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MegaTrends: Cisco TrustSec from User Access to the Data Centre

In my previous Blogs I have talked about Megatrends including BYOD, the Next-Generation Workspace, Video and the Internet of Things. One unfortunate reality all of these trends have in common is that they are going to put additional stress on your current Network and Security Infrastructure and Operational Process.

TrustSec uniquely offers the welcome opportunity to improve and extend Security Policy Control and the same time make it easier to Operate and Maintain. This post concludes the mini-series on TrustSec. Previous Blogs have looked at TrustSec in the DC and applied to VDI.  Here I have asked Dave Berry Cisco TSA to take a step back and look at the bigger picture from Network Access to the DC. Read More »

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MGM Resorts International goes all in—and it pays off

When it comes down to it, MGM Resorts International’s focus revolves around its guests. And today, an important facet of hospitality includes an accessible, reliable network. But it doesn’t serve only the resort’s visitors; the network has also become a vital part of the business.

Being one of many major resorts on the renowned Las Vegas Strip, MGM Resorts was anxious to connect with guests – and have guests connect to them. So MGM partnered with Cisco to implement an IT infrastructure that would give guests what they were asking for while also enhancing business-focused technology capabilities. Read More »

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Getting the Most Out Of Your Cisco Partner Summit Experience

Cisco Partner Summit is the event of the year for the global Cisco channel community, and it gets mighty busy. Whether you’re attending the big show live in Boston, participating via Cisco Virtual Partner Summit, or just following along for news announcements, key messages and other important Cisco information, your attention span is only so great. You have a business to run, and we understand that.

One thing we hear quite often from Cisco partners is a request to better understand all the places Partner Summit information and social media activity will be available so you can prioritize your days and do as much social engagement as possible without diverting too much of your energy from the business you came to conduct. So as Partner Summit gets underway in just three weeks, here’s a list of social media destinations to pay attention to:  Read More »

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Steps to Optimizing Your Network – Design & Hardware Strategy

In my last post, I discussed the importance of a strong network foundation.  Let’s get a little deeper into this now. The strategies depicted in the diagram below have been developed over nearly two decades of Cisco Services experience in the field.  These outline what MUST be addressed in order to successfully and fully optimize your investment.  Omission of any one will induce risk into the project.  I will highlight this as we pass through the strategies.

Optimized Strategy Design 2

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Realizing the Benefits of the Internet of Everything for Customer Experience, Part 2 ‘Design Thinking’ the Customer Experience of the Future

The early days of the Internet were a heady time of reimagining, rethinking, and, in effect, “e-enabling” a staggering range of business processes. Today, we stand on the cusp of an equally momentous paradigm shift driven by an explosion in connectivity—not just among devices, but also encompassing people, Rachael McBrearty Blog 2 Graphic_Finalv3process, data, and “things.” This next-generation digital revolution will upend entrenched mind-sets and disrupt existing business strategies on a nearly unprecedented scale, transforming, yet again, the customer experience.

As I shared in Part 1 of my blog, the Cisco Internet Business Solutions Group projects that the Internet of Everything (IoE) economy will generate $14.4 trillion in Value at Stake for private-sector companies globally over the next decade. Nearly 26 percent of this total — $3.7 trillion — will be tied to IoE-driven customer experience advances.

But how do companies begin to tap the vast potential of the next-wave Internet? Since the Internet of Everything remains a work in progress, its uncharted waters and multidimensional scope will demand wholly new ways of thinking as organizations connect to a larger — much larger — universe. In order to meet IoE’s challenges effectively, your business will need a multidimensional toolkit — one that bridges marketing, design, engineering, economics, finance, or any other discipline required inside or outside your company.

The methodology that can enable these capabilities is design thinking. Drawing on methods used by design professionals, it combines empathy for the human context of the problem; creativity in the generation of insights and solutions; and rationality and feedback to analyze the solution within the customer context.

Design thinking is ideal for problem solving within highly complex situations. Which brings us to IoE. Its high level of complexity will demand that you rethink what you do for your customers, while redefining how issues can be addressed.

Knowing the customer is an age-old path to success. And at the heart of design thinking is a deeper understanding of the customer, citizen, or patient, pinpointing the human needs that fall between business objectives and the technology solutions. Employing user-centered qualitative research methods of observation, ideation, and prototyping, design thinking cuts to the essence of the human pain point and is centered on understanding the role you play in the lives of those whom you are serving. Defining and shaping the problem — in effect, determining the right question to ask — is key. Problem framing comes before problem solving and will be the foundation the creative insight in IoE innovation.

Unlike analytical thinking, which is based on a breakdown of ideas, design thinking concentrates on building up ideas with a broad focus, especially in the early stages of the problem-solving process. Once those early ideas are encouraged to develop, without judgment, they can spur creative thinking.

Here is an example of design thinking at work:

A retail client asked, “How do we increase sales conversions?” The client had the best merchandise selections, financing options, and competitive prices. Customers sang their praises in focus groups. Yet,  they were converting only about 25 percent of shoppers. With a design-thinking approach, we were able to reframe the problem. Customers were attracted by the assortment, we realized, but they were overwhelmed by the choices. They were looking for guidance on the right solution. By reframing the problem (“How do we help customers make a personalized choice?”), we came up with great ideas that led to new services offerings. In the end, conversion increased significantly.

Design thinking is not a new tool—Procter & Gamble and GE are but two companies employing its concepts, and Stanford and Harvard both teach it. It isn’t a magical cure, either. But it could provide critical solutions within the complex scope of the IoE economy.

As in previous Internet eras, organizations that adapt and redesign the customer experience — essentially by knowing their consumers through empathy and innovative solutions — will thrive. IoE will reach its true potential only if it is seamlessly integrated into customers’ lives. And design thinking — with its emphasis on simplicity and empathy—could cut through the complexity of the coming IoE economy, while driving the creation of products and services that resonate with the way your customers live, work, and play.

After all, isn’t that the reason for creating those products and services in the first place?

 

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