rather than threats.

HERE Technologies – Pervasive intelligence

HERE Technologies is a location technology company focused on enabling three-dimensional mapping as our world continues to become more autonomous every day.

JASK – Universal risk

JASK enables security operations centers to optimize human analyst resources, allowing experts to spend more time hunting down threats because they spend less time on mundane data collection tasks.

JFrog – Invisible infrastructure

JFrog offers a broad software portfolio that is aligned with growing adoption and implementation of DevOps technology and methodology.

Luminate – Universal risk

Luminate enables IT teams to create Zero Trust application access architecture allowing users to connect to any corporate app from any device while reducing attack surface.

RStor – Invisible infrastructure

RStor unlocks highly distributed, multi-cloud IT resources by networking them together and making then easier to use.

Sanmina 42Q – Pervasive intelligence

Sanmina’s 42Q is a cloud-based MES service to solve its own production challenges, and subsequently productized it as a service to sell to other manufacturers.

Sea Street Technologies – Invisible infrastructure

Sea Street built a different approach to infrastructure orchestration and service delivery through model-based governance.

Smartsheet – Contextual experience

Smartsheet is a software-as-a-service application for collaboration and work management.

Snowflake Computing – Pervasive intelligence

Snowflake Computing is a cloud-based data-warehousing startup whose product allows corporate users to store and analyze data using cloud-based hardware and software.

Spotinst – Invisible infrastructure

Spotinst provides a cloud-application scaling service designed to optimize performance and costs.

Twilio – Contextual experience

Twilio is a cloud communications platform as a service company that allows software developers to perform various communications using web service APIs.

Twistlock – Universal Risk

Twistlock provides container and cloud native cybersecurity solutions for the modern enterprise.

Please join us in congratulating our Q4 2018 451 Firestarters! The full evaluation of all these businesses is available to clients in our Research Dashboard. Not a client? Apply for Trial access.

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Webinar - Service Provider Differentiation Strategies and Vendor Partner Preferences

The Service Provider Differentiation Strategies and Vendor Partner Preferences webinar will be held November 1, 2018, at 11:00 am ET. After that date, the recording will be available below.

Service Providers are no longer just purveyors of compute and storage; they are now seen as partners for services beyond basic infrastructure and key allies in hybrid architectures. As such, vendors are now paying more attention to this increasingly important buying center.

451 Research launched Voice of the Service Provider to both qualify and quantify buying behaviors, business drivers and strategic priorities for the expanding universe of public cloud providers, hosters, MSPs, Telcos, Systems Integrators, SaaS companies, and Colos.

Join 451 Research’s Al Sadowski, Research Vice President for Voice of the Service Provider, to see highlights from the Voice of the Service Provider Q2 2018 survey – Differentiation & Vendor Selection, and learn:

  • Competitive differentiation approaches
  • Top verticals currently served and where growth is expected
  • The role of the Hyperscaler as supplier, strategic partner, AND foe
  • Preferred vendor attributes for compute, storage, colocation
  • Service provider’s top reasons for joining hardware and software vendor partner programs
  • Procurement and sparing strategies

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Webinar - The Future of Work: The Liquid Enterprise, WorkOps and Workforce Intelligence

The Future of Work: The Liquid Enterprise, WorkOps and Workforce Intelligence webinar will be held October 30, 2018, at 12:00 pm ET. After that date, the recording will be available below.

The nature of work is being entirely transformed by innovative new technologies. Catalyzed by businesses looking for greater strategic and operational agility and by the techno-empowerment of individuals, ownership over work execution is decentralizing away from IT and other centralized teams of specialists. This shift requires new understanding and new language.

At 451 Research, we use the term ‘liquid enterprise’ to describe the massive responsiveness to changing market, customer and user requirements that the most innovative enterprises are looking to give affect to. ‘WorkOps’ describes how the nature of work is changing to make this possible – with intelligence, workflow automation, collaboration and reporting embedded and flexibly tessellating across the work execution lifecycle. WorkOps is opening up new possibilities for collective and connected yet highly personalized experiences that will supercharge work execution and drive employee engagement. It’s also giving rise to what we believe is a new enterprise software archetype we call the Workforce Intelligence Platform.

This radically different future for work is significant enough for us to have to rethink the archetypes we use to understand and describe work.

In this webinar, 451 Research analysts Chris Marsh, Raul Castanon-Martinez and Rosanna Jimenez will help you understand how to plan for the future for work that is unfurling:

  • What does the future of work look like?
  • What are the technology trends underpinning how work is changing?
  • How should you be thinking about employee engagement?
  • How do you leverage AI to improve work execution?
  • How can you become ‘liquid’ and put in place for WorkOps practices?
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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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