Just a few short years ago, if your car broke down, you would automatically take it to your local mechanic who would identify the issue and fix it. Fast forward to 2013 – today we live in an era where our cars tell US when there is a potential issue or it needs a service and, more often than not, they just don’t break down at all. We’ve gone from a reactive, break-fix model to a proactive and, sometimes, even a pre-emptive approach, or warranty as they call it. It’s the technology – specifically the software embedded in our cars and the software that supports and maintains it from the manufacturer – that has fundamentally changed this industry.
There is a similar shift happening in IT. Customer care-abouts are evolving from simply, “make my technology work” to “make my business better.” Drivers such as cloud and mobility are causing us to pause and rethink our traditional approaches and consider new ways to both consume and manage IT. As more and more business and IT activities move into the cloud, the services needed to keep everything running seamlessly become ever more critical.
Services can help companies maintain IT health and, by providing expertise and support, can support this transition to cloud as customer and partners explore new opportunities. Services – in the form of automation, analytics and software – play a crucial role in both extracting more value out of existing infrastructure and driving innovation in new areas. How?
I recently spoke about Cisco’s Smart Services, which use intelligent automation to collect network data, then analyze that data using Cisco’ s deep knowledge base to provide actionable insight to customer and partners. These software-enabled services automate network operations, reduce risk and lower costs – top priorities for any organization, regardless of size.
Remote Management Services
Remote Management Services (RMS), part of Cisco Smart Service portfolio, provide comprehensive, proactive remote network monitoring and management. These services are being used today by a range of companies and employs smart-based capabilities, together with Cisco’s deep knowledge and expertise, to help organisations:
- Quickly adopt and deploy new architecture-based technologies
- Reduce the cost of hiring and training
- Complement the skill sets of IT management staff
- Ensure network availability and performance
- Move the operational SLA’s from reactive to pre-emptive
This automated approach means that the software identifies current or future problems and deals with them automatically. In addition to solving issues more efficiently, RMS frees up valuable labour resources to focus attention to more strategic issues. RMS also saves money by being able to repeat processes and reuse the same methodologies, with low variance and minimal error.
So, who would use RMS?
All businesses today are under increasing pressure — facing budget and resource constraints — yet are still expected to deliver more value to the business.
In general, the compelling event driving an RMS conversation is, indeed, resources — whether it is lack of headcount, the need for different skillsets, a requirement for structured processes and appropriate tools, or a combination of these. Another driver for RMS is the need to adopt advanced or emerging networking technologies where there is a gap in relevant internal expertise. In either case, when Cisco and RMS become involved, the customer can improve operations and availability, and is able to refocus their valuable internal IT resources more strategically.
We’re already seeing the value RMS can bring to customers.
For example, Cisco, with support from RMS, helped a large global financial services organization return to ‘business as usual’ across multiple sites in a disaster recovery situation. We were able to not only have the business back up and running, but also rebuilt their IP telephony and replaced several thousand handsets in a matter of days.
In another case, RMS has been utilized with a global retailer to provide a fully integrated experience to reduce voice solution complexity for a combined environment. This has enabled the customer to move to a single managed services contract for voice and data based on Cisco technology with business, financial and technology SLAs – leading to increased efficiencies and reduced costs.
As large data, cloud computing, BYOD and mobility, and a new breed of software applications continue to reshape the IT landscape, networks will require ever more intelligence and, therefore, the services to effectively cope with further complexity and maintain the platform on which we increasingly rely.
With Services, we can do this automatically, using software – now, that’s Smart!
For additional perspective on the important role automation plays in evolving IT, please take a look IDC’s paper, ‘Cisco’s Continuing Services Evolution: Remote Management Services.’ And do tell us – how are you being Smart in your business?