Cloud, Cloud, Cloud and… Cloud!! There has been much justified excitement about the Cloud and the benefits that it can provide. XaaS is here to stay with everything from HR systems to CRMs launching multi-billion dollar transformations in the way business is done.
Within Cisco, we are in the middle of an exciting transformation of our own internal Digital services and platforms with the Cloud revolution as a backdrop. The work is exciting, and daunting, as it spans across multiple Communication and Marketing capabilities that will ultimately be consumed by our customers, partners and employees.
So, if things are going well, why put the effort in to changing it?
Jimit Arora has a nice summary in InformationWeek on some of the factors around successful Enterprise Cloud adoption. He points to looking at cloud through the “lens of agility, competitiveness, not cost” and giving people a “compelling reason” to step out of their comfort zone.
In our industry, sitting on your laurels results in quickly being passed. It’s critical for us to be constantly improving how we do things and Cloud is providing a major opportunity to do just that.
Are we there yet?
Cisco is examining the opportunity from a capabilities point of view with an eye towards consolidating and converging areas that exist for both internal and external use. The line between what’s inside and outside of a large Enterprise has been gradually fading since… well, since the advent of the internet. As we tick off each capability we want to enable, there are many examples where we are already ‘there’ and have been for awhile. For example, when Cisco acquired WebEx Communications in 2007, we quickly became their largest consumer of cloud-based Communication services and we remain one of WebEx’s top ‘customers’ by volume today. As a Cisco employee, I use the same service that our customers use and we use it both inside and outside the firewall without giving it a second thought.
Another area of where we are pretty much ‘there’, is with our video capability. Using both 3rd party and Cisco technologies like TelePresence, we are able to move video seamlessly to customers, partners and employees as needed. We demonstrated this capability in a dramatic way during the Cisco CloudVerse launch in 2011. We went so far as to combine a major internal event, our Company Meeting, with a live external broadcast to industry analysts and the press.
However, there are number capabilities that remain an opportunity for Cisco. One area where the improvements could be dramatic is in eliminating needless divisions between internal and external in the content management and delivery space. The lines between what goes to a customer, partner or employee should simply be a matter of policy and not a matter of digital capabilities or infrastructure.
There will certainly be cost savings around the re-use of internal content for external consumption, but the main benefit will once again be around agility. Imagine the possibilities of a simplified architecture where content and new innovative capabilities can be delivered simultaneously to anyone within the broader corporate ecosystem. Getting the right content, to the right person, just-in-time has long been the promise of Digital and that will be greatly accelerated by a converged, cloud-based communication architecture.
If you find yourself within a large Enterprise examining Cloud-based Digital Marketing and Communication capabilities from the IT or Business perspective, I would love to hear your thoughts on the opportunities and challenges in the space.
It’s Hard to believe we’re already in February 2014. It seems like just yesterday we were making cloud collaboration predictions for 2013– forecasting that cloud and the demand for interoperability would drive innovation and help businesses harness the power of video.
Well, 2013 saw all of that and more happen in the world of collaboration. And I predict there will be more from the cloud, as well as other smart, cool and exciting video innovations in our (near) future.
Here’s what I predict is on the horizon:
Communications will be ever more visual, so you’ll use video with more people and in more situations – and cloud makes it more accessible.
The 2014 workforce isn’t a sedentary group – it’s mobile, global and social. And people won’t move for jobs anymore–jobs will become more flexible for people. I know. I manage a globally dispersed team and on any given day find myself visiting China and the United States, all from my office in Norway. Adaptive, intuitive and connected video solutions will continue to allow an innovative and collaborative workplace experience that can be accessed anywhere – from the boardroom to the browser. This year, the cloud will continue to empower workers with access to video anytime, anywhere and on any device, including new environments and use cases such as “always on,” real-time collaboration in research labs and lectures in global classrooms.
2014 will be the year that business quality video is expected by consumers during their online business interactions. We’ll see video solutions used extensively in Read More »
There is no turning back from the mobile trend. With more devices comes the insatiable hunger for bandwidth. After devices are connected to the network, IT must make sure each is secured and provisioned. Creativity is needed to handle these high-density environments and enforce proper policies for mobile security, while juggling other responsibilities for the business. That complexity can be a huge headache. IT needs tools that can help make the whole process simple and fast.
