A consultancy business is only as good as the knowhow it can impart onto clients. So it speaks volumes that, when asked what sets IBM Consulting apart, Lee-Han Tjioe, General Manager for Hong Kong and Macau, points to its rich and varied expertise.
“We have both business consulting and technology consulting in our scope,” Lee-Han says. “We have business consultants in our team that help clients with their strategy, with their new propositions, with defining or optimising business processes. That's one part of our practice. The other part is where we also advise on specific technology topics. So we have consultants that are very specialised in key technologies like AI and Hybrid Cloud that can help clients to achieve technology enabled major operational improvements. We basically have both deep business and technology skill sets to deliver end-to-end solutions.”
IBM has been a trusted advisory and delivery partner with high market reputation for decades, and has further developed into an eco-system provider with recent major corporate acquisitions to expand its AI and Hybrid Cloud skill sets to support clients with implementing differentiating industry and technology solutions. Today, IBM works closely and collaboratively with companies and eco-system partners to achieve required business model changes enabled by modern digital solutions which, without reliable partners, would be hard to scale at fast pace.
In many cases, IBM’s clients are international and local conglomerate companies across multiple key industries. “We are co-creating with our clients and ecosystem partners to develop new propositions and experiences, and applying best practices in a fast fashion with fast go-to-market. One example is with an insurance company that we work with on IOT for “pay-how-you-drive” insurance. And so we helped the client to actually get the right technologies into the cars to track driving behaviours and attach that to very innovative insurance propositions.”
IBM’s partnership with AXA
Another example is IBM’s strong partnership with insurance company AXA, which has endured for many years. Initially, AXA had their applications managed by providers over the world but was looking to consolidate, recognising that it was very hard to achieve consistent levels of service as well as cost-effectiveness. AXA brought IBM on board to manage those applications but also to help them innovate.
“Our partnership with AXA means that we are delivering multi-year support for the business-critical applications that AXA has,” Lee-Han continues. “Those applications are supporting distribution, sales, and key internal operations. We have transferred knowledge of 60 applications within four months and now support about 100+ applications. This is the foundation for our partnership with AXA. We are now helping with further accelerated0 deployment of API-based services on AXA’s digital platform to meet the fast developing new market needs.”
IBM Consulting and Our Transformation
IBM Consulting’s business can be broken down into four pillars: 1. Strategy Consulting, where it works with clients to define vision and blueprint for its future; 2. Experience Consulting, where Garage and Design thinking approaches are applied to redefine new experiences for clients and their customers; 3. Operations Consulting, in which it examines how it can optimise current business activity with automation and new technologies such as AI and IoT; and lastly 4. Technology Consulting, where IBM helps clients to implement or manage enterprise solutions and leverage Cloud technologies for optimising application management.
It’s a diverse remit – but at the heart of everything the firm does is the Virtual Enterprise, IBM’s framework that helps clients in their pursuit of digital transformation. Transformation is not just about taking on technical hurdles, IBM’s depth of transformation experiences and understanding of key industry opportunities proofs a Virtual Enterprise approach can be achieved with an end-to-end vision for achieving business growth.
READ THE FULL AXA HONG KONG REPORT HERE
It is sometimes difficult to understand the true value of IBM's Power-based CPUs and associated server platforms. And the company has written a lot about it over the past few years. Even for IT professionals that deploy and manage servers. As an industry, we have become accustomed to using x86 as a baseline for comparison. If an x86 CPU has 64 cores, that becomes what we used to measure relative value in other CPUs.
But this is a flawed way of measuring CPUs and a broken system for measuring server platforms. An x86 core is different than an Arm core which is different than a Power core. While Arm has achieved parity with x86 for some cloud-native workloads, the Power architecture is different. Multi-threading, encryption, AI enablement – many functions are designed into Power that don’t impact performance like other architectures.
I write all this as a set-up for IBM's announced expanded support for its Power10 architecture. In the following paragraphs, I will provide the details of IBM's announcement and supply some thoughts on what this could mean for enterprise IT.
What was announced
Before discussing what was announced, it is a good idea to do a quick overview of Power10.
IBM introduced the Power10 CPU architecture at the Hot Chips conference in August 2020. Moor Insights & Strategy chief analyst Patrick Moorhead wrote about it here. Power10 is developed on the opensource Power ISA. Power10 comes in two variants – 15x SMT8 cores and 30x SMT4 cores. For those familiar with x86, SMT8 (8 threads/core seems extreme, as does SMT4. But this is where the Power ISA is fundamentally different from x86. Power is a highly performant ISA, and the Power10 cores are designed for the most demanding workloads.
One last note on Power10. SMT8 is optimized for higher throughput and lower computation. SMT4 attacks the compute-intensive space with lower throughput.
IBM introduced the Power E1080 in September of 2021. Moor Insights & Strategy chief analyst Patrick Moorhead wrote about it here. The E1080 is a system designed for mission and business-critical workloads and has been strongly adopted by IBM's loyal Power customer base.
Because of this success, IBM has expanded the breadth of the Power10 portfolio and how customers consume these resources.
The big reveal in IBM’s recent announcement is the availability of four new servers built on the Power10 architecture. These servers are designed to address customers' full range of workload needs in the enterprise datacenter.
The Power S1014 is the traditional enterprise workhorse that runs the modern business. For x86 IT folks, think of the S1014 equivalent to the two-socket workhorses that run virtualized infrastructure. One of the things that IBM points out about the S1014 is that this server was designed with lower technical requirements. This statement leads me to believe that the company is perhaps softening the barrier for the S1014 in data centers that are not traditional IBM shops. Or maybe for environments that use Power for higher-end workloads but non-Power for traditional infrastructure needs.
The Power S1022 is IBM's scale-out server. Organizations embracing cloud-native, containerized environments will find the S1022 an ideal match. Again, for the x86 crowd – think of the traditional scale-out servers that are perhaps an AMD single socket or Intel dual-socket – the S1022 would be IBM's equivalent.
