|IT Vendors Align Portfolios to Meet Demand for Mobile Computing, Holistic Solutions
IT News Online Staff
According to Technology Business Research Inc.'s (TBR) Q1 2012 Computing Vendor Benchmark, IT vendors are aligning their portfolios and market messaging to capitalize on demand for mobile computing and integrated, end-to-end solutions and support.
Customers continue migrating away from traditional PCs and toward tablets and smartphones, and enterprise IT decision makers are increasingly seeking consolidation and simplicity in their IT environments. To position for long-term growth, IT vendors are developing comprehensive IT solutions that integrate end-user computing to meet evolving customer demand.
Continuing to benefit from runaway demand for the iPhone 4S and the iPad, Apple remained the dominant leader in Q1 2012, posting industry-leading results in revenue ($39.2 billion), year-to-year growth (58.9%) and operating margin (39.3%).
"The evolution of the computing industry toward mobile computing is fully underway at this point," said Ken Hyers, TBR senior analyst. "PC vendors that are not positioned to develop mobile products will see their market share steadily shrink as consumers and enterprises adopt more nimble computing infrastructures."
On the traditional PC side, Lenovo is positioning to rival Apple's leadership, growing its PC revenue 53.6% year-to-year and ranking as the third-largest vendor during Q1 2012. The vendor benefitted from increased traction in emerging markets and inorganic mature market expansion as a continued effect of its late 2011 Medion acquisition and NEC joint venture.
IBM continues to spark demand across its range of server offerings by enabling hybrid environments with technologies such as zEnterprise BladeCenter Extension, helping to protect its leadership within the proprietary server segment, while positioning to increase share within the x86 server market. In Q2 2012, x86 server refreshes by top vendors, including HP, Dell and IBM, will drive an uptick in demand, while in the proprietary space, Oracle and HP will be challenged by continued litigation.
In the storage arena, demand for converged, cloud- and big-data-focused solutions remains strong amid exponential data growth. Within the space, TBR views Dell as an up-and-coming competitor. As NetApp's leadership in revenue growth faces headwinds in the form of weak U.S. public sector and mature EMEA demand along with seasonally slow bookings in Q2 2012, Dell's investment in acquisitions, such as App Assure, and R&D to expand its storage hardware and software capabilities will help the vendor increase its credibility and market share in storage.
Microelectronics vendors continued to suffer from the after-effects of flooding in Thailand in 2011, with Toshiba currently rebuilding a semiconductor manufacturing facility. In the midst of seasonally slow demand, vendors are taking the opportunity to ramp up production of new products, such as Intel's Ivy Bridge microprocessors - positioning to capitalize on stronger demand in the second half of the year. Vendors will continue focusing on developing and manufacturing processors, such as Intel's Medfield Atom and AMD's Accelerated Processing Units (APUs) that meet evolving customer demand for mobile and thin-and-light form factors.
PC vendors are creating an ecosystem of hardware and software to lift revenue per customer and reduce customer attrition to other vendors
PC vendors are sparking sales of new products within their customer base and establishing a foothold for repeat business by developing their PC, tablet and mobile device portfolios to leverage similar or identical components, user interfaces and underlying technology. Furthermore, vendors are touting software services and leveraging software to grant access to personalized media content, as a new means to revenue growth and an incentive for customers to purchase hardware - an approach that will grow increasingly effective as customers migrate to cloud-based storage and backup services.
Data center vendors will tap demand for simplicity and efficiency by delivering converged solutions
Within the data center, server, storage and networking vendors have their sights set on converged solutions, holistic support and channel expansion as their tools to revenue and profitability growth in 2012. As customers seek a trusted advisor to support their business with comprehensive, needs-based solutions to their increasingly complex IT challenges, vendors such as IBM, HP, Dell and EMC are targeting acquisition and R&D activity on software and services, and aligning their hardware portfolios to deliver end-to-end, converged solutions. Furthermore, vendors consider technology and channel partners critical to successful execution on solutions strategies, as partners round out vendors' technology capabilities and extend their sales and marketing potential.