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Join Us on Oct. 22 for Our Final Analytics Webcast

Hello, retailers everywhere! My name is Dianne Lamendola, and I am a senior retail practice advisor here at Cisco. My role is to work closely with store operators and merchants to help understand your business and how technology can help you reach critical goals.

I hope you have been following our three-part series of one-hour webcasts that Cisco has been hosting this year on retail analytics. In the store, online, and across data sources, retailers have been increasingly focused on how to gather and analyze the metrics that help provide insights to run a tighter operation and provide a more exciting experience for your shoppers.

On Oct. 22, we’ll wrap up this series with a session on “Technology that Gets Down to Business: Develop Your Action Plan for Retail Analytics Success.” Held at 10:00-11:00 am PT/1:00-2:00 pm ET, this candid discussion lets you learn how to:

  • Implement innovative retail analytics technologies
  • Drive added value from traditional and new data sources
  • Deploy mobility, wireless, video cameras, sensors, and services to jumpstart your action plan

Register today! By registering, you will also earn a free introductory analytics enablement meeting and additional tools to help you think more about your program.

While it’s not necessary to attend the previous sessions to join us, please feel free to review the recordings of our prior events:

  1. Part I: Understanding the Basics of Setting Up Your In-Store Analytics Program -- Recording
  2. Part II: Case Studies of Analytics Programs in Real-World Stores – Recording

We welcome all retailers, including IT staffers, who want to know more about how analytics fit into and enhance your store environment.

I’ll see you there!

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Analytics for an IoE World

I recently wrote about how Cisco is helping customers more effective manage massive amounts of data, types of data and unprecedented distribution of data. This will be one of the toughest challenges brought on by the Internet of Everything (IoE) and, with solutions such as Data Virtualization and Big Data Warehouse Expansion, Cisco is enabling our customers to meet the challenge head on of bringing all of this data together in ways that are meaningful to business users.

After the business can access and view all of this data, however, the question becomes…now what? The next challenge is to extract insights from the data to make better business decisions.  After all, more data is only good if you use it to make better decisions than you would have made otherwise.

The rules of customer and business relationships are constantly changing due to technological innovation and consumption patterns. Analytics can reveal patterns in customer data that affect business processes and outcomes. Advanced analytics is different than reporting because it prescribes what to do, or predicts what is likely to happen, instead of just reporting what has already happened.

Utilizing the network to securely connect data throughout the IoE, whether in motion (streaming) or at rest (historical), is the future of advanced analytics.  For a retailer, it will give them the opportunity to take intelligent actions to engage customers directly at the point of purchase and in real-time. But it’s so much more than that. What can real-time analytics in retail tell us about how to serve customers more effectively?  What can real-time analytics in manufacturing tell us about how to make the workplace safer?  What can real-time analytics in healthcare tell us about how to better treat cancer patients?

When our customers can accurately predict outcomes by combining years of historical data with real-time information, they can drive better decisions…better outcomes.

 

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Interested in hearing how Cisco is paving the way to the future of analytics? Please join us for a webcast at 9 AM Pacific time on October 21st entitled ‘Unlock Your Competitive Edge with Cisco Big Data and Analytics Solutions.’ #UnlockBigData

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Aligning Solutions to Meet our Customers’ Data Challenges

In our previous big data blogs, my Cisco associates have focused on the topic of building the best infrastructure for long-term success with big data. I’d like to start a new chapter in the series, focusing on building the right data strategy and analytics solutions.

Today, people, process, data and things function together through a combination of machine-to-machine, person-to-machine and person-to-person connections. We call this the Internet of Everything (IoE). While the IoE is making us all smarter, it is also creating more data, more types of data and in more places.

This wealth of data comes with major challenges but also has the potential for amazing opportunities. At Cisco, we’re all about helping our customers turn these challenges into opportunities. The first step begins with proper management of the massive amounts and types of data in multiple locations. From a solutions perspective, that first step is our agile data integration software, Cisco Data Virtualization. It abstracts data users need from multiple different sources and brings it together to give users a unified, friendly view of the data.

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By leveraging this technology with additional solutions, our customers can access data across the IoE and use that data to respond quickly to change, make better decisions and gain a competitive advantage. Driven by the massive amounts of data in today’s IT environment, customers are facing huge expenses to add capacity to their existing enterprise data warehouses (EDW), the place where data is traditionally stored.

We help customers tackle the challenge of increasing enterprise data warehouse costs with Cisco Big Data Warehouse Expansion (BDWE). BDWE identifies infrequently used data and provides a methodology and tools to offload the data onto Hadoop, avoiding additional capacity costs and extending the life of the data warehouse.

I spoke with a customer recently who shared that one terabyte (TB) of data in an EDW costs $100,000 per year to maintain. That exact same amount of data for the same amount of time in Hadoop only costs $1,000 to maintain. This is a significant difference. By implementing an ongoing strategy to offload data from the primary system to Hadoop, our solution frees up resources to be utilized in more strategic ways. Additionally, we deploy Data Virtualization to act as a ‘virtual database,’ to access data regardless if it resides in the original warehouse or the new Hadoop data store. So not only does BDWE significantly lower costs, but the historical data remains easily accessible.

