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Tame Your Data with these 5 Strategies

We all know that data is exploding and in more places than ever before. Without the right strategy in place, it can be a real monster. When tamed, data holds the key to great insights about an organization’s business that could help grow sales, improve the customer experience and save a lot of money.

Unfortunately, in real life we don’t have an ‘Analytics Man’ superhero that can turn data into insight magically with the snap of a finger. However; with the right IT strategy in place, data can save the day!

In that spirit, here are five ways to help tame your data:

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Welcome to Cisco’s Analytics & Automation blog platform!

We see our customers across a range of industries are striving to become digital enterprises. Easier said than done in today’s hyper distributed environments. With over 14 billion devices online today and 50 billion expected by 2020, the exponential increase of data is being created by people and processes connecting from everywhere. It is becoming harder to reach that data, AM27042secure that data, and much less draw an insight and enable a person or process to take action on the data. The ability to secure, aggregate, automate, and draw insights from an organization’s own data – with speed – will define value for that organization.

At Cisco, we are making investments in software for analytics and automation to enable our customers to pull data from everywhere for real-time insights, integrate and automate increasingly complex systems and processes, and engage people in context. This is what it means to be a digital enterprise. This new blog platform will serve as an open forum for discussion on multiple topics related to analytics and automation, news and updates from Cisco as well as stories of success from our customers and partners.

I encourage you to actively participate by sharing your own challenges, best practices and topics you would like to see explored.


Join the Conversation

Follow @MikeFlannagan and @CiscoAnalytics.

Learn More from My Colleagues

Check out the blogs of Mala Anand, Kevin OttJim McDonnell, Dave Goddard, Bob EveNicola Villa and Hari Harikrishnan to learn more.

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Connected Analytics: Learn to Live on the Edge – and Love It!

Not surprisingly, as a networking company Cisco frequently publishes predictions on the growth of Internet traffic. Bragging unintended, typically the forecasts are pretty accurate. In a 2012 report we predicted that by 2017 there would be 2.5 devices and related connections for every person on earth, while there would be 5 devices and related connections for every Internet user in the same year. In the same report, we also predicted that this burst in hyperconnectivity – including machine to machine connections that are increasingly prevalent with growth of the Internet of Things (IoT) – would create more global network traffic in 2017 alone than in all prior “Internet years” combined.

How correct were our predictions? You don’t have to wait until 2017 for an answer. Welcome to the early arrival of the future of networked communications – a future where the hyper-distribution of information is driving new business demands, and where the old rules of data management and analytics no longer apply. Data is no longer passive. Central stores of stale information aren’t sufficient. Analytics can’t be an afterthought. The new rules require that you live your business daily on the edge of your network, where vital customer and market data is created. And you need to be prepared to respond to what you learn immediately. Are you ready to live on the edge?

The Future is Now . . . Like it or Not Read More »

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Creating and Capturing Value To Thrive in a Digital World

By 2020, 75% of business will become digital in some way by deploying solutions that leverage the intersection of people, process, data, and things—the very definition of the Internet of Everything (IoE). For example, IoE will drive an improvement of earnings before taxes and interest (EBIT) of 15.6% in retail, 14.5% in financial services, and 12.8% in manufacturing.

Connected Devices and Sensors Everywhere

The rapid adoption of IoE and the Internet of Things (IoT) has driven the number of connected devices into the billions worldwide. Cisco’s own estimate shows there are 25 billion connected devices today, and will be 50 billion by 2020.

While sheer the number of devices grabs the headlines, there is an even more powerful force at work that will add to the tremendous disruption CIOs and senior IT executives are experiencing across all industries. (For more about this disruption, please refer to my blog titled, The Digital Vortex: Relentless, Disruptive, Chaotic — and Empowering.)

The enduring impact of Moore’s Law and Metcalfe’s Law combined with unprecedented innovation is resulting in sensors that are changing the world to become hyper-aware, hyper-predictive, and hyper-agile. Cisco estimates that 54 billion sensors will be shipped this year.

Leading companies are using these new capabilities to do things like monitor and expedite the time it takes prepare planes for boarding, reduce customer wait times by predicting 40 minutes in advance when lines will become too long, increase factory production rates by ensuring workers always have the right tools at hand, and anticipate structural failures to save lives and reduce costs.

New Business Models and Value Creation

In this new environment, three digital business models are pointing the way forward: 1) Frictionless Life, 2) Hyper-Relevance, and 3) Community. Each model delivers a different type of value.

