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IT Transformation: Strategizing for Cost Saving and Investing for Business Enablement

IT organizations face several challenges: a globalizing economy, the increasing cost of IT ownership, business users directly going to public Cloud providers, the difficulty of operating complex environments, effectively enabling innovation as well as variety of risks around security and compliance.  Given these challenges, IT decision makers must innovate and conduct business differently in order to remain effective. Data shows that despite years of IT cost reduction programs, the industry on average has only managed to shift an additional 1% of IT spend towards growth and innovation.

Does transforming your IT mean moving from a cost center to a business enabler? Changing your architecture to include Cloud? Redesigning applications or selecting off-the-shelf application? Or moving from a centralized IT delivery to IT services broker? A majority of business leaders have said “yes” to all of the above. Read More »

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The Risk of Remote Connection: What’s Your Plan?

July 17, 2014 at 6:00 am PST

As a business or technical leader, you know you need to protect your company in a rapidly evolving mobile ecosystem. However, threats are not always obvious. As malware and attacks become more sophisticated over time, business decision makers must work with technical decision makers to navigate security threats in a mobile world.

This blog series, authored by Kathy Trahan, will explore the topic of enterprise mobility security from a situational level and provide insight into what leaders can do now to mitigate risk. To read the first post focused on securing device freedom, click here. – Bret Hartman, Chief Technology Officer (CTO) for Cisco’s Security Technology Group

Imagine two of your executives are using a SaaS platform while working off an unsecure hotel Wi-Fi network nearby. Did you know that SaaS and B2B applications are 15 times more likely than pornography to deliver malicious content across a network?

The threats against a remote connection are unfortunately very real and using an unprotected network to access company assets (whether on-premise or in the cloud) can have serious consequences.

As the growth of mobility and cloud blur the lines of our personal and business lives, the “mobile cloud” has drawn users (consumer or employee) to its convenience. According to a recent Gallup poll, nearly 80% of workers had positive feelings for using their own computers and mobile devices to stay connected to work outside of normal business hours.

For IT, the mobile cloud offers huge management efficiencies. Recent Cisco mobility research confirms that mobility strategies are converging with cloud strategies. However, it also forces IT and business leaders to find a happy medium between encouraging corporate productivity and addressing a new wave of security concerns. From the same research, nearly half of the organizational leaders surveyed say security risks can prevent them from moving forward with mobility initiatives.

Despite these risks, It is hard to dispute that off premise access provides significant productivity gains especially as organizations see mobility as a competitive edge to embrace.

As more mobile users enter the market, (over half a billion devices were added just last year) and the number of remote workers becomes more ubiquitous, the expectation is that networks and access should be the same, regardless of location.

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#InnovateThink Tweet Chat on Friday, July 18 at 10 a.m. PST: Fast IT: An IT Model for the #InternetOfEverything

As the Internet of Everything (IoE) continues to drive one of the most sweeping market transitions in history, organizations will need to be hyper-aware, predictive, and agile. And IT will demand an infrastructure that is flexible enough to keep pace with rapid change and fast innovation, as it responds dynamically to ever-rising threat levels. Above all, it must support business leaders looking to capture their share of the $19 trillion in IoE-related value at stake.

But a rethink on the traditional role of IT is critical. Today, IT cannot simply continue “keeping the lights on.” More than ever, IT must partner with the business as an orchestrator of services and a true leader in innovation. The new IT operating model for the IoE era is Fast IT. And it enables more efficient processes, better asset utilization, an increasingly productive employee base, and improved customer experiences.

Fast IT is the way forward for businesses looking to compete and thrive in the rapidly changing IoE economy. Is your organization ready for the transformation?

Here are a few questions to consider as you evaluate your organization’s readiness:

  • How confident are you in your current network’s ability to propel your business into the future?
  • What are your top three concerns about your network?
  • What are the criteria you see as crucial for your organization to adopt a Fast IT model?
  • How will next-gen networking affect your IT staff, role and influence?

7 14 Cisco_IDG_Twitter v2

Join me on Twitter this Friday, July 18 at 10 a.m. PST/1 p.m. EST for insights and feedback about the #FutureOfIT, the #InternetofEverything and your organization in the #InnovateThink Tweet Chat.

Follow @JosephMBradley to learn more about the Internet of Everything and how companies must embrace Fast IT to fully maximize the value of the Internet of Everything for both themselves and their customers. Join the discussion by simply using hashtags #InnovateThink and #FutureOfIT on Twitter to join the conversation.

Learn more about the role of Fast IT in an Internet of Everything world:

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Smart Companies Go Beyond Social Listening

Recently Sprinklr asked me how companies today are in trouble if they’re not keeping up with social disruption. Which led me to consider:  What makes a company smart when it comes to being social?

Answer:  Smart companies recognize three things…

Customers’ social expectations continue to rise. More and more consumers and B2B buyers are contacting brands through social media. Brands that fail to meet social expectations risk alienating a large portion of customers.

Offering social support to your customers brings valuable insight – and can help or hurt your brand depending on how you do it. Our customers give and get help from each other on social platforms. If you listen in and listen carefully, it’s a tremendous source of insight to provide a better experience and a better product.

The changing role of marketing means you can’t afford to ignore social selling. Recent ITSMA research shows 85 percent of B2B buyers use social media during the purchase process. Smart marketers begin discussions with buyers on their own terms and in the social environments where buyers seek information.

For more on this topic, please see my article in Sprinklr’s new Social@Scale Journal, available for download here.

Please share your thoughts in the comments section or via Twitter @KarMWalker

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Cisco and Microsoft: Opening a World of Opportunity for Partners

The IT market is changing. Fast. As a result, customers expect their IT suppliers to offer capabilities beyond products and services, and deliver actual business outcomes.

That’s why we’re evolving the Cisco Partner Ecosystem. By expanding the breadth and depth of our partner ecosystem, our goal is to help our partners navigate these changes, achieve profitable growth and deliver the business outcomes our customers demand.

As a shining example of this strategy, Microsoft and Cisco are taking their data center alliance to a higher level. Today, at the Microsoft Worldwide Partner Conference, we are jointly announcing a three-year go-to-market agreement that creates new opportunities for Cisco channel partners and Microsoft system integrators.

Through this agreement, we’re deepening our existing partnership with Microsoft and aligning our channel programs to encourage and enable solution selling in a partner-to-partner model. A key component of our joint go-to-market is the newly introduced Cisco Referral Program (CRP), which allows Microsoft systems integrators to be rewarded for their contribution to a larger Cisco + Microsoft solution sale. Learn more in this animated overview explaining the benefits of the Cisco Referral Program.

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