By Adrian Flückiger, Head of Cloud Infrastructure Services – Corporate Business, Swisscom
At Swisscom, we’ve encountered a challenge that should be familiar to telcoms everywhere. As more of our customers shift from landlines to mobile devices, and as the mobile market becomes more competitive and complex, we’re finding it necessary to create new revenue streams by offering a broader range of services. Two years ago, we confronted that challenge head-on with the introduction of a comprehensive cloud offering—our Dynamic Computing Service.
We developed our own customer-facing portal for this cloud offering, but we ran into serious limitations almost right away. The billing and fulfillment processes were insufficiently automated, and customers had very little transparency into the management of their cloud data. The simple fact is this: by attempting to create our own cloud infrastructure with no external assistance, we were stealing focus from our own areas of specialization. We needed a vendor with deep experience in deploying and optimizing cloud solutions. So we asked Cisco and two other top cloud vendors to engage in an intensive proof-of-concept to demonstrate their capabilities.
We assumed that some of our use cases would be too challenging for an external vendor, but Cisco proved otherwise. They delivered a truly dynamic, customizable solution to meet our complex needs. The result? We now offer a standardized catalog of 26 different cloud-based services, all managed through Cisco Intelligent Automation for Cloud (IAC) software.
The key to the whole solution is the level of customization provided by Cisco Services. With their help, we’ve automated some of our most time-consuming processes, and we’ve gained greater visibility across the enterprise from a single portal. We can now provision servers in minutes rather than weeks. We can also offer our customers more flexible billing options, billing them on a day-to-day basis rather than monthly or quarterly. That level of flexibility and value is a major differentiator for us, because it really highlights both the quality and affordability of our services.
For me, the best thing about this whole process is that Cisco Services always listened to us. They were open to input. We learned a lot from each other, which is exactly as it should be.
To find out more about how Swisscom worked with Cisco Services to reduce costs while achieving greater agility, read the case study.
Collaboration technologies power a new way of working where everyone, everywhere can be more productive through face-to-face and instantaneous communication. In previous posts, we’ve discussed how VoIP, TelePresence and Mobile Collaboration are reshaping the government workspace. For those organizations that often forced to do more with less, flexibility in service models is essential to accessing these transformative technologies.
As we’ve seen in education, the move from on-premise service models to the cloud gives organizations the ability to deploy advanced collaboration services while minimizing the requirements of an upfront investment. But a hosted delivery model not only minimizes cost, it also increases efficiency and effectiveness, reduces the burden on IT staff and ensures access to the latest releases.. With the right deployment model government workers can access the collaboration tools they want, whenever they need them.
When the City of Charlotte, North Carolina was preparing to host the 2012 Democratic National Convention cloud was the easy choice. With Cisco Hosted Collaboration Solution (HCS) the city was able to integrate its contact call centers and deliver excellent caller experiences to citizens and visitors before and after the political convention. With Cisco HCS the city found a solution that scaled to meet their needs during a major event and continues to better serve its citizens. But the benefits of choosing cloud don’t end there. With cloud services the City of Charlotte has lowered the total cost of ownership for the contact centers saving the city more than $100,000 a year!
With that kind of financial and operational flexibility, it’s not a surprise that more agencies are turning to hosted solutions. Is your government organization ready to take advantage of the cloud?
After more than 15 years of working in the telecommunications and IT industries, I’ve seen firsthand how people use technology to make a difference and change lives. While there are innovative uses of technology across all industries, nothing continues to impress me more than how collaboration technologies are reinventing education.
As we’ve seen time and time again technologies like video and mobile devices are enhancing 21st century learning. But no matter what technology schools and educators are using, the delivery of services matters. Thanks to the cloud, schools can deploy advanced collaboration technologies with increased financial and operational flexibility.
With Cisco Hosted Collaboration Solution (HCS), organizations can implement unified communication applications while saving money by switching from a capital expenditure model to an operational expenditure model. The flexibility of the cloud enables customers to accelerate rollouts, improve business agility, lower maintenance and utility costs all while continuously delivering services.
Take for example Perspectives Charter Schools, which serves more than 2,300 students across several Chicago communities. When Perspectives Charter Schools made the shift from an on-premise unified communications system to a cloud collaboration solution they lowered monthly costs, simplified system maintenance and improved administrative efficiency. With Cisco HCS, Perspectives’ monthly bill is now 25 percent less than their previous monthly costs for phone lines, maintenance, software support contracts and repairs. But while the total cost of ownership for communications has dropped, the quality of services hasn’t. The schools have added new collaboration capabilities such as voicemail-to-email and single number reach help make staff members more accessible.
And they’re not the only ones…
Alamance-Burlington School System in North Carolina made the same shift from on-premise to the cloud for voice services and experienced much of the same benefits. With Cisco HCS they’ve lowered the overall cost of their voice system by eliminated the need for one connection for each school and freeing up the IT team. Not only are they saving money, they are also increasing collaboration. The switch to the cloud gave students and faculty access to more advanced collaboration capabilities such as video and instant messaging.