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Unleash Your Business Analysts Cisco Data Preparation

As the leader of Cisco’s Data Virtualization and Analytics Business Units, it is my pleasure to announce Cisco Data Preparation, a new big data and analytics offering for business analysts and IT.

What is Cisco Data Preparation?

Driven by Business’s accelerating demand for analytics, Cisco Data Preparation (Data Prep) makes it easy for non-technical business analysts to gather, explore, cleanse, combine and enrich the data that fuels these analytics.DataPrepDiagram1

Primarily designed as a self-service application for business analysts, Data Prep is also a valuable new capability for IT data developers and even data scientists, helping these teams collaborate to achieve the following benefits:

  • Faster Insights: New data sets available in minutes, not weeks.
  • More Comprehensive Insights: Gain advantage from all your data sources.
  • Better Business Outcomes at Scale: Supports hundred of data preparation projects at big data scale.
  • Higher Productivity, with Greater Governance: Both Business and IT gain from stronger collaboration.

Why will Business Analysts like Cisco Data Preparation?

Business Analysts can use Data Prep to address the significant data integration challenges they face when preparing analytic data sets using with a self-service approach.

  • Every analytic project is different making every data exploration effort unique. Cisco Data Prep’s Excel-like interface and machine learning lets analysts explore data freely.
  • Data is messy and everywhere. This results in analysts spending as much as 80% of their time preparing data before analysis can begin. Cisco Data Prep dramatically reduces time required to prepare data.
  • Too few Data Scientists and too long IT backlogs puts the onus on the Business adopt self-service. Cisco Data Preps empowers Business Analysts to do this work themselves.

Why will IT like Cisco Data Preparation?

IT can use Data Prep to work in concert with the business to intelligently balance self-service needs with governance constraints, while optimizing infrastructure.

  • Many requirements are short lived in contrast with IT’s industrial grade orientation. Cisco Data Prep helps IT and Business meet exploratory data needs with the right level investment and when needed even provide working prototypes that IT can quickly reengineer.
  • Independent, ungoverned data prep efforts can lead to duplication of effort, inconsistently transformed data sets of unclear origin, resulting in inaccurate analysis and potentially bad business results. Cisco Data Prep built-in governance and data set sharing increase trust.
  • Rogue data preparation activity in personal sandboxes and myriad tools, prevent IT from delivering scalable, secure infrastructure. Cisco Data Prep’s ability to massively scale allows IT so support thousands of users and multiple terabytes of data with a common, cost-effective infrastructure.

A Complete Data Preparation Solution, Only from Cisco

Cisco Data Preparation is a complete software, hardware and services solution that simplifies adoption and accelerates benefits.

  • Leveraging an easy-to-learn and use Excel-like interface and powerful machine intelligence algorithms from Cisco partner Paxata, Data Prep removes barriers to adoption and elevates business analysts’ skills.
  • Two-way integration with Cisco Data Virtualization helps leverage prior IT investments and closes the loop between the business and IT.
  • Data Prep’s massively scalable Hadoop and Spark-based architecture ensures that Data Prep users won’t be constrained by size of data sets or complexity of analysis.


Plus, a complete set of Cisco and Partner provided “Plan” and “Build” services ensure Data Prep implementation success.

Learn More About Cisco Data Preparation

There are lots of ways you can learn more about Data Prep. You can:

  • Join us at Strata+Hadoop World this week from September 29 through October 1 at the Javits Center in New York. Stop by Cisco Booth 425. There you can get a Data Prep demo from Cisco Sales Engineer Bill Kellett as well as attend with Cisco Data and Analytics Director Bob Eve and Paxata Product VP Nenshad Bardoliwalla.


  • Join us at the 2015 Data and Analytics Conference, October 20-22, at the Hilton Chicago. Register now and join my breakout session, “Data Preparation for Self-Service Analytics.”
  • Review the Cisco Data Preparation data sheet to learn more about Data Prep functionality.
  • Talk to your Cisco or Cisco partner account manager to arrange a conversation with a Cisco Data Preparation product specialist.
  • And look for upcoming blogs relating Cisco Data Preparation with Cisco UCS, Cisco Data Virtualization, Advanced Services and more. Stay tuned!


Join the Conversation

Follow @CicsoDataVirt and @CiscoAnalytics, #CiscoDAC.

Learn More from My Colleagues

Check out the blogs of Mala AnandMike FlannaganBob Eve and Nicola Villa to learn more.

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