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How Cisco, eBay and Adobe are leveraging SAP HANA on UCS as a Business Innovation Platform

SAPWebinarThe ability of companies to innovate is more important than ever.  To respond rapidly to evolving business trends, or change the way they interact with customers, companies need a powerful platform for innovation that can analyze huge data volumes to identify new customer patterns, adapt quickly to new market opportunities and adjust their business processes to maximize growth and profitability.

But how easy is this to do? What do you need to do to adapt to new business models and react to changing market opportunities?

Hear how Cisco, eBay and Adobe are fundamentally changing their customer interactions to capture business opportunities.

Find out more and join us for a Webinar on Thursday, July 17, to hear how these leading companies are using SAP HANA to change the way they do business.

-Bob Parker, IDC Group Vice president, on rapidly changing business landscapes in the digital world
-How Cisco is using the power of SAP HANA on Cisco UCS to transform sales forecasting and streamline business processes
-How eBay leverages predictive analytics to power their early signal detection system for sellers and buyers
-How Adobe delivers superior customer experience in real-time on any device by leveraging data from multiple sources.

Reserve your seat today to join us on July 17th.

We look forward to seeing you there!

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Governing the World of Many Clouds with Cisco Cloud Consumption Optimization Service

CIOs face a scary reality. They only know about 5-10% of the cloud applications that are being used within their organization. This shadow IT is ripping holes in their security strategies. In fact, a recent Forrester study cited that 43% of respondents said they believed shadow IT practices were major threats to their respective organizations. And, as the fallout from recent high-profile attacks have shown, both IT and business leaders will face the consequences if a security breach occurs. CiscoCloudConsumptionOptimization

To help leaders uncover shadow IT, we launched Cloud Consumption Assessment Service in January. But discovering shadow IT is only the first step that organizations need to take to manage cost and risks. Moving to cloud compels customers to build in-house clouds and learn to broker services from public cloud providers.

In my last blog, I outlined the need for customers to implement a new lifecycle approach for managing cloud—one that implements the processes and tools to govern cloud services from end-to-end across public, private, and hybrid clouds. Many organizations are beginning to set up dedicated organizations to manage and govern cloud adoption. Recently, the BBC set up a group composed of IT delivery team, security architects, lawyers, infrastructure experts and user communities to manage the purchase and use of cloud computing in their organization.

Establishing a new approach to managing clouds requires a big change. In my conversations with CIOs and IT leaders, many share that they lack the know-how, processes, and tools to effectively manage public, private, and hybrid cloud services.

To help customers deal with these challenges, we are introducing Cisco Cloud Consumption Optimization Service. This annual subscription service helps customers govern their cloud adoption from end-to-end and continually monitor cloud use.

Our cloud experts will help customers establish policies, processes, and tools to govern cloud services based on Cisco IT’s experience of managing more than 1,000 cloud providers. Throughout the year, we will help organizations implement policies to manage cloud providers and enforce security and compliance, develop their hybrid cloud service strategy including a technology and budgetary roadmap, set up a cloud program office, establish a approved vendor list, and more.

With this service, IT can rapidly evolve into a broker of cloud services internally. By doing so, organizations can launch cloud service faster and meet the needs of business groups. Additionally, the service can help organizations reduce cloud costs more than 10-15 percent, manage business risks and ensure regulatory compliance, and continually monitor cloud services and spot trends over time.

You can learn more about Cloud Consumption Optimization Service at: www.cisco.com/go/cloudconsumption

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You Can Observe A Lot By Watching.

July 4, 2014 at 9:46 am PST
Usability Testing at CiscoLive!

Usability testing a support mobile page at the NetVet lounge with NetVet Mike Williams.

Recently at CiscoLive!, we spent a full week with customers and partners doing in-detail usability tests of Cisco.com and some of our mobile sites and apps. This is one of the main methods we use to make our web and mobile easier.

