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Analytics: A New Model for Creating Great, Personalized Customer Experiences

While certainly exciting, buying a new house, can also serve as a revealing exercise in understanding data science.

A couple of weeks ago I went to my bank to investigate my financial options for buying a new house. To my surprise, my account manager gave me a stack of paperwork to fill out—and I soon realized that my bank was already in possession of 90 percent of the information I was being asked to provide. So why was I having to take the time to fill in information the bank already had, or could easily acquire?  And more importantly, why couldn’t my account manager quickly access information about my client status and my personal preferences, and immediately provide a tailored offering, decreasing the chance that I would look elsewhere for this service?

Figure 1. Centralized, Decentralized, and Distributed Networks. A distributed, virtualized approach to database management enables quick combination and analysis of large volumes of data—where and when it is needed.

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Source: Paul Baran, Rand Corporation.

I wrote in one of my recent blogs about the issues and solutions related to quickly combining data that comes in large volumes by focusing on data virtualization and cloud. This can enable seamless customer interactions and decrease client churn, be it in financial services or in the telecom sector. But what is required at an organizational level so that people, process, data, and things come together to enable a superior customer experience and create entirely new revenue possibilities?

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#EngineersUnplugged S6|Ep3: Cisco Virtual Application Container Services

August 6, 2014 at 3:28 pm PST

In this week’s lightning episode of Engineers Unplugged, Nisarg Shah and Eric Charlesworth introduce a new product, Cisco Virtual Application Container Services. What does this mean? Watch and see.

If you would like to become Internet Famous, and strut your unicorn talents, join us for our next filming session at VMworld 2014. Tweet me for details!

This is Engineers Unplugged, where technologists talk to each other the way they know best, with a whiteboard. The rules are simple:

  1. Episodes will publish weekly (or as close to it as we can manage)
  2. Subscribe to the podcast here: engineersunplugged.com
  3. Follow the #engineersunplugged conversation on Twitter
  4. Submit ideas for episodes or volunteer to appear by Tweeting to @CommsNinja
  5. Practice drawing unicorns

Join the behind the scenes by liking Engineers Unplugged on Facebook.

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A Virtual Path to Better IT

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Are you discovering that your data center is having a hard time keeping up with the demand of the business? In today’s consumer-driven world, IT must work in alliance with your overall business strategy—enabling it, not hindering it. But you already knew that.

So what are your options? Start by considering your infrastructure.

Do you update on an “as-needed” basis, investing in technology that meets needs for the moment? Do you rely on physical servers that quickly become overloaded, maybe resulting in the inability to efficiently handle the influx of data coming from mobile devices and concurrent network connections? Traditional data centers weren’t built for the traffic we encounter today.

Your IT infrastructure is your conduit for business success. And, as is usually the case, a sturdy foundation is the first and foremost step in assuring structural support. With the groundwork laid, moving from a physical to a virtual environment is certainly a viable option. Private, public, or hybrid clouds may decrease your data center footprint and associated expenses, allowing you to scale rapidly and respond faster to the needs of the business. But is it secure?

Many questions hover around the cloud, to which there are many possible answers. Unleashing IT helps inform and guide your decisions that translate to accelerated business outcomes—advice and information from industry experts is available in the online resource section, and we highlight your industry peers’ experiences. Check out the articles in Volume 3, Issue 3, and discover how CAP COM decided it was time to stop adjusting to the “now” and invest in a data center that supports future needs. Or learn how CommScope made a bold business transformation with a customer briefing center, showpiece, and data center—all in one.

Subscribe now and see what is possible to make amazing happen for your business. Browse the website or request your own complimentary copy, in print or PDF form.

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Subscribers also have access to the new special edition, Unleashing IT, Cisco Powered. Learn about our partnerships with industry leaders to provide quality managed IT services, and read about how others are leveraging these services to simplify their cloud management.

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IT Services Faster!

Most of us expect immediate delivery both as consumers and as employees. As employees, we are no longer willing to wait weeks for IT to deliver what we need. IT departments feel the pain that ensues from our urgency in the form of shadow IT.  Shadow IT results in the double trouble of higher risk and cost from a weaker ability to enforce compliance and best practices when users stray to acquire their own IT services.

What’s that? You believe if you add more staff to address this issue it goes away? You may provide more services but at the same slower pace while increasing operational costs and decreasing operating profits. The key to maintaining IT discipline and delivering services faster is simply a judicious use of integrated automation and management.  It dramatically increases your staff’s ability to execute quickly -- to IT standards.

Cisco UCS Director is that missing piece that your staff needs to deliver services faster.  It helps your staff deliver more services in minutes--not days or weeks.  It lets your staff spend time to align IT with the business, instead of manually spinning up systems--and that’s what we all want. Read More »

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The Future of Cloud, Part 7: The Fabric Between the Clouds

(This is part 7 of a 7-part series sharing insights from Cisco partners about the Future of Cloud.)

During CiscoLive!, I had the chance to talk with Andy Bird, Executive Director, Product Management and Development at eLoyalty, a Cisco partner for more than 15 years.  “We’ve chosen to partner up with Cisco and have a Cisco Powered cloud that allows us to offer stable and scalable solutions.  We’ve built a front end around them that offers the simplicity that customers expect from a cloud-based service.”

To verify that eLoyalty would be able to deliver on the promises of Cisco Powered services, they had to achieve certifications and pass a third-party audit.  “It’s important that we’re enterprise-grade. That audit allowed us to get to that point.”

Bird described several of the complications involved in the integration of technology: multi-tenancy, permissions-based clouds, security, self-administration.  “These things become a big deal,” he said.  “Having Cisco on the back end enables us to not have to worry about the core.”

Bird also talked about the value of the Cisco Intercloud to eLoyalty.  “There are a lot of disparate clouds out there.  But imagine trying to take your data from one cloud and move it to the next.  It’s very difficult to do, because when you look at clouds, you end up getting hooked into them, just like if you were to buy premise gear.

“What Cisco has been starting to enable to happen is the idea of creating a fabric between the clouds that allows me to migrate data.  When somebody gets on my platform, they have the ability to go and leverage Cisco in other places.  So they have a different level of confidence.”

Cisco’s partner ecosystem also plays an important role to eLoyalty.  “Even though I’ve got Cisco at the core, I still have all of these peripheral, secondary, tertiary applications to make seamless and ubiquitous.  But I’m not going to build my own WFN and QM.  I’m not going to develop my own CTI integration.  I’m using that entire ecosystem that Cisco has paved the way for.

“My value is that I bring them all together.”

You can learn more about how providers are addressing the need for enterprise class services in the latest edition of Unleashing IT.

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