Every day we read about technology vendors making acquisitions and merging with their competitors. Some recent examples: Verizon acquired Terremark for $1.4B to take a leadership role in IaaS, NetApp acquired Akorri to move up the virtualization stack, and the highly popularized "storage shoot out" in late 2010 between Dell and HP for 3PAR (ending with HP’s winning bid of $2.4B). Since there is no evidence to suggest a decrease in the pace of these acquisitions, it’s important for infrastructure and operations (I&O) professionals to keep a keen eye on these proceedings. 

Why is this important? All of this activity is creating new "anchor vendors" or expanding those already in that elite camp. As I wrote about in my "Managing The IT Management Software Portfolio" report, an anchor vendor in a particular market is one that becomes a strategic partner to the enterprise and is usually the default first choice for a particular need. An anchor vendor might be a mega-vendor (with significant revenues and market cap like IBM), but that’s not the whole story (Oracle is mega vendor but not yet an anchor). In the world of management software, the anchors are also the mega-vendors: BMC, CA, HP, and IBM. Most other vendors fall into the "boutique" category, with a number of large "anchorettes" encroaching on the anchors, some that are mega-vendors (e.g., EMC, Microsoft, Oracle) and some that are big but not quite so gigantic (e.g., ASG, Compuware, Quest Software).

How you can contribute: As I prepare for an upcoming I&O Council member meeting session on this topic, I have been working on a new methodology for analyzing the anchor vendors in a particular market. I will skip the details for now, but this new methodology will assign an "AnchorFactor" to vendors in a particular market. The AnchorFactor is an attempt to quantify a value that determines a vendor’s anchor status. To help me validate my approach, I have a few questions:

  • Do you envision this methodology being useful to you? And how so?
  • Who are examples of your anchor vendors?
  • What criteria would you use to define an anchor vendor?

If you’re interested in being among the first to preview this methodology on March 16 in London and you are a senior level infrastructure and/or operations executive in a $1B+ organization, please click here for more details on the I&O Council and on the member meeting itself.