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Shadow IT: You Can’t Manage What You Can’t See

Shadow IT is nothing new as employees and lines of business bypass IT departments to get the cloud services they need to complete their jobs.   Rogue IT has resulted in a conversation around the unintended and potentially dangerous consequences of increased security risks, compliance concerns and hidden costs.

We all know that private and public clouds are here to stay, but in a recent study it was proven that the average enterprise organization is unaware of just how much shadow IT exists.

shadow-it-100467238-primary.idgeCisco recently completed a study with large enterprise customers across the United States, Europe, Canada and Australia.   This study was conducted from January 2014 through July of this year.  Actual usage data was collected from customer’s networks representing millions of users.

Ask your CIO today and they will probably respond that on average their organization is utilizing 51 cloud services.   Cisco’s survey indicates that in reality, over 730 cloud services are being used.

That is 15 times what was believed and the survey statistics provide a trend that by the end of the year that will increase to 20 times more than was authorized.   That’s more than 1,000 external cloud services per company.

To learn more about this study, read this thought leadership piece on

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OpenFog Consortium: An Ecosystem to Accelerate End-to-End IoT Solutions

Over the past several months,OpenFog Logo V1.01 I have been privileged to represent Cisco in working with other industry and academic partners to form the OpenFog Consortium, which was announced earlier today. You can learn more in the press release about what this new organization is, but I want to focus on why such an organization is so important at this stage of development of the Internet of Things (IoT).

Earlier this week, my colleague Maciej Kranz discussed the city of Barcelona’s fog computing proof of concept, which was showcased at the Smart City World Expo Congress. The proof of concept demonstrated that fog technology can bring intelligence to a range of urban services, including transportation, parking, lighting, traffic and waste management, public safety, and law enforcement.

But smart city services are only the beginning. Fog computing can provide immense value across all industries. For example, it might take 12 days via satellite to transmit one day’s worth of data to the cloud from a remote oil rig. With fog computing the data is processed locally, and safety or equipment alerts can be acted upon immediately. In manufacturing and transportation, preventive maintenance applications can process a huge amount of sensor data to trigger needed maintenance before there is an equipment failure. In retail, data from parking lot video cameras can not only provide security surveillance, but can also work with fog analytics capabilities to predict store traffic flow and optimize checkout staffing.

OpenFog Chart

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Catalysts for 10x Innovation (Part 1)

“Why does a computer need a fan? I want my computer to be quiet and small!” Steve Jobs actually provoked that question when he started the journey that led to the creation of Apple II nearly four decades ago.  And, of course, the journey made history and continues on into new frontiers of technology.

Asking an unsettling question that breaks the status quo – in any era – is one of the key catalysts to ignite innovation exponentially. This is especially true today because of the unprecedented levels of innovation made possible by the digitization of society through the Internet of Everything – the connection of people, processes, data and things.Cisco Leadership Forum_Biren presenting

A provocative question that turns things upside down gets the innovation journey under way.  However, it’s just one of many key catalysts we have identified from extensive research and experience that accelerate innovation 10 times or more.

My colleague, Hagit Oron, and I recently had the honor of conducting a highly engaging workshop – Innovation Catalyst – at Cisco’s bi-annual Leadership Forum, an event series tailored for people leaders.  Igniting innovation is one of our company’s highest priorities as we transform from a hardware product company into an end-to-end solution provider delivering business outcomes to customers in vertical markets.

Encourage Inclusive, Diverse Culture. First, we emphasized that leaders must foster a climate of innovation with their full teams – not just by hiring a few outliers – but as a collective team to solve problems and develop new products and services. That means assembling teams with a full spectrum of diverse backgrounds, skills, perspectives and approaches, enabling them with the right tools and resources as well as empowering them to innovate collaboratively. Read More »

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Video in 2016: Saving Holiday Plans, Bettering Business

This is the time of year for crystal-ball gazing when everyone starts talking about what the new year might bring.

It’s no secret that I’m passionate about video. I can pinpoint when this passion was sparked: November 2012. It was my first month at Cisco. Excited to dig in and meet my far-flung new team, I started booking flights… and contemplating spending November, December, and a good chunk of January on the road. But then video gear showed up on my desktop. Suddenly I didn’t need to take a 10-hour flight to be with the team in Oslo; I could be there with the touch of a “join” button.

To say this rocked my world is an understatement. It also saved my family’s holiday plans.

It’s also no secret that others share my passion for video. Our customers are buying video gear at an amazing rate: We’ve had double-digit revenue growth in video endpoints for four quarters in a row.

We still have a long way to go.

In fact, we estimate that fewer than 10% of the conference rooms in the world are connected via video today. I see a future where 100% of conference rooms have video. People will be communicating via video on their phones and other devices all day long, and naturally they’ll want it in all the rooms they work in too. We won’t get to 100% in the next 12 months but we will take some pretty huge steps forward. In fact, I predict that by the end of 2016 one in every four rooms will have video.

What steps will get us there? Here are my predictions: Read More »

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Changing the Equation

It’s been a little more than a year since we created Cisco’s first Office of Inclusion and Collaboration (OIC).   And it’s been a milestone year.  Today, we’re releasing our annual Corporate Social Responsibility report (CSR), which details Cisco’s high-level priorities for being socially and environmentally responsible, and I’m honored to share the highlights of our progress within Our People section of this amazing document.  As a critical part of Our People Deal, Inclusion and Collaboration are featured prominently in the report.  I invite you to dive in and understand what we’ve accomplished in FY15 and how we’re changing the equation for creating value moving forward.CSR Photo1

What does it mean to change the equation?  For Cisco and the OIC, it means we continue to expand our view on the factors driving inclusion, diversity and collaboration.  It means we leverage fresh perspectives, thought leadership, and data and analytics to gain new insights. It means we use those insights to inform bold new strategies.  We change the way we talk about inclusion, diversity and collaboration, the way we measure our progress, and the way we connect our business strategies and our inclusive practices. And we align with a higher vision of value creation in the work we do to drive transformation through our people.

A Foundational Year with Milestones. Changing the equation was a top priority in this first, foundational year for the OIC. We began by looking at the legacy work of the Global Inclusion & Diversity (I&D) function we were transforming, including over 400 well-intentioned programs designed to support diversity and inclusion across our company.  And while we recognized the progress made through those programs over the years, we knew that more programs would not result in more impact or move us forward in our higher vision of value creation. Read More »

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