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The Future of Work: The Partnership Between HR and IT

The workplace is forever evolving.

With the widespread use of collaboration technology and the addition of Gen Y and Gen X employees, it’s knowledge workers who are driving changes in the workplace.

The emerging mantra is: Work is something you do, it is no longer someplace you go. (And if you do go to a traditional office, culture is a determining factor keeping employees happy and engaged!)

As such the definition of a workday is more flexible than ever before and employees are seeking work/life integration instead of work/life balance.

As these dynamics shift and the proliferations of new technology becomes more pervasive, creating a successful environment for the future of work will depend on a strong relationship between IT and HR at the executive level.

This creates an opportunity for HR and IT leaders along with the CIO to evolve from technology administrators to strategic business partners.

Recently, I had the chance to participate in a new Future of IT podcast with SAP’s Brigette McInnis-Day to discuss how IT and HR leaders could work together in this Future of Work landscape.

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Oh, the Places We’ll Go! Cisco’s Predictions for 2015 and Beyond

We’d be hard-pressed to deny that advances in technology are making an incredible impact on all of our lives. The way we work, the way we live – even the way we sleep – are being changed by technology.

As humans, we are increasingly motivated by our desire to be connected to each other and to the information that matters most to us. And in the budding world of the Internet of Everything (IoE), we are seeing this need satisfied further. Thirty years ago Apple introduced the Macintosh and Internet was a word not known to most. As I reflect back to what IT was like back then, I realize just how far we’ve come today and can envision the possibilities of where we’ll go.

Today at the Cisco 2014 Cisco Global Editors Conference I had the pleasure of sitting down with my Cisco colleagues, Maciej Kranz and Joseph Bradley to discuss the future of innovation, trends affecting the technology industry in 2015 – and we talked about the ultimate impact technology has on everyday society. Securing the Internet of Things (IoT), growth of encrypted traffic, network simplification, real-time analytics and the future of work were just some of the hot topics deliberated during our 45-min conversation, dubbed Cisco’s Technology Forecast.

We chatted about how Google’s acquisition of Nest is just the beginning of a trend we see spreading in the coming years, as products and innovations in Information and Communications Technology (ICT) change the way we connect, communicate and make sense of our world. The convergence of Information Technology, Telecommunications and Data Networking technologies into innovative solutions are shaping our future and, specifically in vertical markets, forcing IT players to expand their horizon and look for business partners well beyond the IT world.

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The New Analytics Imperative

Cisco today announced a data and analytics strategy and a suite of analytics software that will enable customers to translate their data into actionable business insight regardless of where the data resides.

With the number of connected devices projected to grow from 10 billion today to 50 billion by 2020, the flood tide of new data — widely distributed and often unstructured — is disrupting traditional data management and analytics. Traditionally most organizations created data inside their own four walls and saved it in a centralized repository. This made it easy to analyze the data and extract valuable information to make better business decisions.

But the arrival of the Internet of Everything (IoE) — the hyper-connection of people, process, data, and things – is quickly changing all that. The amount of data is huge. It’s coming from widely disparate sources (like mobile devices, sensors, or remote routers), and much of that data is being created at the edge. Organizations can now get data from everywhere — from every device and at any time — to answer questions about their markets and customers that they never could before. But IT managers and key decision makers are struggling to find the useful business nuggets from this mountain of data.

As an example, take the typical offshore oil rig, which generates up to 2 terabytes of data per day. The majority of this data is time sensitive to both production and safety. Yet it can take up to 12 days to move a single day’s worth of data from its source at the network edge back to the data center or cloud. This means that analytics at the edge are critical to knowing what’s going on when it’s happening now, not almost 2 weeks later.

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How ‘Data’ and ‘Process’ Are Reshaping the Future Workforce

The sheer size, variety, and speed of data traversing today’s networks are increasing exponentially. This highly distributed data is generated by a wide range of cloud and enterprise applications, websites, social media, computers, smartphones, sensors, cameras, and much more — all coming in different formats and protocols.

Whether it is in the cloud or at the edge, data generated by the Internet of Everything (IoE) must be analyzed to identify actionable insights that can be used to create better outcomes (such as from process optimization or improved customer engagement). Without this critical step, data remains just “data.”

There is often an immense gap, however, between the amount of data with hidden value and the amount of value that is actually being extracted. According to IDC, less than 1 percent of the world’s data is currently being analyzed. What good is data if isn’t analyzed to gain insights?

It’s no surprise, then, that in a recent survey conducted by Cisco Consulting Services, IT and Operational Technology leaders indicated that they perceive the Internet of Things (IoT) — a critical enabler of IoE — as being about much more than just “things.” When we asked them which area (people, process, data, or things) they needed to improve most to make effective use of IoT solutions, the largest number (40 percent) indicated “Data,” while “Process” (27 percent) ranked second. “People” placed third (20 percent) and “Things” finished last (13 percent).

Focus on Capturing Insights, Not on Connecting Things, to Attain IoT Value from Cisco Business Insights

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Cisco Announces Intent to Acquire Neohapsis

Today, businesses are looking at security in a strategic, comprehensive way to protect mission critical processes and assets. There has never been a greater need to understand the impact that security threats can have on a company’s bottom line. For these reasons, experienced security advice is now among the table stakes required to assess and address the threat landscape that faces enterprises today. The skills and capabilities companies need to maintain a strong security posture, keep pace with rapidly evolving threats and take full advantage of new technologies that can protect their businesses are rare and difficult to retain.

The right advisory service can change all of that.

I am pleased to announce Cisco’s intent to acquire privately held Neohapsis, a Chicago-based security advisory company providing services to address customers’ evolving information security, risk management, and compliance challenges. Neohapsis provides risk management, compliance, cloud, application, mobile, and infrastructure security solutions to Fortune 500 customers.

Together, Cisco, Neohapsis and our partner ecosystem will deliver comprehensive services to help our customers build the security capabilities required to remain secure and competitive in today’s markets. This will help our customers overcome operational and technical security vulnerabilities, achieve a comprehensive view of their risks, take advantage of new business models, and define structured approaches for better protection.

The Neohapsis team will join the Cisco Security Services organization under the leadership of Senior Vice President and General Manager Bryan Palma. The acquisition is expected to close in the second quarter of fiscal year 2015. We look forward to Neohapsis’ outstanding team and technology joining Cisco!

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