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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.

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

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

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IoE: So Much Data, So Many Great Partner Opportunities

You know the Internet of Everything (IoE) is gaining traction when you hear about it from the guy changing your oil. Earlier this month I was dropping off my car for its regular service when the technician began asking me how the Internet of Everything will change automobile maintenance and repair. Twenty minutes later – after we had discussed how quickly cars are becoming smarter and connected – I was on my way home with yet another example of just how fast the Internet of Everything is coming our way.

IoE — the networked connection of people, process, data, and things — is spawning business opportunities in just about every walk of life. However, the proliferation of traditional and new data sources and the movement of data to the cloud are making it harder for businesses to access all their data assets. Research shows that through 2017, a whopping 90 percent of the information assets from big data analytic efforts will be limited to specific project siloes and — more importantly — unleverageable across multiple business processes. [Source: Gartner “Predicts 2014: Big Data”] Read More »

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