Cisco Blogs

Cisco Blog > Data Center

Bridging Business and IT: The Value and Virtue of a Business Directory

According to Dr. Barry Devlin, amongst the foremost authorities on business insight and one of the founders of data warehousing, “Data without context is meaningless. It is also valueless. Without a well-understood business context, any derived information and subsequent decisions are open to multiple interpretations or, worse, misinterpretation. It is the context—and, by extension, a Business Directory that manages this context— that promotes the value and virtue of data.”

Data, Data Everywhere, Self-Service BI Can Help

Businesses that successfully leverage their data will be the leaders. Those who don’t will fall behind.

However analytics, big data, the cloud and the Internet of Everything are are drastically changing today’s data landscape. Gone are the days when business users would ask for information and wait patiently for IT to modify the data warehouse and then write the new reports.

To gain the insights required for competitive success, business users today visualize and analyze data without IT’s help using a new class of easy-to-use, self-service business intelligence (BI) tools such as Qliktech, Spotfire, Pentaho and Tableau, as well as the increasingly powerful and ubiquitous Excel.

However finding and accessing that data remains a big challenge. From the business user point of view, data lacks proper business context, thus obscuring its relevance. Instead data is too distributed, too diverse, too IT-focused in how it is described, organized, and stored.

As with self-service BI for visualization and analysis, business users today are seeking self-service approaches to finding, understanding and accessing data. This requires not only new tools that provide data in a business context, but also a new approach to business and IT collaboration.

Business Directory – Self-Service Data for Business 

On October 1, 2014 at Data Virtualization Day 2014 in New York City, Cisco introduced Business Directory, as part of Cisco Information Server 7.0 (CIS 7.0), the latest version of our flagship data virtualization offering.


Business Directory is the first data virtualization offering designed exclusively for business self-service. Through a business context lens, users apply search and categorization techniques to quickly find and understand the data they’re looking for. From there, they can use their self-service BI tool of choice to query it. The result is far faster time to insight which translates to better business outcomes sooner.

With Business Directory, business and IT align the people, processes and technology for competitive success. IT provides secure, curated, business-context organized data sets to the business, with business adding domain knowledge and analytic value on the path to insight.


Learn More

For a third party point of view on the benefits of Business Directory’s, download Dr. Barry Devlin’s recent white paper, Putting Data In Business Context: The Value and Virtue of a Business Directory.

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

Join the Conversation

Follow us @CiscoDataVirt.

Tags: , , , , , ,

“The Internet of Things is More Than Just “Things” – Five Technology Pillars to Pay Attention To

It has been 15 years since Kevin Ashton popularized the term the Internet of Things. How could we have known then what that would come to mean and the huge impact that it would have on our lives? Cisco projects that 50 Billion things (or devices) will be connected to the Internet by 2020; or, the equivalent of 6 devices for every person on the planet. This exponential growth of connected devices is fundamentally impacting both society and the economy—changing our lives forever.

IoT 10.15

However, with all of our focus and media attention on the Internet of Things, we are really missing the fundamental technology revolutions that are reshaping our world. Radical advances in processing, storage, wireless technologies and new ways of delivering technology are reshaping our world – all at a much faster speed and drastically reduced price.

In my view, the Internet of Things is really a short-hand for the five technology pillars that are shaping a revolutionary new, connected world. Read More »

Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , , , ,

Cisco’s Software Journey

Last week I attended the Gartner Symposium/ITxpo in Orlando, where the theme of the event was “Driving Digital Business.” One of the key themes was the Internet of Everything (IoE) as well as some of the key enabling trends like mobility, cloud, big data, and analytics. A lot of attention was focused on  the changing role of the CIO and how in this new generation of IT, CIOs need to become better equipped to help drive the digitization of the business. In particular, there was discussion around the importance of the user experience, whether customer or employee, and the emergence of “Chief Digital Officers” to oversee the full range of digital strategies to transform businesses as their products evolve digitally.

It’s clear that cloud, mobility, IoE, and big data analytics are fundamentally changing the business landscape in which we operate today. They are leveling the playing field and triggering business outcome-based innovation and investment in IT.  And software-driven solutions are key to driving innovation in any organization.

This is precisely why I joined Cisco just over a year ago: to develop Cisco’s software strategy and accelerate growth of our software businesses. Cisco is positioned to have a massive impact in this market, and I’m excited to play a role in addressing some of the challenges in this space through software – whether that’s in collaboration, across our traditional core businesses in network infrastructure, data center, or mobility.

Today, Cisco’s software journey is well under way. Based on revenues from our software products and services, we already rank as the 5th largest software company in the world. We’ve grown from the 7th largest enterprise SaaS vendor in 2012 to now the 3rd largest SaaS vendor by revenue in 2014.  Nine out of 10 of our most recent acquisitions have been companies driven by software.

What does this mean for our customers? It means they can rely on Cisco to innovate faster, provide richer employee and customer experiences, connect the unconnected, and use big data analytics to gain new insights.

In the coming weeks, you’ll hear more from me and my team about how we’re helping to accelerate and bring about this software transformation at Cisco across our entire portfolio of products and services. You’ll hear how we’re radically changing the way our customers and partners consume, manage, and use our software products and how we’re bringing more application-centric and cloud-ready infrastructure to market.

What do you think about software at Cisco? Let me know in the comments below.

Tags: , , ,

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.


Learn More

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

Register Now button

To learn more about Data and Analytics, check out our page.

Join the Conversation

Follow us @CiscoDataVirt #UnlockBigData.

Tags: , , , , , , ,

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.


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.


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.


Learn More

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

Register Now button



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

Join the Conversation

Follow us @CiscoDataVirt #UnlockBigData.

Tags: , , , , , , ,