Finally, the S1024 targets the data analytics space. With lots of high-performing cores and a big memory footprint – this server plays in the area where IBM has done so well.
In addition, to these platforms, IBM also introduced the Power E1050. The E1050 seems designed for big data and workloads with significant memory throughput requirements.
The E1050 is where I believe the difference in the Power architecture becomes obvious. The E1050 is where midrange starts to bump into high performance, and IBM claims 8-socket performance in this four-socket socket configuration. IBM says it can deliver performance for those running big data environments, larger data warehouses, and high-performance workloads. Maybe, more importantly, the company claims to provide considerable cost savings for workloads that generally require a significant financial investment.
One benchmark that IBM showed was the two-tier SAP Standard app benchmark. In this test, the E1050 beat an x86, 8-socket server handily, showing a 2.6x per-core performance advantage. We at Moor Insights & Strategy didn’t run the benchmark or certify it, but the company has been conservative in its disclosures, and I have no reason to dispute it.
But the performance and cost savings are not just associated with these higher-end workloads with narrow applicability. In another comparison, IBM showed the Power S1022 performs 3.6x better than its x86 equivalent for running a containerized environment in Red Hat OpenShift. When all was added up, the S1022 was shown to lower TCO by 53%.
What makes Power-based servers perform so well in SAP and OpenShift?
The value of Power is derived both from the CPU architecture and the value IBM puts into the system and server design. The company is not afraid to design and deploy enhancements it believes will deliver better performance, higher security, and greater reliability for its customers. In the case of Power10, I believe there are a few design factors that have contributed to the performance and price//performance advantages the company claims, including
These seemingly minor differences can add up to deliver significant performance benefits for workloads running in the datacenter. But some of this comes down to a very powerful (pardon the redundancy) core design. While x86 dominates the datacenter in unit share, IBM has maintained a loyal customer base because the Power CPUs are workhorses, and Power servers are performant, secure, and reliable for mission critical applications.
Like other server vendors, IBM sees the writing on the wall and has opened up its offerings to be consumed in a way that is most beneficial to its customers. Traditional acquisition model? Check. Pay as you go with hardware in your datacenter? Also, check. Cloud-based offerings? One more check.
While there is nothing revolutionary about what IBM is doing with how customers consume its technology, it is important to note that IBM is the only server vendor that also runs a global cloud service (IBM Cloud). This should enable the company to pass on savings to its customers while providing greater security and manageability.
I like what IBM is doing to maintain and potentially grow its market presence. The new Power10 lineup is designed to meet customers' entire range of performance and cost requirements without sacrificing any of the differentiated design and development that the company puts into its mission critical platforms.
Will this announcement move x86 IT organizations to transition to IBM? Unlikely. Nor do I believe this is IBM's goal. However, I can see how businesses concerned with performance, security, and TCO of their mission and business-critical workloads can find a strong argument for Power. And this can be the beginning of a more substantial Power presence in the datacenter.
Note: This analysis contains insights from Moor Insights & Strategy Founder and Chief Analyst, Patrick Moorhead.
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In the history of information technology, there are not many companies that have reinvented themselves after missing out on seismic changes. IBM (NYSE:IBM) missed the cloud revolution, but the company has reinvented itself with the acquisition of Red Hat. The company's turnaround is just gaining speed. This decade will be an exciting one for IBM. I am looking to add to my holdings at $130, with the stock yielding 5% at that price.
In 2017, I called Red Hat the "next cloud giant" in my article on Seeking Alpha. My prophecy has come true in many ways. First, IBM paid a massive 60% premium to acquire Red Hat in 2019. Then IBM CEO Ginni Rometty had to defend the acquisition's high cost publicly. IBM then made the Red Hat open source stack the centerpiece of its hybrid cloud and AI strategy [Exhibit 1] to capture market share in the $1 Trillion hybrid cloud opportunity. IBM used its vast sales and marketing teams to increase the reach of Red Hat.
IBM's management has done a great job pivoting its strategy by acquiring Red Hat. The hybrid cloud is a general-purpose software environment that provides the foundation to run any application. After spending over 15 years in oblivion, IBM is finally relevant again. They now have a competitive set of software and services that can help companies modernize their on-premise application stack while gaining the capability to leverage the near infinite compute and storage in the cloud.
At the time of my 2017 article, the prospects for hybrid clouds were cloudy (no pun intended) at best. The IT industry expected the three significant clouds (Amazon’s (AMZN) AWS, Google’s (GOOGL) GCP, and Microsoft’s (MSFT) Azure) to take over almost all the workloads running in on-premise datacenters. Mark Hurd, the late CEO of Oracle (ORCL), even predicted that 80% of enterprise apps would move to the cloud. Maintaining on-premises data centers was considered labor-intensive and expensive. But, a migration to the cloud came with its challenges. A company can get very closely tied to a cloud vendor’s API that is incompatible with the other clouds. A migration proved expensive and time-consuming for many traditional companies, especially in banking, insurance, and financial services.
The financial services industry is highly competitive, with many highly regulated banks competing against fintechs that face no regulation. Even Jamie Dimon, the CEO of JP Morgan Chase (JPM), complained about how fintech is taking market share away from traditional banks and how the competitive scales are tilted in favor of fintech due to the heavy regulatory requirements imposed on banks. So, many traditional companies in the financial services industry needed a way to modernize their technology and provide a great customer experience without breaking the bank or taking years to deliver a digital transformation. These companies also had their data in the databases such as Oracle or IBM DB2, which can be expensive to modernize. Many traditional banks had also deployed their applications on mainframes that continue to be a mainstay technology at banks and insurance companies.
