360 Guide: IT industry trends: Major vendors chart new courses Article 1 of 3

Vendors transform to keep up with tech, business trends

In this era of digital disruption, historical dominance is no guarantor of future success.

The leading hardware, software and networking vendors bear witness to this fact of technology life as they grapple with unrelenting, multidimensional changes stemming from a range of IT industry trends. The continuing march of the cloud challenges the purveyors of physical infrastructure. The expansion of software-defined networks and storage alters technology consumption patterns and forces vendors to revise their product lineups. In addition, vendors must decide how to capitalize on a raft of emerging technologies from artificial intelligence to big data analytics.

But IT suppliers face more than technological change. From the business model point of view, some vendors are making a shift toward subscription-based revenue. Others grapple with mergers or divestitures as they recast themselves for future growth. Cultural shifts are also part of the landscape. For instance, digital transformation compels vendors to address the needs of customers who are becoming tech companies in their own right.

Vendors take different paths to transformation. IBM, more than 100 years old, has been through a number of strategic makeovers already. Today, the company aims to emphasize cloud, analytics, mobile and other strategic imperatives amid its declining legacy hardware business.

Other traditionally hardware-oriented companies such as Hewlett Packard Enterprise (HPE) and Dell EMC also seek to reposition themselves. HPE has honed its focus on hybrid IT, having shed its PC and peripherals business as well as its public cloud and legacy IT services operations. Dell EMC, for its part, seeks to take advantage of an expensive technology portfolio that spans servers, storage, virtualization and cybersecurity. Not be left out, Cisco is pursuing software strategy, while Microsoft pursues digital transformation and Citrix looks to the cloud and analytics.

The articles in this guide aim to provide readers -- whether they are tech managers weighing purchasing decisions or channel partners looking for teammates – with greater insight into how major vendors are dealing with the business and IT industry trends sweeping the industry.

Cloud Computing
Data Management
Business Analytics