Sage Summit am 7. und 8. März 2017 in Berlin: Vollgas in die Cloud!

Vergangene Woche war Experton Group / ISG wieder Gast des Sage Summits, der in diesem Jahr erstmalig nicht zentral und international an einem Ort, sondern gesondert an mehreren Weltmetropolen wie London, Johannesburg oder Melbourne stattfand und stellenweise noch stattfinden wird. Die Besonderheiten der jeweiligen lokalen Märkte sollten dadurch thematisch besser berücksichtigt werden. Für Deutschland wählte […]

Zweiter Digital Transformation Vendor Benchmark (ISG Provider Lens) der Experton Group / ISG

Digital Transformation – Performance und Verständnis sind weiterhin Mangelware. Ausreichende Leistungen bieten nur 33 IT-Anbieter: Gerade einmal sieben Prozent aller relevanten IT-Anbieter in Deutschland spielen für Kunden im Kontext Ihrer aktuellen digitalen Transformation eine Rolle. Nur vier Unternehmen sind Full-IT-Business-Transformation-Anbieter 2017: Mit einem Prozent Ausbeute gleicht der Anspruch „Alles aus einer Hand“ im  Kontext digitaler […]

Digitalisierung – ein Wandel von Geschäftsmodellen und Realitäten

Die „Digital Transformation“ ist in aller Munde. Beinahe jeder leitende Angestellte weiß um die Bedeutung digitaler Assets in Form von Assistenten, Bots, Apps und auch Virtual Counterparts oder Digital Twins sowie neuen virtuellen oder durch Zusatzinformationen angereicherte Realitäten. Die Welt wird vielschichtiger und komplexer – die virtuelle Roboterisierung ist in vollem Gang. Vom Produkt über […]

Autonomes Fahren ist Zukunft – halbautomatisches Fahren ist spannend

In dieser Woche nahm ich an einem BITKOM-Kongress zum Thema Cognitive Computing oder Artifical Intelligence teil. Eins der großen Themen war die Diskussion um zunehmende Automatisierung in allen Lebensbereichen. Das Beispiel des selbstfahrenden Autos nahm einen prominenten Platz ein. Kernfragen beinhalten unter anderem: Wie verändert sich zukünftig die Entscheidungshoheit zwischen Mensch und Maschine? Welche Entwicklungsstufen […]

ISDN: Der All-IP-Countdown läuft, rechtzeitig die Weichen stellen – aber wie?

Frank Heuer, Wolfgang Heinhaus

Frank HeuerWolfgang HeinhausKommunikationslösungen waren früher in vielen Unternehmen ein Randthema, das häufig nur alle paar Jahre aufkam, wenn der Mietvertrag der Telefonanlage auslief. Mit der Ankündigung, dass 2018 die Umstellung von ISDN auf das All-IP-Netz abgeschlossen sein soll, stellen sich viele Unternehmen die Frage, wie man sich generell hinsichtlich der Kommunikationslösungen in Zukunft optimalerweise aufstellen soll.

Denn während die Möglichkeiten der Unternehmenskommunikation bis vor einigen Jahren noch sehr übersichtlich waren, gibt es heute eine Vielzahl von Optionen, z.B. Unified Communications, und unterschiedliche Bereitstellungsmodelle – sei es der gewohnte Eigenbetrieb, Private oder Public Cloud. Auch die Anbieterlandschaft hat sich erheblich gewandelt, manch ein etablierter Provider ist verschwunden, viele neue Anbieter sind auf den Markt gekommen, IT-Anbieter haben das Kommunikationsthema in ihr Portfolio integriert und weiterentwickelt.

Zwar werden ISDN-Emulationen angeboten, die den ISDN-Betrieb auch über das Jahr 2018 hinaus möglich machen sollen, aber bei Einsatz der ISDN-Emulationen fallen die aus ISDN-Zeiten gewohnten Funktionen weg, wie Halten, Makeln oder Vermitteln. Wenn zudem schnurlose DECT-Telefone weiter verwendet werden sollen, ist zu untersuchen, ob eine Weiterverwendung möglich ist. Sollen analoge Fax-Systeme angeschlossen werden, gibt es Laufzeitenprobleme. Das sind nur einige Beispiele, die zu berücksichtigen sind.

Darüber hinaus sollte die Umstellung auch als eine Chance begriffen werden, die Möglichkeiten neuer Technologien zur effizienten Kommunikation und Zusammenarbeit zu nutzen und sich damit auch die Wettbewerbsfähigkeit zu erhalten.

Wie können Unternehmen in diesem Zusammenhang optimal die Weichen stellen? Wir stehen Ihnen in einem Strategie-Workshop zur Verfügung, in dem wir Entscheidungsunterstützung zu den vielfältigen Aspekten anbieten und auf die Punkte hinweisen, die berücksichtigt werden sollten. Wenden Sie sich bei Interesse bitte an clientservice@experton-group.com (Betreff: „All-IP Countdown“)

Beispiel-Optionen

Abbildung: Beispiel-Optionen der Kommunikationstechnologie. Quelle: Experton Group AG, 2015.