Enter containerization, microservices architecture, and Kubernetes. Containerization and Kubernetes allow a company to move from one cloud to another or even move their application to their own data center without rewriting the code. Red Hat’s Openshift software enables the hybrid cloud. Red Hat is not the only player in the hybrid cloud business. VMware (VMW) has built hybrid cloud features into its VMware vSphere virtualization technology, and the cloud providers have launched their own set of technologies involving containers that help customers run their applications in their datacenters.
Red Hat had total revenues of $3.36 billion at the end of its fiscal year ending in February 2019. FY 2019 was the last full fiscal year before IBM acquired the company. In FY 2021, IBM declared $24.14 billion in software revenue. Hybrid Cloud and Solutions accounted for $17.75 billion or 73% of that total software revenue. The company does not break out the revenue from Red Hat but mentioned that its year-over-year revenue growth was 30.6%. IBM also said they had 3,800 customers on their hybrid cloud platform at the end of FY 2021 and added 200 more new customers in Q1 FY 2022 to bring the total number above 4,000. In 2017, Red Hat had about 300 customers.
Exhibit 1: Red Hat is the Centerpiece of IBM’s Hybrid Cloud and AI Strategy
The company suspended its share buyback program when it announced the Red Hat acquisition in 2019. The company had $62.8 billion in debt at the end of FY 2019. It ended in 2021 with a total debt of $51.7 billion. IBM issued $4 billion in debt in February to replace some of the debt due this year. This new $4 billion debt brings the total to over $54 billion. About $12.2 billion of the debt is related to its financing arm, which offers clients loans to purchase IBM products. The company’s debt to EBITDA ratio is a very high 4.6x. The company will likely not resume share buybacks until the debt to EBITDA ratio is closer to 3x. IBM’s total debt will have to fall to around $35 billion to reach the debt to EBITDA ratio of 3x. The company paid nearly $6 billion in dividends yearly and generated about $12 billion in operating cash flows in FY 2021. The stock yields a dividend of 4.7% with a payout ratio of 68%.
The company’s return on invested capital [ROIC] was 7.34% [Exhibit 2]. I have estimated that the weighted average cost of capital [WACC] for IBM is 7.16% at the current 10-year treasury rate of 3.08%. The company’s ROIC is just marginally better than its WACC. But, the company generated a good return on equity [ROE] of 26%. Hewlett Packard Enterprises (HPE) and VMware had an ROIC of 11% and an ROE of 19.6% and 29.2%, respectively [Exhibit 3].
Exhibit 2: ROIC for VMware, Hewlett Packard Enterprise, and IBM
Exhibit 3: ROE for VMware, Hewlett Packard Enterprise, and IBM
Between June 3, 2019, and July 8, 2022, IBM's daily price return data showed an average return of 0.031% or 3.1 basis points [Exhibit 5]. IBM's daily return was below 0.86% or 86 basis points 75% of the time [third quartile in Exhibit 5].
IBM has returned an average of 0.5% per month since June 2019 [Exhibit 4]. The company's monthly return was below 6.13% 75% of the time between June 3, 2019, and June 30, 2022 [third quartile in Exhibit 4].
Vanguard Information Technology ETF's (VGT) and IBM’s monthly returns have a moderate positive correlation of 0.41. IBM’s strategic and market struggles over the past decade are reflected in this moderate correlation between IBM and the rest of the IT stocks. In fact, over the past five years, the Vanguard Information Technology ETF has returned over 139%, while IBM has returned a -4%. But, IBM has returned 4.49% in the past year compared to -15% for the Vanguard Information Technology ETF.
It is safe to say that IBM’s returns have been disastrous in the past decade. IBM has now turned around its business and has a clear strategic direction. This new strategy at IBM should yield positive returns for investors in the coming years, but I do not expect to double my money in the next three to five years. I do expect that IBM will have annual total returns in the low to mid-double digits.
Exhibit 4: IBM Monthly Price Change (%) [June 3, 2019 - June 30, 2022]
Exhibit 5: IBM Daily Price Change (%) [June 3, 2019 - July 8, 2022]
IBM is long admired for its investments in R&D projects which make risky bets on technologies that have potential. But, the company has not always capitalized on the fruits of its R&D projects. The company’s CEO discussed their quantum computing efforts in the recent earnings call by deploying “the world’s first 127-qubit processor”. Recently, McKinsey & Company highlighted various thorny problems in sustainability and green energy that can be researched using quantum computing. The management consultancy thinks quantum computing will arrive in the second half of this decade.
It also unveiled the first 2-nanometer chip technology that has the potential to pack 50 billion transistors on a chip the size of a fingernail. Many companies in IT invest their R&D dollars in making incremental product improvements. That conservative R&D investment does not yield any groundbreaking technologies or help the company gain much-needed hands-on experience in a specific area. In the end, those companies succumb to technology disruptions. Even though IBM has missed many shifts in computing in the past, the company has a better chance of winning in areas such as quantum computing and the latest semiconductor technologies when it has conducted deep-dive research.
IBM (IBM) has been a disastrous investment for the past decade. But, the Red Hat merger is a success, and the management has executed brilliantly. I am willing to bet that this decade will be prosperous for IBM. IBM's monthly returns have varied widely over the past three years, with a standard deviation of nearly 7%. I will add to my IBM holdings at $130, which is, coincidently, 7% below current prices. The stock would yield an excellent dividend of 5% at $130. Also, economists expect the U.S. to enter a recession, so there is a reasonable probability that the price may get to $130 or below in the next few months.
There’s a chance you might have heard about multi-cloud in the last year or so. And for good reason, too. According to IBM’s State of Multicloud report, 30% of organisations are using three or more clouds, while multi-cloud strategies are rapidly becoming an established part of the digital playbook, with 21% of businesses overall describing it as their ‘most important initiative’.
We hear plenty about its potential for getting apps into production quickly. But what about doing the same for data? Well when it comes to cloud data warehousing (an enterprise system used for storing data from various sources), it’s generally the case that two (or more) clouds are often better than one, given the variety and complexity of data handled in the modern day.
