The world is awash in data, and 90 percent of it was created in the last two years.1 In fact, every day we create 2.5 quintillion bytes of data2 and that number is growing exponentially. The explosive growth of the Internet of Things (IoT) promises to add to this data glut, with 40 percent of all data coming from sensors by 2020.3 Today, a jet engine may generate 1 terabyte of data in a single flight,4 and a major global retailer collects 2.5 petabytes of customer day each hour.5 Yet 99.5 percent of all this data is never used or analyzed.6
Each week, we’ll highlight the most important Cisco Partner Ecosystem 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
The Value Incentive Program (VIP) is always of interest to our partners. After all it generates a lot of profit!
We were happy to hear from Robb Berger this week with the latest details on VIP 26. Want to know the key highlights for this iteration? Check out Robb’s blog and see what’s new.
As always, let us know what you think of the blog. Feedback from partners, especially around partner programs, is vital for Cisco to keep producing programs that work for all of us.
- Jim McDonnel automates configuration in a multi-sourced environment
- Joel Conover on the evolution of networking software
- Robert Dimicco cuts risks and costs by reducing redundant cloud software
- Mark Chandler protects innovation: An update on district court and ITC actions
- Daryl Coon has best practices for effective technology deployment in education
Much has been published in the industry about how automation will result in job loss e.g. the book, The Second Machine Age, as an example.
Further, the question is obvious as to whether or not the skills you have today will be relevant tomorrow?
Such discussions have been occurring for the past several years since the financial crisis of 2008; and the question now pondered by enterprises and governments is :
- How do we grow the middle class?
- How do we provide skills to under-served communities?
The landscape of IT has changed. The single-source provider era is quickly coming to an end as more companies embrace the world of multi-sourcing. In a 2014 report by IAOP & Information Services Group (ISG) Annual State of the Industry1, it stated that the number of enterprise IT organizations using multi-sourcing as a strategy increased by 75% in that year and predictions for 2015 shows continued growth.
Companies are moving more rapidly to a multi-sourcing strategy to achieve greater agility and improved customer satisfaction, and it’s paying off. Effective multi-sourcing companies are experiencing improved performance, reduced IT costs, acquiring best-in-class expertise while freeing up time and resources so personnel can focus on the company’s core business.
Automation Is at the Forefront of IT Change
The speed of change in IT is getting faster and innovation via automation is at the forefront of this change. FAST IT is helping enterprises keep up with this accelerated pace.
Fast IT simplifies operations at a time when complexity is mounting — and IT budgets are flat. By offering automated, programmable, and agile infrastructure, Fast IT frees IT organizations from manual configuration, changes, and maintenance.2
In my January blog post, Building Innovation: Achieve Fast IT with Customers, I shared with you that if companies are going to deliver new solutions at a more rapid pace, IT needs to be able to integrate and automate all support interactions that it is responsible for delivering.
There Are Challenges
Just as there are benefits with multi-sourcing, there are some challenges. Multi-sourcing creates new complexities that can stand in the way of business progress. Forward-thinking, proactive companies can address these challenges head-on by answering crucial questions such as:
- How do we implement end-to-end delivery methods in a multi-vendor environment?
- How do we manage the configuration of our devices when changes are being made by multiple outsource providers?
- How do we onboard new providers with minimal effort and impact on the ecosystem?
Changes made within the ecosystem can easily disrupt and fragment service delivery causing your company and other service providers to be out of policy, SLA or regulatory compliance.
Case in Point
We recently saw a situation at a large financial institution where the customer was facing a security audit that they were most likely going to fail. They called us for help. In just two-and-a-half weeks following service activation we had updated nearly 2,000 configurations and the company passed their security audit. They were so pleased with our performance they gave us 23,000 devices to manage for policy, configuration, and change.
But, that’s not the end of the story. The bank wanted to benchmark the effectiveness of their service providers against their established service level agreements (SLAs). Immediately we knew an automated closed loop process was needed. Our Compliance Management and Configuration Service (CMCS) coupled with ServiceGrid fit the bill.
When this project goes live, ServiceGrid, a tool that gets the right data to the right place and person, will be used to connect the customer and their service providers ticketing systems to one another as well as to CMCS. In turn, CMCS will perform a baseline analysis of all connected network devices and elements and automatically stabilize and upgrade them to Corporate Standards. This improves communication among all connected parties. It also gives the bank greater transparency into their vendor management activities and provides real-time compliance monitoring.
Combining ServiceGrid and CMCS enables us to automate multi-vendor network configuration and compliance while giving the customer higher value and a better outcome than if we offered either one of the services alone. The bank’s desire to build a robust, elegant, secure, and seamless multi-party network became an opportunity to let two of our premier services shine, making the future brighter for our customer and Cisco Services.
What about you? How is your organization addressing configuration management in a multi-sourced environment?
- Annual State of the Industry Jagdish R. Dalal, IAOP
- Fast IT: Accelerating Innovation in the Internet of Everything Era
The latest Value Incentive Program (VIP) period recently opened and reinforces Cisco’s commitment to partner profitability. VIP 26 continues to offer monetary rewards to partners who focus on technologies as a part of their larger value-based business strategy, and that are key to Cisco architectures and emerging offerings, including: Collaboration, Data Center, Enterprise Networks, Security, Cloud Managed Services, Cloud Services Reseller and Software as a Service (SaaS). In general, the highest rebates will be on some of our newer technologies and solutions that enable you to capture the market transitions with Cisco, provide the latest in our technology innovation to your customers, and insure longer lifecycles for the offers you are providing. We encourage our partners to review the changes to VIP via the links below, and take full advantage of the benefits provided by VIP 26.
- New transition period: All SKUs are now protected from change for the first two months of the new VIP period.
- CSAT continues to simplify: Customer Satisfaction remains a primary focus of Cisco and our Partners. To simplify our CSAT process, starting in VIP 26, Partners are required to provide customers’ contact information (including email addresses to which the surveys will be sent) instead of having a requirement for valid completed surveys. Partner involvement in low score follow-up is still required.
- Integrated Cisco ONE™ SKUs. Cisco ONE™ SKUs are now integrated into the appropriate Enterprise Networks and Data Center subtracks.
- Meraki U.S. pilot. The Enterprise Networks track includes a Meraki Cloud Networking subtrack pilot for the United States, providing rebates on select Cisco Meraki switches, access points, and mobile device management on Global Price List (GPL).