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The World Cup, Piano Movers, and IVR

As I write this, it’s World Cup time, reminding me of an old saying that in football (or soccer, as we Americans call it) there are two types of players: piano players and piano movers. Piano players perform magic with the ball. They score most of the goals … and get the big endorsement deals. Piano movers, on the other hand, toil in relative anonymity. They don’t win many style points, but they get the job done.

In some ways, Interactive Voice Response (IVR) is a lot like being a piano mover. IVR is a mature, reliable, technology that’s often used to provide automated self-service to callers as a front-end to a contact center. IVR has minimal “wow” factor, and in fact it’s occasionally derided (typically due to bad application design). Yet more businesses are using it now than ever, because IVR is still one of the most cost effective ways to provide customer service.

People are often surprised when I tell them that Cisco is the world’s #1 IVR vendor--by a wide margin. Some of the world’s largest, most mission-critical IVR systems are built on Cisco. Moreover, Cisco was recently honored to receive a “Strong Positive” rating (the highest level) from Gartner in their annual IVR Marketscope report. In particular, Gartner noted Read More »

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The Future of Cloud, Part 1: Six Cloud Providers and Their Vision

This year’s Cisco Live! was tremendous, with 25,000 attendees on-site and another 200,000 attending virtually.  There was a lot of excitement around all things cloud, from how the Internet of Everything will change the way we live, to the role of the Intercloud in forming a seamless fabric between the world of many clouds.

During the show, I spent time with six of our partners who offer Cisco Powered cloud and managed services.  In this series of blogs, I’ll introduce you to each of them and what they shared with me about the future of cloud.  Each of them had a different perspective, but all of them agreed: the cloud represents an incredible opportunity for businesses around the world.

Here are some of the highlights I’ll share in upcoming blogs:

Part 2: Chris Kemmerer, Director, Mobility Solutions, Verizon, shared that part of Verizon’s mission is to bring together the pieces needed to unlock the value of the Internet of Everything for their customers.  “The Internet of Everything has deep meaning to us as everything becomes connected, whether it’s business to business, people to people, people to machines, or machines to machines.  When you have all these things exchanging data, you can improve the way enterprises interact with each other, how consumers interact with enterprises, by leveraging all that connectivity.”  He also shared how Verizon adds value to cloud services by layering applications on the underlying architecture.

Part 3: The importance of transparency in the high performance cloud was described by Dusten Tornow, Director of Infrastructure Products, from OneNeck IT Solutions.  “When we decided to build out our cloud infrastructure, we knew that we wanted to align with enterprise vendors like Cisco because their technologies resonate with our customers as being high performance.  They recognize that if they were to go out and build their own cloud, it would likely look and feel a lot like what we’ve built.  Being able to be transparent with what our equipment is made out of and built upon is a huge advantage for us.”

Part 4: Derek Siler, Director, Solution Engineering – Channel Sales, Sungard Availability Services talked about how building a resilient cloud that can carry businesses into the future requires a resilient foundation.  “We’re building our cloud future around Cisco and around enterprise-grade architectures.  For us, Cisco is absolutely vital.”

Part 5: The value of integration to cloud services was another important topic at Cisco Live!  For Chris Ludwig, SVP GTM Cloud and Hosted Solutions from NWN Corporation, applications integrated with on-premises equipment still have to work when migrated to cloud.  “That was something we did a lot of research on, to make sure that all of the third party companies that we work with on-premises are going to work in the cloud.  We certainly look to Cisco for guidance.  It’s very helpful knowing that if they’re part of the ecosystem, we know that they are going to be a good partner.”

Part 6: Steve Harris, Senior Vice President, National Alliances at Peak 10, echoed the value of a partner ecosystem.  “Today it takes an ecosystem to deliver the business outcome that clients are looking for.  We’ve gone beyond the point where clients are just interested in the technology.  They want the technology to provide a business outcome for them.  Being able to provide that seamless solution with the Cisco ecosystem of partners is incredibly important.”

Part 7: Finally, I spoke with Andy Bird, Executive Director, Product Management and Development at eLoyalty, a TeleTech Company.  He expressed his excitement about Cisco’s Intercloud Fabric.  “Imagine trying to take your data from one cloud and move it to the next.  It’s very difficult to do, because when you look at clouds, you end up getting hooked into them, just like if you were to buy premise gear.  What Cisco has been starting to enable to happen is the idea of creating a fabric between the clouds that allows me to migrate data.  When somebody gets on my platform, they have the ability to go and leverage Cisco in other places.  So they have a different level of confidence.”

Next time: my interview with Chris Kemmerer at Verizon.  Until then, you can read more about how providers are addressing the need for enterprise class services in the latest edition of Unleashing IT.