A multi-cloud architecture can present any number of combinations of cloud platforms and cloud data warehouses (CDWs), and there are a multitude of factors that might compel an organisation to set up their infrastructure in this way. However, there are several common use cases and reasons that we see every day:
However, multi-cloud isn’t a silver bullet solution and, like any technology, comes with its own data risks and challenges to navigate. Without a solid underlying strategy for where to store and execute against your data in the cloud, organisations risk facing serious problems. Let me explain why.
Solving the multi-cloud puzzle
Inherently, a multi-cloud configuration creates data silos, with data stored in various data warehouses and lakes across multiple platforms, locations and environments. This outcome is by no means intentional, but leads to inconsistencies in output as individuals apply their own rules to and work on different streams of data. Ultimately, such silos are a major obstacle to that “single source of truth” that businesses so desperately seek, as well as their efforts to become truly data-driven.
Portability is also a major cause of this; organisations find it hard to break out of data silos because their data is stored in different formats across a variety of technologies and platforms. Vendor lock-in is so common partly because of this lack of interoperability between providers, and while portability solutions exists, at present they’re expensive to obtain and maintain.
Both data silos and the lack of portability are ongoing issues, because moving data between platforms or regions can pose a data security risk without the correct governance, processes and security controls in place. So how can businesses safeguard against these data challenges and ensure they capitalise fully on the freedom, flexibility and efficiencies associated with a multi-cloud architecture?
First we need to remember that multi-cloud architectures are not one-size-fits-all, just as business problems aren’t either. They can comprise a mix of public and private cloud infrastructures, or use a variety of different cloud data warehouse providers, such as Amazon Redshift and Snowflake. Or perhaps you might be hosting operational data stores in AWS but migrating and doing data analytics in Azure. Often multi-cloud is all of these at once!
Whatever the scenario, a unifying data management layer that allows for the secure passage of data across warehouses, platforms and regions is always paramount. It sets the foundation for ‘Cross-cloud’ data sharing, in which organisations deploy a single type of cloud data warehouse that can operate on multiple cloud data platforms. Snowflake customers can launch their CDW on AWS, Google Cloud and Azure, for example. Or you could flip this configuration, and use a single underlying cloud platform and multiple CDWs.
Whatever solution you opt for, a strong data transformation and loading process is essential if you’re to extract maximum value from your data in a multi-cloud infrastructure. Although these architectures can be complex without the right integration strategy, it ultimately helps data teams to be more productive, flexible and efficient. When fed into a robust data strategy across the organisation, this allows then companies to take away more value from their data and make more informed decisions – the ultimate silver lining sought from any cloud.
Welcome to the 135th Wimbledon Championships – the smartest, most data-driven and sustainable ever!
In this piece I explore the latest technology, people and purpose inspired innovations following a behind the scenes visit with IBM, the official Information Technology partner for the All England Lawn Tennis Club (AELTC) and The Championships for the past 33 years. I also reflect on the changes I have seen first-hand over the last 12 months, especially regarding explainable AI, the quality and interactivity of the fan experience and sustainable development. This is clearly based on the power of trusted partnership with workshopping, testing and developing AI and analytics-based solutions in an all-year shared commitment. Let’s dive into the key advances!
Wimbledon reached approximately 18 million fans through its digital platforms in 2021. And this year, the event has become even more technology feature rich by design - whilst always supported by people in partnership. Around each match court there are typically 2-3 individuals applying their judgment on the data generated – from reflecting on whether it was a volley or drop shot, or double-checking, did the ball graze the racket or was that actually an ace? The only thing stopping this at Wimbledon 2022 was quite literally a swarm of bees, when the affected court data entry position was cleared and this ‘sanity-check’ of data role seamlessly taken over by the IBM Technology Command Centre – meaning no data point evaluation was lost!
With an overarching focus on trustworthy AI and the interactivity of the fan experience, this year IBM has moved another ‘step beyond’ the technology foundation of IBM Power Index (IPI) with Watson, Personalized Recommendations and Highlights Reels, and IBM Match Insights with Watson, and all underpinned by NLP, Natural Search and a hybrid cloud approach combining IBM Cloud, on-premises systems and private clouds, which I covered previously here. Two new features for 2022 which advance both AI explainability and the fan experience are ‘Win Factors’ and ‘Have Your Say’ as detailed below:
On both the official Wimbledon apps and Wimbledon.com, users can now register their own personal predictions for match outcomes via Have Your Say. Users can their compare their take with the aggregated predictions of other tennis fans plus the AI-powered Likelihood to Win predictions that are generated by IBM Watson. Such a great way to enable all voices to be heard, enable interactivity and continue the conversation on social channels too – sports fans always love to debate! And you can see the delight on occasions where ‘users beat the tech’ – although it must be said that IBM predictions maintain an 80%+ accuracy rate on the centre courts where predictions are based on the greatest volume, history and range of data sources. So, impressive results all round!
Advancing the existing ‘Match Insights’ feature on Wimbledon.com and the Wimbledon apps, ‘Win Factors’ offer a new level of explainability into the factors which can affect player performance that are being analysed by the AI to determine insights and predictions. These include the IBM Power Index, ATP/WTA rankings, yearly success, media articles and punditry, recent performance, head-to-head, ratio of games won, net of sets won and court surface. The feature also highlights the top 3 factors that have influenced the AI’s ultimate Likelihood to Win prediction. This heralds a new level of digital experiences driven by AI with transparency and explainability embedded by design, critical to both user understanding and user trust, as highlighted in new research explored here.
The overarching event theme for the Championships this year is “Environment Positive, Every Day” with investment in reducing environmental impact a long held commitment by the AELTC as detailed in pledges including net-zero emissions from operations, zero-waste status and achieving biodiversity net-gain available < a rel="nofollow" target="_blank" href="https://www.wimbledon.com/en_GB/atoz/sustainability.html">here. Amongst a number of green developments at Wimbledon 2022 are electric vehicles, a bug hotel, living walls and reusable cups plus priority plant-based options in restaurants, coupled by innovation in the food supply chain, especially around transparency and waste reduction.
