Cisco: Expert insight into cloud success
Cisco’s 25th annual Partner Summit virtually brought together 19,000 representatives from 152 countries with the help of the cloud – which became the hot topic for conversation.
“The power of the cloud experience,” said Liz Centoni, Cisco’s SVP for strategy, emerging technologies and incubation, “is being able to access innovation from everywhere, whenever you want it.”
The complexity, challenges and potential of cloud technology were addressed when Centoni spoke to moderator Dave Vellante, the chief analyst for Wikibon and co-host of The Cube.
A key theme of the discussion was creating solutions for the variety of cloud motions including on-premises, multiple clouds and SaaS environments. Cloud can bring the agility, speed and scalability that today’s businesses demand.
But in a multi-cloud, hybrid environment, the multiple tech stacks from many providers add layers of complexity and security gaps that can slow things down.
“Customers are saying, ‘okay, I need to have the speed and agility to consume services from multiple places, the flexibility to be able to do that. I need to have a consistent cloud experience across all of my environments,” commented Centoni.
“So, they want us to simplify, bring in more automation, the agility, the flexibility, the consistent way to manage all of these environments.”
Everyone wants to deliver the best application experience for their users. But to do that, app-operator and-infra operator teams need to work together.
“If you look at most teams today, they work in silos — the app developers work in their silo, infrastructure and networking teams work in their silo. And they all use the tools that are most appropriate for the job that they do.
Because you don’t want them using the same tool and having copious amounts of data that don't make sense for their job role. But if you can provide unified correlated data sets, same context and common vocabulary, you can break down the silos and address performance issues before it impacts the end user.”
Centoni shared three reasons that she believes sets Cisco’s solutions apart from the competition.
“Customers trust us to do what is right for them,” she stressed. “With security and privacy, but also in terms of understanding and bringing the right solution to them because of the breadth of the portfolio that we have. We look to understand our customer’s problem.
“The second one is really around the drive for simplicity. It’s not just about providing them with all the knobs and bells and whistles. And the third one is really around continuing to innovate. And lastly, customers want choice; of clouds, hypervisors and orchestration platforms.”
Centoni outlined the main two key performance indicators which would be the most relevant moving forward. “Resilience of the system from a provider standpoint and the experience of the consumer.”
M&A activity key lever for future tech sector growth
Despite the continuing uncertainty of the pandemic, the tech sector has witnessed soaring dealmaking activity over the past year, rocketing in the second half of 2020, with the last quarter of 2020 a record one for M&A activity, and momentum continuing into 2021.
Dealmaking in tech sector soars in past year
And the latest figures bear this out with the number of technology M&A deals totalling US$208.44bn globally in Q1 2021, according to GlobalData. While the US holds top spot both in volume of deals (1034) and total value (US$140.61bn), Europe ranked next with 649 deals (US$44.49bn) with the UK continuing its reign as Europe’s biggest M&A market with 204 deals.
In particular, megadeals – those valued at US$5bn or more – soared in 2020 representing 59% of all global technology sector deal value in 2020, up from 47% in 2019, according to the latest edition of the EY Technology Global Capital Confidence Barometer.
This tech sector trend towards megadeals is backed up by EY’s CCB data, with 16% of tech sector respondents planning to pursue transformative deals valued at US$5bn or more in the near-term.
While technology deal activity “all but stopped at the beginning of 2020 after fluctuating between historic highs and lows, companies pivoted quickly and tech M&A exploded in the second half of the year”, says Barak Ravid, EY Global TMT Leader for Strategy and Transactions.
M&A activity level for tech sector growth
Looking ahead to the future, technology executives are optimistic, with nearly half (47%) expecting profitability to fully rebound this year, according to CCB data, compared to 23% across all sectors, and with more than half (51%) planning to pursue M&A in the next year in order to sustain growth.
According to Ravid, M&A activity is increasingly becoming a key lever for growth as businesses look to recover.
“To position themselves for future revenue growth, tech companies are now adjusting their M&A strategy to focus more on a target’s business resilience, digital technology alignment and to gain market share through consolidation,” says Ravid.
However, with an increasingly competitive deal market and ongoing geopolitical tensions, the majority of tech execs expect to see more competition in the bidding process for assets over the next year, primarily from private capital.