Autonomes Fahren – vom Kunden nicht gewünscht!

Bottom Line (ICT-Anbieterunternehmen): Autonomes Fahren ist ein interessantes Thema, aber die deutschen Autofahrer wollen immer noch selbst eingreifen können. Anbieter sollten daher eher andere Connected-Car-Themen priorisieren.   Mehrere Studien sagen einen immensen Markt für autonomes Fahren voraus und zeigen auf, dass auch die Deutschen dafür bereit sind. Doch bereit sein heißt nicht automatisch wollen. Der […]

Data Center Deals – Telcos Getting Down to Core Business

Charlie Burns Research Alerts

What is Happening?

On 31 Oct., CenturyLink (CTL) and Level 3 Communications (LVLT) announced a definitive merger agreement, under which CenturyLink will acquire Level 3 Communications in a cash and stock transaction totaling approximately US$34 Billion.

On 4 Nov., CenturyLink announced the US$2.2 Billion sale of 57 data centers and its co-location business to funds advised by BC Partners, in a consortium including Medina Capital Advisors and Longview Asset Management.

Then on 6 Dec., Verizon Communications Inc. announced the sale of 24 data center sites and the associated customers to Equinix Inc. for US$3.6 billion.

Beyond the press releases and trade publication articles focusing on the sizes of these transactions, we see one question many enterprise IT organizations should be asking: How do these transactions impact alternatives for IT infrastructure and potential transformation to digital business?

Why is it Happening?

The telecom arena is experiencing intense competitive pressure between traditional network providers such as AT&T, CenturyLink, and Verizon, and mobile-focused providers such as Sprint, T-Mobile, and Verizon (again). All are contending for a shifting base of consumers and enterprise customers that increase revenues in an expanding variety of means, from network traffic to advertising.

ISG sees all three of these recent telco transactions as indicators of an emerging strategy within the major telecom companies: shedding non-core, and potentially declining, businesses to sharpen focus on core businesses and enable increased focus on pursuit of the growing Cloud market.

CenturyLink’s acquisition of Level 3 is intended to strengthen its core business by significantly increasing its telecom bandwidth assets. And CenturyLink’s sale of data centers and associated co-location business will provide funds to partially offset the cost of the Level 3 acquisition and enable a more narrow focus for the company. Verizon’s sale of data centers and associated customers is intended to provide funds to invest in its cellular business and narrow its focus.

Net Impact

At the time of the transactions, we observed that the acquisition of Level 3 would result in significant enhancement to CenturyLink. We highlighted the benefits of the acquisition as:

  • Increasing CenturyLink’s US footprint by 200k+ fiber route miles. The combined company will be 2nd only to AT&T as a provider of fiber/Ethernet.
  • Significantly expansion of CenturyLink’s international reach by 300k+ fiber route miles and becoming a strong LATAM and APAC competitive presence, along with NA and EU.
  • Level 3’s content delivery network (CDN) in the streaming media space is one of the strongest in the country. This is especially relevant due to the growing demands for streaming multimedia.

And, pertaining to the sale of the data centers and associated businesses we observed that CenturyLink stated its intent to “continue to focus on offering customers a wide range of IT services and solutions, including network, managed hosting and cloud.” We interpreted the transaction as CenturyLink shifting from providing traditional data center and co-location space to pursuing the market that increasingly favors managed hosting, Cloud, and high volume data transmission. This approach builds on CenturyLink’s acquisition of Savvis in April, 2011.

Similar to CenturyLink, Verizon’s sale of 24 data centers is narrowing its focus and reducing its cost structure by eliminating data center and co-location services while retaining managed hosting and Cloud. This approach builds on Verizon’s acquisition of Terremark in January, 2011.

ISG sees both CenturyLink’s and Verizon’s transactions as recognition of the evolving IT requirements of many enterprises. Adoption of Cloud-based IT infrastructures is increasing both horizontally across enterprises and vertically within enterprises. Characteristics of application workloads for business units are evolving with increasing levels of data transmission due to the Internet-of-Things (IoT), the Industrial-Internet-of-Things (IIoT), analytics, support for mobile workforces, and increasingly sophisticated user interfaces.

The bottom line is that we view the CenturyLink and Verizon transactions as likely beneficial to enterprise IT organizations, as well as to both CenturyLink and Verizon . For example, the CenturyLink & Level 3 combined company will be a major competitor in the US business telecom market. We are optimistic that the combined company will result in reduced costs which will lead to more competition in the marketplace.

Verizon’s transaction will not only infuse cash and improve its overall cost structure, it should enable the company to be more competitive in the evolving IT and cellular market.

On the other side of the coin, we see the acquisition of data centers and associated customers as beneficial to the BC Partners consortium, to Equinix, and to enterprises requiring data center and co-location services – including those seeking “edge”-based storage and processing that can improve the performance of IoT and other distributed, Cloud-enabled capabilities.