IBM is already developing new innovation around energy efficient smart lighting for the event and underpins the Wimbledon Championships environmental commitment with its ‘sustainable by design’ technology strategy which focuses on the complete lifecycle from design choices through to innovation adoption, manufacturing and shipping logistics. Taking materials selection as the foundation of a sustainable lifecycle, IBM has sourced all 3TG mineral requirements from ethical smelters or refiners, or from 100% recycled or scrap for the last 3 years.
And with a 27-year history of continually improving the energy efficiency of its products generation after generation, the latest z16 server iteration combines performance advancements, executing some 25 billion encrypted transactions per day, with assured energy ratings and transparency around estimated carbon footprint – this can help predict the full life cycle emissions of a product and identify opportunity areas for the greatest greenhouse gas reduction.
The commitment continues with practices deployed in manufacturing to eliminate waste, for example the use of High Recycled Content Polyethylene Cushions for IBMz, IBM Power and Storage, reducing the use of virgin materials by some 60% and by optimizing reuse and recycling opportunities. Since 1995, IBM has processed 2.46 Billion pounds of products and product waste worldwide, sending just 0.3% to landfills or for incineration in 2021. Reflecting on this further, when we consider the 2022 Championships aspiration to be “Environment Positive, Every Day” this level of sustained action for sustainable innovation by Wimbledon’s technology partner for the past 33 years, is clearly a match well made!
It has been said that ‘technology is magic’ and my experience behind the scenes at Wimbledon 2022 echoes that ‘art of the possible ethos’ made real, raising the game in AI explainability and trust, alongside heightening the dynamism and interactivity of the digital experience - helping to keep fans informed, engaged, curious and deeply involved real-time. It also brings to the fore that technology innovation and becoming data-driven is underpinned by the power and motivation of people, partnership and purpose – Wimbledon maybe a 2-week event but it’s an everyday and all year continuous commitment to sustainable technology change. I can’t wait to see what’s next!
For more information on IBM and the Wimbledon Championships, more information is available here.
Dr. Sally Eaves is a highly experienced chief technology officer, professor in advanced technologies, and a Global Strategic Advisor on digital transformation specializing in the application of emergent technologies, notably AI, 5G, cloud, security, and IoT disciplines, for business and IT transformation, alongside social impact at scale.
An international keynote speaker and author, Sally was an inaugural recipient of the Frontier Technology and Social Impact award, presented at the United Nations, and has been described as the "torchbearer for ethical tech", founding Aspirational Futures to enhance inclusion, diversity, and belonging in the technology space and beyond. Sally is also the chair for the Global Cyber Trust at GFCYBER.
Paul Cormier, the current CEO and president of the open source software tools provider, will continue on as Red Hat’s chairman, according to a company statement.
IBM subsidiary Red Hat has named a new president and CEO effective immediately: Matt Hicks, the company’s executive vice president of products and technologies.
Paul Cormier, the current CEO and president of the open source software tools provider, will continue on as Red Hat’s chairman, according to a company statement Tuesday.
Cormier will work on scaling the company, customer adoption and mergers and acquisitions, perhaps an indication that a purchase is on the horizon for Red Hat. Both men will report to IBM CEO Arvind Krishna, according to the statement.
[RELATED: RED HAT CEO: ‘OPEN HYBRID CLOUD WILL BE DEFINED BY HARDWARE INNOVATION AT THE EDGE’]
CRN has reached out to Red Hat for comment. IBM is scheduled to report earnings for the second quarter of fiscal year 2022 on Monday.
“Red Hat serves as the foundation of so many clients’ technology strategies because of its open source and hybrid cloud capabilities,” Krishna said in a statement. “Matt’s deep experience and technical knowledge of Red Hat’s entire portfolio makes him the ideal leader as Red Hat continues to grow and to develop innovative, industry leading software.”
In April, during IBM’s most recent quarterly earnings report, for the first quarter of IBM’s fiscal year, IBM shouted out Red Hat as a source of revenue growth for the Armonk, N.Y.-based tech giant.
Red Hat revenue was up 21 percent for the quarter year over year. The company unveiled a new partnership with Nvidia during the quarter around AI-powered applications across data centers, edge and public clouds.
“There has never been a more exciting time to be in our industry and the opportunity in front of Red Hat is vast,” Hicks said in the statement. ”I’m ready to roll up my sleeves and prove that open source technology truly can unlock the world’s potential.”
Hicks joined Red Hat in 2006 as a developer on the IT team, according to the statement. He was a key member of the engineering team behind Kubernetes platform Red Hat OpenShift and helped to expand the portfolio to handle multiple clouds, the edge and other environments.
He also helped spearhead new managed cloud solutions, artificial intelligence capabilities and cloud-native applications, among other Red Hat offerings, according to the statement.
Hicks was also front and center during the recent Red Hat Summit event, delivering part of the keynote address.
Cormier has worked at Red Hat for more than 20 years. He became Red Hat CEO and president in 2020 when his predecessor, Jim Whitehurst, was bumped up from Red Hat CEO to IBM president.
Whitehurst surprised the channel last year by stepping down as IBM president and becoming a senior adviser to Krishna and the IBM executive team. IBM bought Red Hat in 2019.
“Red Hat serves as the foundation of so many clients’ technology strategies because of its open source and hybrid cloud capabilities,” Krishna said in a statement. “Matt’s deep experience and technical knowledge of Red Hat’s entire portfolio makes him the ideal leader as Red Hat continues to grow and to develop innovative, industry leading software.”
As chairman, Cormier will “serve as Red Hat’s strategic touchstone and key advisor,” according to the statement.