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Our customers gain the business insights and outcomes they seek with a complete suite of software, hardware and services solutions that access and analyze data, no matter where it is stored on the network. After all, the power of data is not just in the ability to access it but to use it to change behavior or the way you run your business.

Not only do we connect more people, processes, data, and things than any other company, we can also bring analytics to data wherever it is—no matter how remote—to turn information into insights almost instantly. More to come in my next blog about Cisco’s analytics portfolio and how its helping tackle the next major IoE challenge, extracting value insight from your data.

 

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To learn more about the benefits of Cisco analytics solutions and the power of our integrated infrastructure for big data, please join us for a webcast at 9 AM Pacific time on October 21st entitled ‘Unlock Your Competitive Edge with Cisco Big Data and Analytics Solutions.’ #UnlockBigData

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Big Data, Cloud and IoE Explored at Data Virtualization Day 2014

With nearly 500 attendees joining together at the Waldorf Astoria in New York City, the fifth annual Data Virtualization Day on October 1st, 2014 was the largest ever, 50% bigger than 2013’s record setting event.  From kickoff to closing reception, the vanguard of data virtualization gathered to explore the latest trends, meet fellow innovators and drive data virtualization adoption forward.

The Importance of Data Virtualization

The use of data virtualization to connect increasingly distributed data resulting from acceleration of big data, the cloud and the Internet of Everything (IoE) was the hot topic on the day as organizations seek to gain advantage from these game-changing technologies. Cisco Data Virtualization is critical infrastructure, accelerating new capabilities, experiences, and opportunities by connecting device data, big data, data in the cloud, and traditional enterprise data in new and extraordinary ways.

Cisco’s Mike Flannagan, General Manager of the Data Analytics Business Group, kicked off the day highlighting the explosion of connected devices in the IoE. With 50 billion devices by 2020, Mike noted the business opportunities and data integration challenges are unprecedented.

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Paula Dowdy, SVP Cloud Software and Managed Services at Cisco, next explored the opportunities and challenges of “Hybrid IT” architectures that mix on-premise, private cloud and public cloud operations. Paula then spoke to data virtualization’s critical role in integrating data across this Intercloud topology.

Cisco Innovations In Data Virtualization

Jim Green, CTO of Cisco’s Data Analytics Business Group then addressed how Cisco is working to turn big data, cloud, and IoE possibilities into reality. Jim focused first on the short-term calling out specific features of Cisco Information Server 7.0 (CIS 7.0) announced that day.

  • Supporting business’s unquenchable thirst for data, CIS 7.0 Business Directory is the first data virtualization offering designed exclusively for business self-service.
  • To respond to the expanding data technology universe, CIS 7.0 Data Source SDK will speed development of high-performance data virtualization adapters for emerging and industry-specific data sources.
  • And CIS 7.0 Deployment Manager responds to accelerating data distribution which in turns leads to mega-scale data virtualization deployments.

Jim also foreshadowed Cisco’s continued innovation agenda including plans to

  • Deliver data virtualization at Intercloud scale
  • Provide directory, abstraction, federation, security, lineage and more to create more mature Hadoop environments
  • Address edge to center data challenges resulting from the integration of data in motion and data at rest in a world of 50 billion connected devices.

Customer Successes Highlighted

Alasdair P. Anderson, SVP Engineering at HSBC led off the customer cases studies by describing the bank’s expansive future-state data architecture based on Hadoop and data virtualization. Covering 65 petabytes of active data across 80 countries and 60 million customers and 7000 systems, data virtualization lowers total cost of ownership, improves agility, and enables greater business self service.

John Wrenn, VP Information Technology, Enterprise Applications at Flextronics next discussed how Flextronics uses data virtualization to provide data as a service for global supply chain that spans 40 distribution centers, 200 manufacturing centers and 20 design centers. In just over one year, John’s team has used Cisco Data Virtualization to integrate over 500 sources, allowing IT to match the pace of business.

Data Virtualization Leadership Award Winners Announced

Each year, the Data Virtualization Leadership Awards are announced at Data Virtualization Day. Past winners from Barclays, Compassion International and Pfizer joined Cisco on stage to recognize this year’s winners including:

  • Data Virtualization Champion Awards:  Paul Dzacko, Lead Architect, Risk Systems, BMO and James Evans, Architect & Project Manager, Client Portal, HSBC in recognition of their leadership in consistently achieving and promoting data virtualization’s value across their organizations and the broader data integration market.
  • High Impact Award:  Victor Campbell, Principal Architect, Long Island Power Authority (PSEG) in recognition of data virtualization leadership in an environment where the result was high impact and critical to the business. See the story here.
  • Agility Award:  Pratima Botcha, Sr. Technical Architect, Information Technology, AT&T Services for her work in enhancing business agility through use of data virtualization technology and methods, rapidly establishing a path for high value across the organization.

