The networking firm had recently sought to acquire Datadog to the tune of $7 billion, according to reports, but was spurned. Still, there may be a number of other attractive targets for Cisco, according to James Fish of PiperJaffray. Cisco shares closed 0.61% lower on Tuesday to $46.12.
In a note on Tuesday, Fish wrote that Cisco could make a splash with an "elephant-sized" deal for a company working in the realm of application management. That could still potentially include Datadog (DDOG) - Get Report , which went public on Sept. 19 at an offering price of $27.
"We expect Cisco to monitor the performance/valuation of DataDog's stock or acquire an alternative," he wrote. Datadog's stock was trading at $34.50 as of Tuesday's close.
Attractive alternatives for a splashy acquisition could include Splunk (SPLK) - Get Report , ServiceNow (NOW) - Get Report , or PagerDuty (PD) - Get Report , Fish wrote, with Splunk as the best choice among the three.
A big buyout could help accelerate Cisco's ongoing diversification away from a networking hardware firm to software services, notably subscription-based services.
"Cisco's Applications business would be further transformed towards subscription with an acquisition like DataDog, and investors should expect the subscription transition to continue for this company," Fish added.
Cisco shares are up 13% this year.