As I’m focusing more on Collaboration and Innovation and less on Supply Chain these days, I thought I’d share a story of ‘Ideation’ with you for my opening blog. That’s because it’s usually one of the first steps in the product development lifecycle, and makes chronological sense when discussing innovation. In later blogs I’ll share some of the subsequent steps – you know: Selection, Prototyping, Validation, Development and finally, Launch. Different companies use different terms and different processes, but all good products start out with a good idea.
Let me take you back in time for a moment. When I was eight years old I noticed that the local UK comic magazine that I bought on a weekly basis was running competitions for readers to submit puzzles for other readers to solve. I was attracted to the Secret Service game that was one of the prize options, but what was my idea? How was I going to win if I didn’t have a good idea? Well, I decided that I’d submit a match puzzle -- you know we actually had lots of matches in the 60’s! This puzzle isn’t hard (please remember I was eight years old) and looked something like the picture above. The question was “How do you make a square by adding just one more match and not moving the others?”
Anyway, fairly obvious that you make a square by placing a forth match adjoining the other three to make a square with the bases as in the next picture (click ‘read more’ when finished with this page to see how). Well, I had the pride of seeing my puzzle published and, more importantly for me, I actually won the Secret Service game! But that’s not the point… Read More »
Tags: automation, collaboration, continuous innovation, customer intimacy, Factory, ge, GE networking, general electric, General Electric Networking, idea, ideation, Industrial Automation, Industry, innovation, machine, macs, Manufacturing, marketing, mmvc, mobility, operational excellence, P&G, plant, Proctor and Gamble, puzzle, R&D, Research and Development, shop flloor, social media, supply chain, TelePresence
So what’s with the increased interest in automation lately? No doubt you’ve noticed there have been more than a few blogs already written on this site and others espousing the importance and value of automation. (“Meet the Newest Member of Your Data Center Operations Team,” Tere’ Bracco, November 8, 2010 and “Mad Scientist Alert,” Christopher Kennessey, October 27, 2010) What trends lie behind this demand? Three come to mind:
1) Disappearing cost-benefit of offshoring
2) Increasing skills shortage
3) Growing adoption of virtualization/cloud technologies
And each of these deserves a bit more exploration. Today, I will focus on offshoring and leave the other two for future blogs.
Moving IT operations to low-cost parts of the world has been a very lucrative exercise for the past two decades. However, the financial benefits that were obvious 10 years ago are mostly gone thanks to increasing salaries in India, China, and other emerging countries combined with rising hassle costs (compliance, regulations, security, communications, language, and management) associated with off-shoring. Here is a quote from Sramana Mitra who wrote a very well publicized and much debated article in 2008 titled “The death of Indian outsourcing” (http://www.sramanamitra.com/2008/01/22/death-of-indian-outsourcing/). She writes “Rising wages in the most popular offshore centers (especially Bangalore), are eroding the cost advantage that drove this business to India in the first place. When the practice began, there was a 1:10 cost advantage. Today, this has dropped to 1:3. Over the next 5 years, perhaps, it won’t make sense to send work to India anymore.” Further complicating the offshoring play is the 20-40% attrition rates seen in many of these low-cost countries.
Read More »
Tags: application performance, automation, business operations, cost control, data center, intelligent automation, IT, job scheduling, outsourcing, productivity, workflow
Oh, how data processing has evolved, growing in complexity and sophistication, it now spans across multiple software stacks and disparate systems. With the introduction of virtualization platforms, processes can now be run on virtualized environments as well as a physical one. As we know, virtualization allows you to use physical hardware more efficiently. That’s because often times an application is sitting “idle” and doesn’t really need all the allocated computing resources, and virtualization lets idle computing resources be re-assigned to other tasks. Virtualization technology and the advancements of Cloud Computing afford businesses significant benefits in terms of cost reduction and efficiencies resulting from consolidation and standardization.
Read More »
Tags: automation, intelligent automation, job scheduling, process automation, scheduling software, Tidal Enterprise Scheduler, virtualization
Today you are one happy data center manager, because you just made the perfect hire. Your new operations staffer is savvy, with extensive networking knowledge and experience with some of the largest, most sophisticated, and most secure networks in the world. This guy knows the network like the back of his hand. And he’s a demon in the data center: he can optimize data center operations task by task, almost minute by minute. He can predict problems and pre-empt them. It’s as though he is one with your data center and your network.
Actually, he is your data center and your network—with Cisco Intelligent Automation.
Okay, you say, everyone knows that automation is a good thing. It frees highly skilled IT staff from essential but time-consuming routine maintenance tasks and processes, which typically consume from 70% to 80% of an organization’s IT operational expense, allowing them instead to concentrate on innovation and creating new business value. Automation captures best practices, domain knowledge, and analytics and transforms them into repeated processes triggered by policy and defined events, thus improving efficiency, response time, compliance, visibility, and business continuity. So what’s so special about this Intelligent Automation?
Cisco Intelligent Automation embeds domain knowledge, analytics, and best practices into the network that connects every aspect of your business. It is one with the infrastructure. Think about it. The network is the ideal platform for automation IT operations, not only because the network touches and connects every part of your business, but also because it can capture events and information close to the source, enabling rapid, precise response to events and changes. This network-centric approach to intelligent automation takes advantage of the network’s ability to sense and control data center and IT operations. It also delivers the benefits of Cisco’s innate strengths, including:
- Networking Expertise—Leveraging the vast collection of Cisco’s networking intelligence, best practices, methodologies, and tools to support customers better.
- Collaborative Partner Approach—Applying the combined expertise of Cisco and our global partner ecosystem to meet the total needs of customers worldwide.
- Smart, Personalized Services—Gathering, correlating and analyzing data against Cisco intellectual capital to provide proactive or preemptive service experiences.
- Innovative Solutions—Creating network-centric architectural solutions to fully align technology investments to customer business goals.
Read More »
Tags: automation, data center
About a month ago, Cisco announced our Data Center Business Advantage architecture. Within the architecture, we highlighted several areas:
- Business Value which can be derived from IT investments in the Data Center
- The breadth of our Open Ecosystem that helps us deliver solutions to customers today
- Solution Architecture that brings together Unified Fabric, Unified Computing and Unified Network Services
- Cisco Technology Innovation across multiple Data Center domains
- A complete set of Data Center Services that can rapidly drive customer success
Now that the fall trade show season is complete and people are done watching headlines and back to running their businesses, we thought it would be useful to take a deeper dive into Data Center Business Advantage. Read More »
Tags: automation, Business Value, Cloud Computing, Consolidation, data center, Data Center Business Advantage, ROI, Solutions, unified computing, Unified Fabric, Unified Network Services, virtualization