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Cisco Partner Weekly Rewind – July 11, 2014

July 11, 2014 at 7:30 am PST

Partner-Weekly-Rewind-v2Each week, we’ll highlight the most important Cisco partner news and stories, as well as point you to important, Cisco-related partner content you may have missed along the way. Here’s what you might have missed this week:

Off the Top

We had several guests on the Channels Blog this week, including Sherri Liebo. Sherri was back with the next post in her blog series on the Superheroes of Marketing.

This week focused on The Alchemist. Being able to blend the art of relevant storytelling with the science of planning, precise delivery and measurement makes The Alchemist capable of dramatically improving revenue generation marketing by giving you a closed loop that drives sales qualified leads and also measures how those leads perform. The Alchemist then takes those metrics and makes the next marketing mix even more effective.

Be sure to check out Sherri’s blog for and in-depth look at The Alchemist, and give her some feedback in the comments section, or via twitter (@sherriliebo). Read More »

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#InnovateThink Tweet Chat on Friday, July 11 at 10 a.m. PST: Exploring the Next Phase in Cloud

The World of Many Clouds™ is evolving. With greater access to cloud-based services and applications and the wherewithal to adopt them, CIOs are facing increased IT purchases coming from outside their department. In order for IT leaders to maintain relevance and control they must act as cloud brokers to the lines of business (LOBs). And as private or public clouds are becoming more connected through hybrid clouds, IT must determine not only how to secure these new workloads and connections, but also determine which workload to deploy in which cloud. True hybrid clouds will allow for ultimate workload portability. In doing this, IT will achieve global reach and reliability, consolidation and control, and cost and scale across private, public, and hybrid clouds.

As with any technology, the future of cloud is constantly changing. In the world of many clouds, users experience cloud services anywhere, at any time, and on any device, and in which businesses consume IT as a service. How can IT leaders prepare for the next phase in cloud? Focus on workload allocation, agility and management. Results of the 2014 North Bridge Future of Cloud Computing Survey show 45 percent already, or plan to, run their company in the cloud and 60-85 percent of IT will move some or significant processing to the cloud in the next 1-2 years. As this transition occurs, IT leaders need to consider the following:

Cisco Cloud Tweet Chat 7.10.14

  • What’s your process for determining which workload gets which cloud model?
  • How has that played out? % public, private and hybrid/community?
  • How are you planning now for your next cloud initiative?
  • Security, access, management: What are your priorities for cloud going forward?

Join me on Twitter this Friday, July 11 at 10 a. m. PST/1 p.m. EST for an exciting and insightful hour about the #FutureOfCloud in the #InnovateThink  Tweet Chat.

Follow  @EFuiano and @CiscoCloud alongside @jeffcutler to learn more about how cloud has transformed the business landscape and why companies must continue to keep pace with the possibilities it creates.
Simply use the hashtags #InnovateThink and #FutureOfCloud on Twitter to join the conversation.

 

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The Converging IT Landscape

With networks getting faster and the whole world going mobile, the number of connections is growing at an unprecedented rate. By next year, the amount of mobile-connected devices will exceed the number of people on the planet, and by 2020, will reach 50 billion. And those devices are getting smarter all the time.

While there is no doubt that mobility, cloud and big data are each enabling business transformation, imagine what they could do collectively. That’s the power of convergence, and it’s revolutionizing the IT and business landscape.

This convergence brings together applications, systems and processes to help meet current needs while preparing for future innovation. It’s at the heart of the Internet of Everything (IoE) in connecting people, process, data and things in new and innovative ways. And mobility is a driving force fuelling this evolving landscape, breaking down barriers and enabling the birth of entirely new kinds of business and economic models.

Mobility: A Cornerstone in the Converging IT LandscapeFuture of Mobility_v1-2

Mobile devices are already a pervasive part of our lives. As mobility continues to evolve, these devices will be primarily how a network connects to the user, helping shape and customize the end-user experience to deliver more personalized services and real-time engagement.

Imagine you are an online shopper who doesn’t want to wait overnight for your shipment. You want your product now. From your mobile device, you will not only be able to price-match with other retailers and see if the product is available in a store near you (a current capability), but also connect with real-time data in the cloud over an agile network to see if there are checkout lines in the store, reserve a parking spot, and tell the customer service rep you are on your way.

Gartner predicts that, through this year, mobile apps will drive “the next evolution in user experience” by “leverage[ing] intent, inferred from emotion and actions, to motivate changes in end-user behavior.” This is already happening through smart devices and wearables, for example, as people (myself included) use health and fitness apps to help make better, healthier choices.

Read More »

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