“His focus will continue to be on scaling the company and accelerating customer adoption of open source technology to build their open hybrid cloud architecture,” according to the statement. “Having led more than 26 acquisitions at Red Hat, Cormier will also work closely with Red Hat leadership on future M&A strategy.”
In the statement, Cormier said that Hicks “is absolutely the right person to step into this role.”
“His experience across different parts of our business has given him depth and breadth of knowledge about how we can best work together to scale and remain the open hybrid cloud leader,” Cormier said. “He understands our product strategy and the direction the industry is moving in a way that’s second to none. As chairman, I’m excited to get to work with our customers, partners, and Matt in new ways.”
The news comes as multiple tech companies make changes at the top this summer. On Tuesday, Citrix-Tibco announced that Tom Krause would leave Broadcom-VMware to become its new CEO.
In June, Arrow Electronics promoted Sean J. Keris to CEO. And in May, Services provider Red River hired former SAP and Juniper Networks executive Brian Roach as its new CEO.
In June, Verizon Business announced that CEO Tami Erwin is stepping down at the end of 2022 and taking the helm will be Sowmyanarayan Sampath
[Editor’s note: “7 Quantum Computing Stocks to Buy for the Next 10 Years” was previously published in August 2020. It has since been updated to include the most relevant information available.]
Quantum computing has long been a concept stuck in the theory phase. Using quantum mechanics to create a class of next-generation quantum computers with nearly unlimited computing power remained out of reach.
But quantum computing is starting to hit its stride. recent breakthroughs in this emerging field — such as IBM’s (IBM) progressive 100-qubit quantum chip – are powering quantum computing forward. Over the next several years, this space will go from theory to reality. And this transition will spark huge growth in the global quantum computing market.
The investment implication?
It’s time to buy quantum computing stocks.
At scale, quantum computing will disrupt every industry in the world, from finance to biotechnology, cybersecurity and everything in between.
It will Improve the way medicines are developed by simulating molecular processes. It will reduce energy loss in batteries via optimized routing and design, thereby allowing for hyper-efficient electric car batteries. In finance, it will speed up and augment portfolio optimization, risk modeling and derivatives creation. In cybersecurity, it will disrupt the way we go about encryption. It will create superior weather forecasting models, unlock advancements in autonomous vehicle technology and help humans fight climate change.
I’m not kidding when I say quantum computing will change everything.
And as this next-gen computing transforms the world, quantum computing stocks will be big winners over the next decade.
So, with that in mind, here are seven of those stocks to buy for the next 10 years:
Among the various quantum computing stocks to buy for the next 10 years, the best is probably Alphabet (GOOG, GOOGL) stock.
Its Google AI Quantum is built on the back of a state-of-the-art 54-qubit processor dubbed Sycamore. And many consider this to be the leading quantum computing project in the world. Why? This thinking is bolstered mostly by the fact that, in late 2019, Sycamore performed a calculation in 200 seconds that would have taken the world’s most powerful supercomputers 10,000 years to perform.
This achievement led Alphabet to claim that Sycamore had reached quantum supremacy. What does this mean? Well, that’s the point when a quantum computer can perform a task in a relatively short amount of time that no other supercomputer could in any reasonable amount of time.
Many have since debated whether or not Alphabet has indeed reached quantum supremacy.
But that’s somewhat of a moot point.
The reality is that Alphabet has built the world’s leading quantum computer. The engineering surrounding it will only get better. And so will Sycamore’s computing power. And through its Google Cloud business, Alphabet can turn Sycamore into a market-leading quantum-computing-as-a-service business with huge revenues at scale.
To that end, GOOG stock is one of the best quantum computing stocks to buy today for the next 10 years.
The other “big dog” that closely rivals Alphabet in the quantum computing space is IBM.
IBM has been big in the quantum computing space for years. But Big Blue has attacked this space in a fundamentally different way than its peers.
That is, other quantum computing players like Alphabet have chased quantum supremacy. But IBM has shunned that idea in favor of building on something the company calls the “quantum advantage.”
Ostensibly, the quantum advantage really isn’t too different from quantum supremacy. The former deals with a continuum focused on making quantum computers perform certain tasks faster than traditional computers. The latter deals with a moment focused on making quantum computers permanently faster at all things than traditional computers.
But it’s a philosophical difference with huge implications. By focusing on building the quantum advantage, IBM is specializing its efforts into making quantum computing measurably useful and economic in certain industry verticals for certain tasks.
In so doing, IBM is creating a fairly straightforward go-to-market strategy for its quantum computing services in the long run.
IBM’s realizable, simple, tangible approach makes it one of the most sure-fire quantum computing stocks to buy today for the next 10 years.
Another big tech player in the quantum computing space with promising long-term potential is Microsoft (MSFT).
Microsoft already has a huge infrastructure cloud business, Azure. Building on that foundation, Microsoft has launched Azure Quantum. It’s a quantum computing business with potential to turn into a huge QCaaS business at scale.
Azure Quantum is a secure, stable and open ecosystem, serving as a one-stop shop for quantum computing software and hardware.
The bull thesis here is that Microsoft will lean into its already-huge Azure customer base to cross-sell Azure Quantum. Doing so will supply Azure Quantum a big and long runway for widespread early adoption. And that’s the first step in turning Azure Quantum into a huge QCaaS business.
And it helps that Microsoft’s core Azure business is absolutely on fire right now.
Putting it all together, quantum computing is simply one facet of the much broader Microsoft enterprise cloud growth narrative. That narrative will remain robust for the next several years. And it will continue to support further gains in MSFT stock.
The most interesting, smallest and potentially most explosive quantum computing stock on this list is Quantum Computing (QUBT).
And the bull thesis is fairly simple.
Quantum computing will change everything over the next several years. But the hardware is expensive. It likely won’t be ready to deliver measurable benefits at reasonable costs to average customers for several years. So, Quantum Computing is building a portfolio of affordable quantum computing software and apps that deliver quantum computing power. And they can be run on traditional legacy supercomputers.
