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Simpler IT Management Increases the Effectiveness of Advanced Technologies

Advanced technology assists your business on its journey to becoming more efficient and agile so it can keep serving the rising expectations of customers.  But, how can you help these advanced technologies serve your business well?

Technology headlines focus on the individual tools to help you support advanced technologies; but the pivotal reality is that the foundation for all such technologies is your data center infrastructure.  If your infrastructure cannot meet the speed and flexibility needs of these new technologies, they won’t help your business become more efficient or agile.

The good news is that Cisco has made automating your infrastructure straight forward with Cisco UCS Director.  This solution replaces manual tools and processes with automated workflows to deliver infrastructure resources within minutes.  It reduces data center operational complexity across Cisco and multi-vendor infrastructure components.

Need proof?

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On-Demand Private Cloud: How to Cut CapEx, Free Up Resources, and Boost Business Agility

Today, enterprises need greater business agility and faster time-to-market for applications. That’s why, in many instances, they are building their own private clouds or adopting on-demand private cloud. Companies that are most suited to building their own private clouds are those that have deep engineering and IT leadership and need strong security and governance around applications and services.

Depending on the needs of the business and core competencies, other types of companies can benefit from a managed private cloud. For these companies, it’s not core to the business to be great at infrastructure, but it is crucial to be able to focus on the services offered on top of the infrastructure. These types of organizations may not have strict regulatory or data sovereignty requirements. Typically, they gain the most advantage from using managed private clouds.

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Cisco ONE Software Makes it Easy to Start Automating

Companies’ expectations of IT keep increasing as the pace of business intensifies, creating greater demand for new services and faster access to resources and data.  If you have been reading my blogs, you know that THE way for IT to keep pace with the speed of business is automation. But buyers beware.

IT automation solutions are difficult to create with multiple products that carry a la carte pricing models and licensing models tied to hardware. The hassles are obvious, and that model doesn’t help IT automate effectively. What is necessary is full functionality automation software that offers simplified pricing and licensing options as well as unified automation that delivers broad coverage for diverse environments. So Cisco offers exactly that.  Watch this video to learn how.


Peter VOD1

Cisco ONE Software for Data Center makes it easy to automate at a pace comfortable to your business.   The Cisco ONE Foundation Suite lets you master basic automation at the compute level. Read More »

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The Seven Wonders of User Access Control: Part II

In the first of a two-part blog series, The Seven Deadly Sins of User Access Controls, my colleague Jean Gordon Kocienda provided fresh insights into overly-permissive user access controls as a common underlying cause of data breaches. In this blog, I address the solutions to those “Seven Deadly Sins” with a modern twist on the antiquity typically known as the “Seven Wonders.”

Information Security professionals need to address user access control in the context of today’s complex threats, coupled with a fast changing IT landscape. Long gone are the days of only a few with a need to know and key corporate assets being housed behind the enterprise perimeter. We have shifted to an agile, data-centric environment with increasing user populations who may also be third-party suppliers or contractors needing fast access to assets that were previously off limits. And, it’s not just massive volumes of data that need protecting; it’s access to critical work streams and transactions too.

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Coming to NRF: Lisa Fretwell on Shopping Trends, New Frontiers

Cisco will be featured in two Big Idea sessions at this year’s NRF conference starting tomorrow, and I’m happy to introduce guest blogger Lisa Fretwell, who will be leading one of these two seminars. Lisa is the Managing Director of Retail at Cisco Consulting Services, specializing in the Internet of Everything and analytics, and how these new capabilities can transform and differentiate retail and consumer product businesses:

In today’s digital era, stores are clearly challenged in terms of sales and profitable growth. Every retailer is faced with needing to change and innovate their store to deliver results.

Overall, the majority of stores across all categories are demonstrating flat or declining like for like, exacerbated by price deflation. Cisco’s recently concluded annual survey on shopper behavior of 10,000 shoppers highlights the ongoing shift away from the store to online. Twenty percent of consumers now make more than 50% of their purchases online, and this number is expected to continue to grow.

However, when you dig down into the data, you may be surprised by some of the changes. As just one example, we asked shoppers which categories they had significantly moved from store to online. We learned that 41% of the consumers surveyed have somewhat or significantly increased their online purchases of apparel in the last two years – clothing, shoes, and accessories. Traditionally, these products are the life blood of why shoppers go to a store – to touch, feel, try on.

So is it all doom and gloom for shops? No, not if you’re up for innovation and change. There are still significant reasons for shoppers to visit stores. Our research highlights some key insights that retailers must leverage to drive healthy results and make the store experience hyper-relevant.

Our experience from retail engagements suggests the answer lies in two areas: being able to deliver dynamic experiences, and to improve ways of working. From instant response to customer needs to improved process digitization, we are seeing that retailers are increasingly relying on a combination of sensors, analytics, automation, cloud, and edge computing.

If we apply this model to a $20 billion turnover retailer with 900 stores, Cisco estimates that there is $312 million of incremental benefit to be had: $170 million from digitizing ways of working: staffing optimization, store routine digitization, and colleague collaboration; plus $142 million from improved customer conversion through insight, digital offers and loyalty, service, and cross-channel selling. We believe this approach offers the next much-needed step change in store economics.

To learn more, please join us at NRF on Sunday for Cisco’s Big Idea sessions:

  • The first, at 10:15 am in Room 4 of the Expo Hall, covers more on our annual survey results. It is led by Cisco Vice President Joe Bradley (replacing Anabelle Pinto due to a family emergency).
  • Then, at 2:00 pm in Room 4, Cisco’s Shaun Kirby and I will discuss how retailers are taking advantage of the “Internet of Everything: New Horizons in Retail.”

We look forward to seeing you there!

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