Enter Cisco’s secure enterprise mobility solutions. Cisco’s 802.11ac (the latest Wi-Fi standard that enables more devices and bandwidth), Cisco Identity Services Engine (ISE), and Cisco TrustSec solutions join forces to simplify the high-density, secure mobility experience.
Join us for an engaging webcast on March 5 and learn how this combined Cisco solution can relieve your mobile device management and security headaches. Hear how Erickson Living, a trusted name in retirement communities known for innovative approaches to supporting resident needs, relied on this Cisco solution to provide high-quality, secure connectivity and a simple user experience.
Register today to learn how Erickson was able to level up to 802.11ac with heavy considerations for mobile security and how Cisco provided the tools to easily manage always-on, secure wireless access.
Get your questions answered with live Q&A. You will not want to miss this webcast. Register here.
Each 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
Karen Walker recently spoke with Glenn Gow of Crimson Marketing for a podcast. She was kind enough to provide us a transcript of the interview, and we’re happy to share that with you.
Covering topics ranging from revenue generation marketing to social media, it is a fascinating conversation that should not be missed. Be sure to stop by and take a look at the insights from Karen and feel free to participate in the conversation via the comments section.
Partner Voices: CDW on Driving Solution Adoption
In case you missed my latest Partner Voices blog this week, I had the opportunity to speak with Yvonne LeNoue of CDW. In our discussion, she gave her perspective on driving solution adoption and it is well worth your time. Yvonne is a principal contact center consultant for CDW and she has more than 20 years of experience in the field.
She has some fantastic thoughts on driving solution adoption. Stop by and check out her five key takeaways. Read More »
Earlier this month, I attended the first ever summit on OpenDaylight (ODL) project in Santa Clara, CA. This near sold out event was largely successful by many standards. It brought together a large number of great minds to the table to solve some of the toughest challenges the networking industry is facing around Software-defined Networking (SDN) and Network Function Virtualization (NFV). The group announced a first major step forward with the first open source software release called Hydrogen. The bulk of the credit goes to 154 contributors from Cisco, IBM, Ericsson, Red Hat, Citrix and others who wrote over a million lines of code in past ten months to make this happen.
The two-day summit was packed with a variety of sessions that were geared towards a diverse set of audience. The sessions varied from general topics to specific topics such as relevance of Open source software, NFV, LISP, standards, discussions on North and South bound APIs, developer tutorials for building applications & tool chain, using OpenStack with ODL, analytics, test automation, and a true story of SDN in production environment.
Of all these topics, here are the three important themes that stood out to me -
1. The importance of an Open Source, community initiative for SDN
The concept of Open Source software has been around since decades. It is fast catching up in the non-traditional realms of computer networking. For some, the concept of open source equates to free software. While this is partially true, I strongly believe that open=free is a misnomer. I have started to realize that open source and further, the collaborative initiatives like ODL is far beyond the notion of freeness. In my view, the most important thing that such an initiative does is to gather right minds to bring out bright ideas. The collective wisdom that emanates from such a collaborative initiative helps vendors develop a cohesive set of products that speaks a common language, and perhaps share certain fundamental design constructs to aid interoperability. At the same time, I believe that this collaboration helps to compress the infinite ways vendors can built products to a bounded, agreed upon set of behaviors and interfaces. Customers are real beneficiaries of such an open initiative due to this standardization and better product interoperability. As Vijay Pandey from IBM aptly said in one of his presentations, open source initiatives like ODL “promote innovation and raise the value bar.”
2. What and how much to Standardize (North and South bound APIs)
In the summit, there were several interesting debates on what to standardize and how much. With regards to how much, I am with Guru Parulkar’s mantra to “standardize as little as possible.”
One of the core capabilities that SDN brings to the table is the notion around exposing interfaces from control plane to the infrastructure layer (South Bound APIs or SBI) and to the application/business layer (North bound APIs or NBI). We talked about using common approach for design constructs above, and the APIs are central to the constructs. However, if we (are somehow able to) standardize every hook into the system, we are forcing the industry to take a “single” approach to solve the underlying problems. Additionally, I believe that such an approach will not only go against the very notion of openness, but will also hinder innovation and ability to provide unique experiences.
If we talk about SBI, we rightly need some standardized ways to abstract some of the infrastructure complexities. I learnt that ODL will include support for SDN open standards such as OpenFlow, VxLAN, PCEP etc. Similar to SBI, can we standardize the NBI’s as well?