In so doing, Quantum Computing is hoping to fill the affordability gaps. It aims to become the widespread, low-cost provider of accessible quantum computing software for companies that can’t afford full-scale hardware.
Quantum Computing has begun to commercialize this software, namely with QAmplify, its suite of powerful QPU-expansion software technologies. through three products currently in beta mode. According to William McGann, the company’s chief operating and technology officer:
“The use of our QAmplify algorithm in the 2021 BMW Group Quantum Computing Challenge for vehicle sensor optimization provided proof of performance by expanding the effective capability of the annealer by 20-fold, to 2,888 qubits.”
Quantum Computing’s products will likely start signing up automaker, financial, healthcare and government customers to long-term contracts. Those early signups could be the beginning of thousands for Quantum’s services over the next five to 10 years.
You could really see this company go from zero to several hundred million dollars in revenue in the foreseeable future.
If that happens, QUBT stock — which has a market capitalization of $78 million today — could soar.
Like others in this space, Alibaba’s (BABA) focused on creating a robust QCaaS arm to complement its already-huge infrastructure-as-a-service business.
In short, Alibaba is the leading public cloud provider in China. Indeed, Alibaba Cloud owns about 10% of the global IaaS market. Alibaba intends to leverage this leadership position to cross-sell quantum computing services to its huge existing client base. And eventually, it hopes to become the largest QCaaS player in China, too.
Will it work?
The Great Tech Wall of China will prevent many on this list from participating in or reaching scale in China. Alibaba does have some in-country quantum computing competition. But this isn’t a winner-take-all market. And given Alibaba’s enormous resource advantages, it’s highly likely that it becomes a top player in China’s quantum computing market.
That’s just another reason to buy and hold BABA stock for the long haul.
The other big Chinese tech company diving head-first into quantum computing is Baidu (BIDU).
The company launched its own quantum computing research center in 2018. According to its website, the goal of this research center is to integrate quantum computing into Baidu’s core businesses.
If so, that means Baidu’s goal for quantum computing diverges from the norm. Others in this space want to build out quantum computing power to sell it as a service to third parties. Baidu wants to build out quantum computing power to, at least initially, Improve its own operations.
Doing so will pay off in a big way for the company.
Baidu’s core search and advertising businesses could markedly Improve with quantum computing. Advancements in computing power could dramatically Improve its search algorithms and ad-targeting techniques and power its profits higher.
And thanks to its early research into quantum computing, BIDU stock does have healthy upside.
Last — but not least — on this list of quantum computing stocks to buy is Intel (INTC).
Intel may be falling behind competitors — namely Advanced Micro Devices (AMD) — on the traditional CPU front. But the semiconductor giant is on the cutting edge of creating potential quantum CPU candidates.
Intel’s newly announced Horse Ridge cryogenic control chip is widely considered the market’s best quantum CPU candidate out there today. The chip includes four radio frequency channels that can control 128 qubits. That’s more than double Tangle Lake, Intel’s predecessor quantum CPU.
The big idea, of course, is that when quantum computers are built at scale, they will likely be built on Intel’s quantum CPUs.
Therefore, potentially explosive growth in the quantum computing hardware market over the next five to 10 years represents a huge, albeit speculative, growth catalyst for both Intel and INTC stock.
On the date of publication, Luke Lango did not have (either directly or indirectly) any positions in the securities mentioned in this article.
RALEIGH – Red Hat has a new chief executive officer with veteran leader Paul Cormier moving up to chairman and Matt Hicks, the Hatters’ head of products and technologies, replacing him in the CEO role.
The news was announced Tuesday afternoon – first in emails from Cromier and Hicks sent to Red Hat employees then released after the markets closed.
CRN, a tech news website that closely follows Red Hat, described the move as a “surprise.”
Arvind Krishna, chairman and CEO, IBM
IBM chair and CEO Arvind Krishna praised Hicks in the news announcement.
“Red Hat serves as the foundation of so many clients’ technology strategies because of its open source and hybrid cloud capabilities. Matt’s deep experience and technical knowledge of Red Hat’s entire portfolio makes him the ideal leader as Red Hat continues to grow and to develop innovative, industry leading software,” he said.
IBM acquired Red Hat in 2018.
Cormier, a veteran Hatter with more than 20 years at the IBM subsidiary based in Raleigh, took over as CEO in 2020 in the wake of IBM’s takeover. Cromier succeeded longtime chief executive Jim Whitehurst who became No. 2 at IBM. He later left the company.
Hicks’ previous role as executive vice president of products and technologies. He, too, is a longtime Red Hat veteran, having worked at the open source and cloud computing focused company since 2006. He began his career as a software developer, according to Red Hat.
“There has never been a more exciting time to be in our industry and the opportunity in front of Red Hat is vast. I’m ready to roll up my sleeves and prove that open source technology truly can unlock the world’s potential,” Hicks said in a statement.
“Matt is the exemplification of a true Red Hatter and is absolutely the right person to step into this role. His experience across different parts of our business has given him depth and breadth of knowledge about how we can best work together to scale and remain the open hybrid cloud leader. He understands our product strategy and the direction the industry is moving in a way that’s second to none. As chairman, I’m excited to get to work with our customers, partners, and Matt in new ways. My focus moving forward will be on helping customers drive innovation forward with a hybrid cloud platform built on open source technology. Open source technology has won the innovation debates and whatever the future looks like, it’s going to be built on open source technology and Red Hat will be there.”
Matt Hicks, Red Hat president and CEO.
Open source software solutions provider Red Hat has appointed Matt Hicks as president and chief executive officer.
In a statement, the IBM-owned company says Hicks, who previously served as Red Hat’s executive vice-president of products and technologies, succeeds Paul Cormier, who will serve as chairman of Red Hat.
Known as a hands-on leader within Red Hat, the company says Hicks joined the open source provider in 2006 as a developer on the IT team.