What’s a usability test? Something different than you might think. While you’ve probably heard of other research techniques like focus groups and surveys, usability tests and listening labs are a way for us to learn through observing how people use our sites: We have someone sit down in front of the screen and ask them to do a task that they would in their real work day. This could be solving a support question, researching a new product, finding the right download, investigating a new API, or any number of other things.

Here’s the difference between a usability test vs. a focus group or survey: In a focus group, a facilitator often throws out an idea or scenario and gets a group of people to comment on it. The people in the room will tell you what they might like… they will build on others comments… they may give you some great ideas! But, you won’t really be learning by observing. You won’t understand the kinds of things they will actually do in real life, because you’re asking them what they think they would do. You aren’t observing.

But when we observe people using our mobile apps or web sites, we can see lots of things. For instance:

  • We can see the areas that trip them up (even if they report to us that the experience is just fine)
  • We can see the areas where they’re getting the wrong result (even if they think they’re getting the right one).
  • Or sometimes even technical problems that we see and can troubleshoot, but they can’t.

We recommend running usability tests or listening labs at multiple stages for major projects:

  • At the beginning of the project – when you want to understand current state and also look at how competitive or best practice sites and apps are doing.
  • In the middle – while you’re still developing, and direct observation and feedback can make a huge difference
  • Before release – so you can catch any last-minute problems
  • After release – because sometimes when outside factors and environments affect the app or web experience in way you can’t expect (for instance, how and whether people can find your site topic on Google or other search engines, and how they interact with the results).

Even though this sounds like a lot of testing, there are some new techniques you can use to get real user feedback very quickly – within hours or days. I’ll talk about that in a future post.

Meanwhile, keep testing. And, remember baseball legend Yogi Berra, who said:

“You can observe a lot by watching!”

Yogi Berra

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The Art of Escape

Craig Williams and Jaeson Schultz have contributed to this post.

We blogged in September of 2013 about variants of Havex. A month ago on June 2, 2014, I had the chance to give a presentation at AREA41.  In my presentation “The Art of Escape,” I talked about targeted attacks involving watering holes.

If we look at the timeline of the attacks we see two clear impacting factors:

  • CVE release time
  • Timeframe of new PluginDetect

This explains why we saw an increase in watering hole attacks peaking in August

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Read More »

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Staying Connected at Northern Kentucky University

July 3, 2014 at 9:07 am PST

Northern Kentucky University is among the fastest growing universities in Kentucky. It hosts over 15,000 students with about 13,000 undergraduate and 2,000 graduate students. The goal of the wireless program at NKU is to provide secure, robust and ubiquitous wireless access throughout the campus, both indoors and outdoors. This ensures that students always stay connected and feel at home. The classrooms are equipped with smart technology to ensure that the teachers can benefit from technology when collaborating with students. The IT team has blanketed the libraries, the classrooms, the dorm-rooms as well as the outdoor areas with Wi-Fi. In the previous blog in 2012, we described how the Cisco 7.5 release allows networks to recover with no client re-authentication in the rare event of your primarily wireless LAN controller goes down.

nku1

At a Glance:

Located in: the Highland Heights Kentucky

Number of students: 15,000 of which about 2000 stay in residence halls

Number of teachers/staff: 2000

# WLAN clients: Approximately 8500 concurrent clients

Access-Point Model and Units:  1200 units of AP models including AP702W, 3502, 3602, 3702, 1550 and a few older Access Points which are being phased out

Controller Model and Units: 2 Pairs of WiSM2 operating in 7.6.120.0

Switch Models: Various models 2960, 3650, 3850, 3750X and 6500

Prime Infrastructure: 1.4.2

Mobility Services Engine: 7.6

 Deployment Details: We talked to Christopher Johnson, the Senior Infrastructure Systems Analyst II at Northern Kentucky University to capture some of his thoughts around their choice of this solution and the associated benefits. Read More »

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