Alamance-Burlington School System and Perspectives Charter Schools’ use of Cisco HCS are classic examples of doing more with less. Powered by the cloud they can both deliver the advantages of Cisco’s collaboration solutions with the financial, operational and strategic benefits associated with the cloud.
Is your school ready to start benefiting from the cloud?
Welcome to the Cisco Sizzle! Each month, we’re rounding up the best of the best from across our social media channels for your reading pleasure. From the most read blog posts to the top engaging content on Facebook or LinkedIn, catch up on things you might have missed, or on the articles you just want to see again, all in one place.
Let’s take a look back at the top content from April…
Are you prepared for the IoE Economy?
In this blog post, Cisco’s Chief Futurist Dave Evans and Joseph Bradley of Cisco’s Internet Business Solutions Group share two use cases for IoE – connected marketing and connected healthcare – with both a near-term and futuristic lens.
John Chambers Receives Honorary Doctorate
Cisco Chairman and CEO John Chambers received an honorary doctorate from San Jose State University at the honors convocation ceremony in April. His main message to the grads? Never stop learning.
Tomorrow Starts Here
What if the next big thing, isn’t big at all? It’s lots of things, all waking up. Explore how IoE will change the way we work, live, play and learn.
Innovation May Spark Economic Renewal
If we’ve learned anything from the last two decades, it’s that every time we think the Internet has exhausted its transformative potential, something highly disruptive comes along. Cisco CTO Padmasree Warrior talks IoE innovation and the $14.4 trillion value at stake that will spur research, new investments and new jobs.
A Typical Day
Explore how the Internet of Everything is sparking innovation and instigating meaningful actions to happen faster.
Is Your Site Safe From Attack?
Ars Technica editor Dan Godin compiled a list of Apache website compromises that have been impacting thousands of legitimate sites by allowing entrance to remote attackers. Until his research, no one had realized the magnitude of the situation and how widespread the attacks were. Check out the full insights, including potential solutions, in this blog post.
Three Networking Truths
There’s a clear consensus that one size does not fit all when it comes to deploying Software Defined Networking (SDN) solutions to different organizations. Time to dispel common networking misconceptions with three truths about the future of networking as Cisco sees it.
My colleague Norm Jacknis (former CIO of Westchester County, New York) passed along a list of CIO concerns for 2013 that was prepared by Alan Shark of Public Technology Institute, a nonprofit that provides technology guidance to local government. The list for cities and counties included:
I’d want to expand on a few of these items to include another emerging issue for CIOs and other government leaders: getting cities to embrace cloud and networking tools – while moving their urban economies forward.
Well, there’s good news to report on that overarching concern. There are several opportunities to learn more about how cities can embrace technology for economic growth:
These forums, and others, can provide essential context and information for governments looking to take charge of their economic development by harnessing technology and cloud capabilities – but as an enhancement to local wares (such as raw materials or railroads) that remain the backbone of cities and metropolitan areas. ICT has systematically increased productivity and supported economic growth across both developed and developing countries.
Connecting this railroad to a multisystem cloud network would allow it to transmit data to people and other machines, becoming observable, controllable, automated, and secure – and all achieved remotely, via cloud management.
Comprehensive digital network infrastructure can connect companies and people, increase productivity, and, perhaps most important, may be cheaper and more efficient than conventional, massive infrastructure, such as new roads. The great thing about ICT is that it breeds innovation. An investment in the network doesn’t just improve the public sector – the positive impacts spill over into education, healthcare, security, and so many other realms.
As the world becomes more connected, we are witnessing the emergence of “Big Data.”These are the mountains of data coming out of all these digital interactions, which can then be collected, sifted, mined, and analyzed to provide “raw” data material for new inventions across many industries.
The Internet of Things is already here. As more and more objects become connected to one another, they produce huge amounts of data. This information can be collected and analyzed to allow people to make better, more informed decisions. Sources: Cisco IBSG, 2006–2011; Cisco VNI, June 2011; Technorati; Radicati Group; IDC; The Economist; Apple; InformationWeek.
A transition to a more connected world is difficult. It profoundly affects everyone by challenging the status quo and creating exposure to new complex risks. But incorporating ICT into local governments and communities also offers the possibility of transforming the public sector, changing the role of government, and enabling citizens to be more actively involved in shaping their community. And ultimately, people need to be successful enough to generate taxes, create jobs, and generally contribute to a prosperous economy. I firmly believe that ICT and the cloud network can help accomplish this. What are your thoughts?
And stay tuned to the Cisco Government blog for the next installment of the cloud for local government blog series or click here to register and reserve your copy of the complete compilation of the blog series, including this blog as well as a variety of cloud resources, which will be available in May