As part of our ongoing field research, Saugatuck regularly attends industry and provider conferences to gain first person insight and to get a chance to speak directly with user and provider executives alike. Last week was no exception, as we participated in three significant IT vendor events: HP’s biennial Cloud analyst briefings, IBM Impact2014, and ServiceNow’s Knowledge14 event.

For Saugatuck, these events spotlighted how three Master Brands were revamping and extending themselves to better approach – and profit from – Cloud IT and Cloud Business opportunities. This Research Alert presents highlights from our experiences at each event, and offers insight into why and how powerful Cloud adoption trends among enterprises are forcing even the most powerful Master Brands, and their customers, to revamp, retool, and re-imagine who they are and what they do – more than once.

  • HP Cloud Analyst Event. Last Wednesday in Boston, HP’s revised and realigned Cloud leadership team sat down a roomful of industry and market analysts, including Saugatuck’s Bruce Guptill, to walk through its rebuilt Cloud portfolio and business strategy. Non-disclosure agreements kept us from reporting on what HP revealed until this week, when HP CEO Meg kicked off a Wednesday-morning webcast with Martin Fink, company executive vice president and chief technology officer, and they announced the OpenStack-based “Helion” portfolio, which includes existing HP hardware, software, and services; new OpenStack-based services; and a series of professional and support services; all aimed at building and managing adaptable, hybridized IT and business environments via a “composable Cloud” approach. Saugatuck will provide our analysis of the new strategy and management team to our CRS subscription research clients later this week.
  • IBM Impact. Saugatuck’s Charlie Burns was in Las Vegas to meet with IBM executives and learn more about the company’s amped-up approach to developing and delivering Cloud IT and business offerings, including the new IBM Cloud Marketplace – launched at Impact as a global, secure, and simplified means of accessing and delivering Cloud services from IBM and its global partner ecosystem, and providing a consistent UI for enterprise developers, IT organizations, and business leaders to obtain “everything you need,” according to Robert LeBlanc, SVP for IBM Software & Cloud Solutions. IBM also – independently – presented a “composable business” concept very similar to the “composable Cloud” approach presented at the HP event, emphasizing the increasingly loosely-coupled nature of Cloud IT and Cloud Business – a significant shift for traditional IT vendors. IBM rounded out its announcements, and its “composability”-oriented strategic approach, with its BlueMix PaaS and new Ready Apps for its MobileFirst Business Acceleration portfolio.
  • ServiceNow Knowledge14. Saugatuck’s Mike West encountered genuine passion from ServiceNow’s executive leaders for service as the key to successful IT and, beyond IT, successful businesses. As noted in Mike’s recent Lens360 blog post, “Clearly something is very right about what ServiceNow is doing. Revenues have grown consistently over the past several years, and today ServiceNow is the third largest Cloud business by revenue, if not by market cap.” The company is aggressively expanding its strategic focus beyond ITSM to business groups and operations throughout most large enterprises, from HR to Security to Finance.

Why is it Happening?

IT and business operations developed and utilized “as-a-service” phenomenon is practically a default position today. While traditional hardware and software continue to make up a significant percentage of annual new IT spending, we’ve passed the tipping point to where Cloud is the more preferred option. So it’s no surprise that providers like HP, IBM, and ServiceNow are re-thinking and extending their earlier Cloud-oriented approaches to be more reflective of current trends.

Multiple forces are shaping and reshaping IT markets and providers toward services-first, composable/loosely-coupled strategies. Cloud is obviously the catalyst for this, but there have also been significant shifts away from traditional means of developing, delivering, and consuming IT, toward more simplistic approaches that take less time, require fewer resources, and therefore cost less. We’ve labeled it the “good enough” phenomenon, and it has risen from the consumer-focused fringes of traditional IT and business to become a core aspect of enterprise and vendor IT strategy.

The “composable” aspect specifically cited by HP and IBM is a logical outgrowth of the “good enough” phenomenon, blending with the realization that loosely-coupled systems make sense in rapidly-changing economies, fueled by a combination of easily-accessed, Cloud-based resources (e.g. components, libraries, DevOps platforms) combined with a growing shift toward API-first methodologies by developers, ISVs, Cloud providers, and enterprise IT leaders.

Click here to read the Market Impact.

This blog was originally published on Saugatuck's Lens360 blog on May 8, 2014. Published with permission.