As we have stated repeatedly for several years, some application workloads are not appropriate for a Cloud-based infrastructure. Further, we project a growing requirement for data center space for “local” processing within major metropolitan areas. Thus, we project that strategically located data center and co-location services will likely remain a profitable business for the foreseeable future if an efficient cost structure can be maintained.

This Research Alert was originally published by ISG Insights, our ongoing globally-focused premium subscription research service. To learn more about ISG Insights, go to http://insights.isg-one.com where you can register for a Research ID that will provide access to some of our complementary content.

Digital Business Summit 2016 – Digital Labor Transforms Business Support Functions

Stanton Jones Research Alerts

What is Happening?

A key concept running through the accelerating digital transformation of business, and highlighted in sessions at our 2016 Greenwich and Chicago Digital Business Summit events, is that of digital labor. Understanding how digital labor includes software capabilities, well beyond robots replacing humans, is key to unlocking the possibilities of Digital Business.

Software that works like a human, or mimics the way humans make decisions, is on the verge of transforming business support functions. Digital labor, applied against common support functions such as IT, HR, F&A and customer care, is fundamentally changing long-held assumptions about how much work an employee can accomplish, how quickly they can accomplish it, and the level of quality they can deliver.

Digital labor makes existing employees more productive by freeing them up from low-value tasks, enabling them to focus on more higher-value work. For example, banks are using virtual agents, created by a Digital Workforce Platform (DWP) to diagnose, remediate and escalate thousands of alerts from transaction monitoring systems to their human agent counterpart. In IT, virtual engineers are intercepting alerts from event management systems and are proactively resolving server and network failures before they happen. And finally in HR, RPA bots are filling the gaps between ERP systems and the myriad of other systems that need to be kept up to date, but cannot be programmatically interfaced.

Digital labor is different than traditional automation in that the virtual analyst or engineer works as if it were a human, by logging into and out of systems, and in more advanced systems, it can predict, diagnose and remediate problems using “learned” behavior to solve issues that may not be linear in nature.

Why is it Happening?

Enterprise employees are overwhelmed with data. This data is most commonly generated by event management systems that create alerts when unexpected behavior is observed. These systems, developed over the past two decades, are based on the assumption that humans have the capacity to analyze and diagnose the data being generated. Given the massive increase in complexity within enterprise environment driven by digital business, the volume of data these systems produce is simply too overwhelming for any human to manage.

When this is added to existing strains on employees born by the lack of connectivity between ERP and other systems, the volume of data that needs to be analyzed and addressed is now far beyond any humans ability to manage.  Digital Workforce Platforms are solving this challenge by creating virtual agents and engineers to sit in front of, and in-between, these systems. These virtual workers can analyze and key data, as well as predict and remediate problems, exponentially faster than a human. This frees up time for the human analyst focus on their job – analysis – rather than on finding the relevant data to determine if its relevant.

Net Impact

ISG research indicates that employee productivity is surging due to digital labor. As was detailed in our September 2016 Automation Index, our analysis of ITO contracts signed over the past 18 months shows a significant increase in productivity across all IT functions. In some cases, we observed a 50 percent reduction in the number of service provider employees needed to support an IT function. This is leading to double-digit savings, sometimes up to 66 percent, for ITO buyers.

We are finding the same story – significantly increased productivity – in our work with clients that are taking a “do-it-yourself” approach to digital labor. These enterprises are buying one or more Digital Workforce Platforms, and are driving digital labor into their organizations using an automation center of excellence, often led by an internal automation champion. We are also finding that organizations that use an Agile approach to introducing digital labor, using sprints, backlogs and story points to estimate, are finding more success and are realizing better outcomes.

Digital labor within enterprises will expand quickly, so we are encouraging enterprises to start now by identifying a champion and creating a COE. Given the fact that virtual agents and engineers will improve a digital pace, and given the pressure support functions feel to response to rapidly increasing digital business needs, the introduction of digital labor is an inevitability. Organizations that learn how to harness the benefits of labor and apply it to their business support functions will create a strategic advantage over the next 12 to 18 months. These organizations will be able to add capacity on-demand, and will, over time, avoid the costs of incremental hires. This will set the stage for these organizations to apply digital labor to customer-facing functions, opening the opportunity for new business models based on the idea of an always-on workforce that consistently applies the best knowledge of the organization.

This Research Alert was originally published by ISG Insights, our ongoing globally-focused premium subscription research service. To learn more about ISG Insights, go to http://insights.isg-one.com where you can register for a Research ID that will provide access to some of our complementary content.

Digitalisierung wird Mainstream

Bottom Line (ICT-Anwenderunternehmen): „Telekom Dialog“ war eine zweitägige Veranstaltung im November, bei der die Deutsche Telekom ihre Kunden nach Berlin geladen hatte und die Strategie für wichtige Trendthemen vorgestellt hat. Außerdem lud BMC Software zu ihrer Anwenderveranstaltung BMC Exchange ein.   Anwender-Veranstaltungen statt großer Messen sind im Trend, und der Herbst ist traditionell eine gute […]