It says he quickly rose via leadership positions across the organisation, helping Red Hat solidify itself as the open hybrid cloud technology leader.
Most notably, says Red Hat, Hicks was a foundational member of the engineering team that developed Red Hat OpenShift, which has grown into the backbone for hybrid cloud deployments across industries, now serving as the industry’s leading enterprise Kubernetes platform.
According to Red Hat, he has remained at the vanguard of hybrid cloud computing and Red Hat’s product strategy since then.
It adds that Cormier, who was named president and CEO in 2020, has a 21-year tenure at Red Hat and during that time he has driven much of the company’s open hybrid cloud strategy, playing an instrumental role in the expansion of Red Hat’s portfolio to a full, modern IT stack based on open source innovation.
His efforts to transform Red Hat Linux from a freely downloadable operating system, to a subscription model with Red Hat Enterprise Linux, was a pivotal moment, says the company.
“When I first joined Red Hat, I was passionate about open source and our mission, and I wanted to be a part of that,” says Hicks.
“I am humbled and energised to be stepping into this role at this moment. There has never been a more exciting time to be in our industry and the opportunity in front of Red Hat is vast. I’m ready to roll up my sleeves and prove that open source technology truly can unlock the world’s potential.”
Says Cormier: “Matt is the exemplification of a true Red Hatter and is absolutely the right person to step into this role. His experience across different parts of our business has given him depth and breadth of knowledge about how we can best work together to scale and remain the open hybrid cloud leader.
“He understands our product strategy and the direction the industry is moving in a way that’s second to none. As chairman, I’m excited to get to work with our customers, partners and Matt in new ways. My focus moving forward will be on helping customers drive innovation forward with a hybrid cloud platform built on open source technology.
“Open source technology has won the innovation debates and whatever the future looks like, it’s going to be built on open source technology and Red Hat will be there.”
Arvind Krishna, chairman and CEO of IBM, comments: “Red Hat serves as the foundation of so many clients’ technology strategies because of its open source and hybrid cloud capabilities. Matt’s deep experience and technical knowledge of Red Hat’s entire portfolio makes him the ideal leader as Red Hat continues to grow and to develop innovative, industry-leading software.”
Red Hat Inc. sprang a surprise today as it announced that Matt Hicks has been promoted to be its new president and chief executive officer, effective immediately.
Hicks (pictured) takes the reins from current president and CEO Paul Cormier, who has moved upstairs to become the open-source software provider’s new chairman.
Red Hat is a subsidiary of IBM Corp. and seen as one of the pioneers of open-source software. Its flagship product is the Red Hat Enterprise Linux operating system, which is widely used to power thousands of enterprise data centers around the world. The company also sells tools around virtualization, software containers, middleware and various other applications. It was acquired by IBM in 2019 for $34 billion.
IBM CEO Arvind Krishna said Red Hat serves as the foundation of thousands of enterprises’ technology strategies thanks to its open-source, hybrid cloud capabilities. “Matt’s deep experience and technical knowledge of Red Hat’s entire portfolio makes him the ideal leader as Red Hat continues to grow and develop innovative, industry-leading software,” he said.
During IBM’s most recent quarterly earnings report, the company called out Red Hat as a key and growing revenue driver. Red Hat’s sales jumped 21% in the quarter from one year prior. IBM said it’s well-positioned to enjoy further growth too, having recently forged a partnership with Nvidia Corp. that will see it create new, artificial intelligence-powered applications that span data centers, clouds and the network edge.
Incoming chief Hicks joined the company back in 2006 as a software developer on one of its information technology teams. He became a key member of the engineering team that created Red Hat OpenShift, the company’s Kubernetes platform, helping expand that offering to cover multiple clouds and other environments.
Hicks has also helped the company to deliver new managed cloud offerings, AI capabilities and cloud-native applications. His importance to the company was on show during the most recent Red Hat Summit in May, where he delivered part of its keynote address.
During that event, Hicks stopped by theCUBE, SiliconANGLE’s mobile livestreaming studio, where he discussed how the company’s commitment to open-source software helps to drive innovation:
“There has never been a more exciting time to be in our industry and the opportunity in front of Red Hat is vast,” Hicks said in a statement today. ”I’m ready to roll up my sleeves and prove that open source technology truly can unlock the world’s potential.”
Reaction to the news from industry analysts was positive. Charles King of Pund-IT Inc. told SiliconANGLE that Hicks is an interesting if somewhat predictable choice as Red Hat’s next CEO, given that he has both experience and credibility in terms of engineering leadership and commercial product development.
“The fact he’s a longtime Red Hat management figure is an important point, since it suggests that the company is looking to continue its stable progress and evolution,” King added. “That’s further emphasized by Cormier’s elevation to the chairman role. Overall, Red Hat appears to be in a good place individually and also in its collaboration with IBM.”
Holger Mueller of Constellation Research Inc. said IBM needed to get its choice of CEO right, because it’s betting the farm on the future success of Red Hat’s software offerings.
“Luckily, Red Hat appears to be in good hands with Hicks, who has been steering both product and platform with a good track record,” Mueller said. “This could signal the beginning of a change at Red Hat, where it evolves to become more of a research and development subsidiary than a full-fledged auxiliary with its own go-to-market strategy.”
Cormier had sat in the CEO hot seat since 2020, having taken over from predecessor Jim Whitehurst, who became chairman of IBM after Red Hat was acquired. In his new role, he will work on scaling up the company, expanding customer adoption, and mergers and acquisitions, IBM said. In a statement, Cormier said Hicks is “absolutely the right person” to serve as Red Hat’s next CEO, noting how his experience across different parts of the business has given him the depth and breadth of knowledge to remain a hybrid cloud leader.
“He understands our product strategy and the direction the industry is moving in a way that’s second to none,” Cormier said. “As chairman, I’m excited to get to work with our customers, partners and Matt in new ways.”