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Fast IT Top Insights Part 1: IT Transformation and Innovation

In the Internet of Everything (IoE) era, CIOs face a maze of challenges — along with a wealth of opportunities.

But for the IT organization to fully realize those opportunities — and become a source of organizational agility and a true partner for innovation in the business — a wholly new IT operating model is required. We call that model Fast IT.

Fast IT is the IT operating model for the IoE era. It is what the CIO needs to do to drive true business transformation.

 

To better understand the current state of IT — and the opportunity for IT transformation amid a dynamic time of change — Cisco undertook a comprehensive global survey and research study.

We surveyed more than 1,400 senior IT leaders in Brazil, Germany, India, the United Kingdom, and the United States. We interviewed leading industry analysts, authors, academics, IT executives, and IT practitioners. And finally, we compared this data with conclusions from numerous customer engagements.

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Internet of Everything: Hype or Hyper Progress?

Last month, Gartner published one of its well-known Hype Cycles, and a Forbes headline summed up a key assertion very well. “It’s Official: The Internet Of Things Takes Over Big Data As The Most Hyped Technology.”

This comes as no surprise to anyone engaged in this market phenomenon – the explosive growth of things connecting to the Internet. At Cisco, our engineers determine that about 13.5 billion things – everything from mobile devices and computers to sensors and machines — are connected today. By 2020, we forecast 50 billion such connections – a much faster adoption rate than electricity or telephony.

Web searches for IoT and media mentions of IoT each have tripled in the past couple of years alone. Our consulting services group confirms that global Internet Protocol (IP) traffic continues to accelerate exponentially, and the last two years have spawned new IoT-related consortia and standards bodies.

The hype clearly has accelerated. However, I passionately believe that in this case the hype is completely justified because it is underpinned by tangible hyper progress throughout all types of industries. Other markets in the past that have ranked high on the Hype Cycle have included ecommerce and wireless technologies, and nobody can argue the rocket success of markets engaged in online business portals, social media or mobile devices such as smart phones.

IoE Can Unleash $19 Trillion in Economic Value

IoT provides the foundation for an even greater – we think unprecedented – technology revolution that Cisco calls, the Internet of Everything (IoE). IoE includes the connection of things, people, data and processes, enabling the transformation of data into information, knowledge and wisdom. As a result, Cisco Consulting Services estimates that IoE can unleash $19 trillion of economic value worldwide over the next decade by generating new innovation, revenue streams, customer experiences and improving asset utilization, employee productivity as wel as sup0ply chain and logistics operations.

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The Weather Channel Uses Fast IT to Harness Data

When you walk outside and notice dark clouds gathering, or a cheerfully bright sun, little may cross your mind except to grab an umbrella or your shades. But chances are, the team at The Weather Channel knew about these weather conditions days in advance thanks to Fast IT. And with this advance information, The Weather Channel offers what is relevant to you in the moment.

In our Internet of Everything (IoE) world, more consumers and employees are demanding more relevant content now. As such, organizations must keep pace. The Fast IT model built to transform and simplify IT operations is the way to evolve in today’s environment.

For many CIOs, including The Weather Company’s Bryson Koehler, a Fast IT model has resulted in more accurate, relevant and timely data with unprecedented and unlimited uses. Consider his insights in this video:

“When I look at network programmability, I see the same capability enablement that I see from all of the other things that have preceded it,” he said. “Which is how do we leverage technology to be more flexible, how do we free up engineers and developers to innovate quicker and how do we get the traditional shackles of rigid technology unlocked so we don’t have to be nailed down to a specific piece of infrastructure.”

Over the past year-and-a-half, The Weather Company, parent to The Weather Channel, has rebuilt their entire data platform, moving their forecasting over to the cloud, allowing them to ingest data through an extremely rich set of application programming interface (API). In doing this, the organization is able to improve the accuracy of their forecast, collecting data from across the globe and analyzing it at lightning fast speeds – essential when dealing with an unpredictable variable like the weather.

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Security Must Mature to Protect Against Threats

As we discuss in the Cisco Midyear Security Report, cybersecurity is becoming more of a strategic risk for today’s businesses, creating a growing focus on achieving “security operations maturity.” That’s why Cisco has developed the Security Operations Maturity Model – to help organizations understand how security operations, technologies, and products must evolve to keep up with the pace of change in their environments and increasingly sophisticated attacks. The model plots a journey along a scale of controls that moves from static to human intervention to semi-automatic to dynamic and, ultimately, predictive controls.

Every day I see evidence of why we need to evolve our security capabilities. A perfect example is the Kyle and Stan malicious advertising attack that our Talos Security Intelligence and Research Group discovered and continues to analyze. Ongoing research now reveals that the attack is nine times larger than initially believed and began more than two years ago. The expansiveness and extended period of the campaign reflects the ability of this attack to continuously morph, move quickly, and erase its tracks leaving nearly indiscernible indicators of compromise. To effectively detect and protect against attacks like this, organizations need dynamic controls that see more, learn more, and adapt quickly. Relying exclusively on static controls and human intervention puts defenders at a significant disadvantage and allows attacks to run rampant.

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Intercloud, The Next Internet Starts Here

Thirty years ago, two engineers – Cisco’s founders – solved a connectivity problem between two network islands on the Stanford University campus, and paved the way for three dramatic decades of Internet-driven innovation.

Today, there’s hardly an aspect of our lives that isn’t touched by the Internet. For large and mid-size enterprises, government and education, the Internet has forced major transitions and none has been more transformative than cloud.

Organizations are adopting cloud in all its forms – infrastructure-as-a-service to solve their workload requirements, software-as-a-service for new application needs – and they are leveraging the cloud to create new product and service innovations with mobile, collaboration and analytics solutions. According to industry analysts, the cloud market will top $144 billion in 2016 and has more than doubled since 2012. (Source: Cisco Market Estimates, July 2014)

The impact of cloud is unquestionable. Our customers and partners know they can leverage the cloud to fuel top-line growth by improving their business agility and reach, and by enabling new product service innovation for their customers and citizens. They also recognize that cloud can improve their bottom-line economics, foster innovation and drive economic growth and productivity.

But cloud is presenting as many challenges for IT departments and cloud service providers as it is opportunities.

Today, the lack of ability to connect public clouds, and to move workloads and associated policies between clouds, coupled with an inability to manage public and private clouds together as a single capability, prevents IT organizations from buying cloud services from any vendor they choose and managing these services as if they were part of their extended private cloud.

IT departments also need to enable business globally while operating within the constraints of national and regional regulations governing data privacy, security and data sovereignty. Today’s largely global (but not local) cloud solutions don’t provide this either.

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