Thoughts From Leading IT Analysts

In the last session of the day, New Horizons, New Possibilities: Where Data Virtualization is Going, Rick van der Lans of R20 Consultancy, Barry Devlin of 9Sight Consulting and I discussed the customer cases, long term vision, practical advice and key takeaways. Ten additional analysts from Gartner, Forrester, and more also participated in Data Virtualization Day this year. For more on the analysts, you can follow these analyst’s Data Virtualization tweets using #DVDNYC or check out Lindy Ryan of Radiant Advisors trip report.

 

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Introducing Cisco Information Server 7.0: Easy Access for Business Users, Larger Deployments, More Data

Today, at Data Virtualization Day 2014 in New York City, we proudly announced Cisco Information Server 7.0 (CIS 7.0). The latest version of our flagship data virtualization offering, CIS 7.0 extends data virtualization to new audiences, enables larger, more-complex deployments and integrates more data sources so our customers can run their businesses more effectively by leveraging all of their data.

Enterprises are challenged to keep pace. That’s a big problem in a world where data and analytics form the competitive battlefield. With trends like Big Data, Cloud and the Internet of Everything are transforming our world, the possibilities are staggering.

Unfortunately, these possibilities also come with challenges:

  • With 25 billion connected devices by the end of 2015 and another 25 billion by 2020, data is and will continue to be sprawled out over billions of devices.
  • Data distribution reaches far beyond the traditional enterprise data warehouse, today data is everywhere across hybrid IT environments that span on-premise, private cloud and public cloud.
  • With data the lifeblood of today’s modern enterprise, business and IT stakeholders must radically change how they partner together in order to extract the most useful insight for all users. An “all hands on deck” approach to data and analytics is needed.

These are challenges CIS 7.0 is engineered to address.

Self-Service Data Gateway for Business

Leveraging the new class of easy-to-use business intelligence tools such as Qliktech, Spotfire and Tableau, as well as the increasingly powerful and ubiquitous Excel, business users have become adept at visualizing and analyzing data without IT’s help.  However finding and accessing that data remains a big challenge, with long IT lead times frequently the only option. That is until CIS 7.0.

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Business Directory is the first data virtualization offering designed exclusively for business self-service.

CIS 7.0’s Business Directory is the first data virtualization offering designed exclusively for business self-service. Users apply search and categorization techniques to quickly find the data they’re looking for, and then use their business intelligence (BI) tool of choice to query it.  The result is far faster time to insight and translates to better business outcomes sooner.

With Business Directory, IT creates a new partnership with the business.  IT provides secure, curated data sets to the business.  Then the business adds domain knowledge and analytic value on the path to insight. Using CIS 7.0’s scalable platform, IT can manage security profiles ensuring users see only the data for which they’re authorized.  And as new business needs arise, IT can use the CIS Studio to quickly add new data sets, often in a day or less.

Connecting Data Globally, with Control

Data virtualization’s ability to connect and deliver data with agility is well understood.  As data has become increasingly distributed, data virtualization adoption has skyrocketed. This has led to highly complex, global-scale data virtualization deployments.

CIS 7.0’s Deployment Manager simplifies management of the mega-scale CIS 7.0 deployments. Deployment Manager automates the transfer views, data services, caches, policies and more across multiple CIS 7 instances.  These faster, risk-free deployments provide the scalability desired, ensure compliance with software development life cycle processes and other governance practices, and reduce the cost of IT administration.

More Data Sources For Better Analysis

Everyone knows that if you can access more data sources, you can drive better, data-driven business outcomes. However the rise of new fit-for-purpose data stores from graph databases to Hadoop, as well as highly specialized industry solutions, such as the PI System in upstream energy, has made it difficult for IT to integrate all these sources at business pace.

CIS 7.0’s Data Source Software Development Kit (SDK) accelerates data adapter development. Using Data Source SDK, Cisco, system integrators and customers can build high-performance data virtualization adapters for emerging and industry-specific data sources quickly and in a way that leverages Cisco development best practices and market-leading, query optimization techniques.

Winning on the Data Battlefield

With Big Data, Cloud and the Internet of Everything disrupting data integration, the time is right for CIS 7.0. Business Directory addresses business demand for self-service data. Deployment Manager provides global-scale data virtualization with control.  Data Source SDK extends data virtualization’s reach.  These breakthroughs, on top of the industry’s leading data virtualization platform, will help our customers drive better business outcomes and outpace their competition.

CIS 7.0’s time in now!  So get ready!

For those of you attending Data Virtualization Day, check out a sneak preview at the Solution Showcase. General availability via Cisco Support is scheduled for next month. Cisco Advanced Services and our many ATP partners are set to provide migration assistance.

 

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To learn more about Cisco Data Virtualization, check out our page.

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