My friends and I circled the floor at Harrah’s, in New Orleans, deliberately choosing a high stakes table that felt like a winner. Within minutes the dealer knew exactly how each of us played the game. He anticipated our every move barely giving us time to gesture “hit” or “pass”. The game moved so quickly we had only a second to cheer about a big win on a double-down or grunt when a sure-to-win hand was taken down by a dealer blackjack.
The odds were in our favor. Three out of four of us walked away winners. That game alone paid for a lovely dinner at Commander’s Palace that included a bottle of wine my significant other, Josh, and I would never have dreamed of spending so much money on before hitting it big at Harrahs. The winnings also treated us to a never-to-be-forgotten brunch at Brennan’s (eggs housard how I have longed for you in the 11 years since I first tasted you).
I cherish this memory. Not because it was the most money I’ve won at blackjack (though I certainly like that part!) but because of what it symbolized: 4 friends spending time together, having fun, being fully present in a moment that could never be recreated. That single game led to 2 unforgettable meals with Josh that we still reminisce about 11 years later.
As I sat in my chair at the blackjack table I didn’t think much about the systems, processes, and infrastructure that made that day possible. I didn’t worry about the casino’s network, data center, wireless access points, or security. But I was grateful that everything ran smoothly that day, leading me to a lifelong memory.
As a Cisco employee, I have a deep appreciation for companies that are on the leading edge of technology innovation. Normally when people think about technology innovation, they think of companies like Google, Facebook, Microsoft and Cisco. What people don’t realize is that technology innovation is happening everywhere, at companies large and small, across all industries and segments. And a lot of that innovation affects us, the customers, in ways we don’t’ even realize because it happens behind the scenes, providing us with an experience that is highly personalized.
Recently I had the opportunity to get a glimpse into what it takes for a company to offer gaming enthusiasts like myself a variety of options. Tatts Group is the leading provider of neighborhood-based gaming services in Australia. The company operates and monitors gaming machines, conducts wagering and sports betting, and supplies jackpot and other services throughout the region.
What made Tatts Group stand out to me was their dedication to the gamer’s experience. Matthew Maw, General Manager of Tatts Group said, “It’s critical for us that we have a platform that we can use to deliver services that meet the needs of our customers.”
Developing and delivering this platform was no easy task for Maw’s team. Tatts Group was built on mergers and acquisitions, leading the company to organize itself into 6 strategic business units, each with its own corporate identity, CEO, and strategic plan.
Can you imagine trying to create a network strategy for essentially 6 different companies, all of whom have to agree to common outcomes, business drivers, strategy, and measurements of success? Can you picture building a single architecture that meets the needs of 6 individual companies? How about designing a network and implementing it in a very short period of time while adhering to strict government regulations and while considering the needs of the business, the impact to employees, and most importantly, the impact to customers?
Can you imagine doing this under the condition, “The network is everything. No network equals no sales.” – Matthew Maw
It was no easy task but today Maw and team now enjoy a unified strategy on a highly reliable network. They enjoy 80% less network outages and have gained 10 times more core networking capacity and 80-fold increase in data center capacity. They have slashed their audit time by 20% and lowered network maintenance costs by 30%. And they have streamlined management.
Most importantly, the network restructure has given Tatts Group a competitive advantage, happier customers, and shifted the entire business.
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