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Does Cloud Really Matter When it Comes to Collaboration?

Recent numbers from Gartner suggest that by 2016, enterprise public cloud services spending will reach $207 billion, up from $109 billion in 2012.  Additionally, according to IDG’s Unified Communications and Collaboration survey, 90% of organizations plan to invest in new or upgraded unified communications and collaboration technology in the next 12 months.

It’s clear that businesses see a lot of opportunity in the cloud and collaboration, but how exactly can it help your business? At Cisco, we see four main ways that organizations can benefit from services that provide collaboration in the cloud, such as those offered with the Cisco Hosted Collaboration Solution:

You Can Create Unified User Experiences: Cloud-based collaboration solutions deliver a consistent experience across all devices – something important with the increasingly expanding array of devices used for work. This means, that someone using a smartphone from their car will be having the same WebEx meeting experience as the person joining from their desktop computer in a cubicle and the lucky coworker that is dialing in from their tablet at a sunny outdoor café. The application will look and feel the same so there isn’t a learning curve to use it on a different device and you can be assured that there won’t be any difference in the features and functionalities between users as well. 

You Can Optimize Resources: One of the many ways that collaboration delivers value is through operational ROI that allows organizations to avoid unnecessary costs and improve processes, but the resource gains from cloud collaboration go well beyond fiscal benefits.  Since the cloud can unify and automate operations across employees and offices, it allows IT and business executives to refocus their energy and investments less on operational issues and more on strategic priorities ultimately leading to business transformation.   Read More »

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Accelerate from the Starting Blocks with Cisco Intelligent Automation for Cloud

July 27, 2012 at 5:39 am PST

As the London 2012 Olympics kicks off today, the 100m sprint event will be one I’ll definitely be watching on TV.    And with Cisco as the Official Network Infrastructure Supporter for London 2012 - an event that is generating huge excitement here in Cisco UK and Ireland as well as Cisco globally, let me use an Olympics analogy to illustrate how Cisco Services helps you accelerate deployment of our recently announced Cisco Intelligent Automation for Cloud Starter Edition, described in excellent detail by my good colleagues Wayne Green and Jason Schroedl.

The Acceleration is in the Preparation

The Acceleration is in the Preparation

While the 100m sprint will (hopefully!) be won in a sub-10 second time, without doubt the winner will have taken much, much longer in preparation.  Like all the Olympic sports, the 100 sprint is an event where the participants will have prepared for several -- if not many --  years.  They are at the top of their game.   As I learned recently in a seminar at our Cisco Scotland office with Olympic medal winners Roger Black and Steve Backley, what is maybe not so visible is that they all have an extensive team behind them, helping them deliver that fantastic time.  And despite their own expertise, commitment and talent, they will have called on specialist expertise -- physios, expert trainers, even sports psychologists -- to help them accelerate from those starting blocks and over that finishing line in record time.  And for those competitors participating for the first time in such a major event, this background team will be all the more important in helping them develop their race plan.

So now onto cloud automation, and how Cisco Services can -- in an analagous manner -- help you accelerate from the starting block with Cisco Intelligent Automation for Cloud Starter Edition ….

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Cisco + EMC + VCE + VMWare Spells Success for SAP HANA and Cloud

Do the technology partners that comprise your data center really make a difference?  In the case of SAP HANA and Cloud, the answer is yes.   The Application Data Centers of the future look much different than the Application Data Center of the past.  CIO’s are looking for ways to reduce costs, floor space, and management of their Data Centers while increasing the intelligence they gather from their existing data in order to get a leg up on their competition.

Thanks to their numerous advanced technologies (i.e UCS..)  Cisco and EMC, with the active participation of VMware and VCE have developed over the past years a strong architecture to support the traditional needs of the SAP customers, but also new requirements related to cloud and big data.

With the recent certification of SAP Scale-Out, Cisco and EMC are partnering more closely than ever to provide Application Data Center Managers with the platform and persistent storage needed to solve the issues that keep CIO’s awake at night.

Cisco UCS with EMC Storage for SAP HANA Scale-out Solution from Cisco Data Center

Thanks to SAP HANA, data that previously was unattainable or unstructured, is now reportable to CIO’s in a format that will allow them to make instantaneous decisions to the benefit of their customers and to their bottom line.   Since everything with SAP HANA is real-time in memory, reports that used to take days or weeks are now attainable in seconds.   Cisco and EMC have provided the perfect platform for these transactions giving Application Data Center managers choices they may not have with other hardware vendors.

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What’s your Cloud IQ?

July 25, 2012 at 9:00 am PST

Two of my favorite geeks are presenting a workshop today on Bringing the Cloud to your Remote Offices.  Jimmy Ray is hosting his ‘brother from another mother’ (as we fondly refer to him) Matt Bolick.  Matt first blew our doors off back in 2009 as we featured the then new ISR G2 in our ‘Routers are Dead…Long Live the Router show (now retired).  Well, Matt was a featured guest recently on another big show we did, the Cisco Cloud Intelligent Network.   You can see Matt’s segment on Application Visibility and Control from that show right now as a great pre-study for the workshop above.   I also recommend our recent ‘Fundamentals of the Cloud Services Router’ as a secondary study resource.  Matt was instrumental in our writing and creation of this tool as well and I think you will find it valuable.

Heres the thing -- The Cloud and the Network are very co-dependent.  The network is poised for incredible leaps of intelligence now more than ever with this pressure from cloud implementations being quick to reveal weakness. I have even heard where the WAN has been re-defined as “Weak Area Network.”  Why?  Poor performance, inadequate security, lack of visibility and complex management, just to name a few An intelligent network endows the WAN with the  efficiency of cloud and and the confidence of a private network.

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3 C’s of Cloud Adoption

Feeling frustrated among all this chatter about Cloud? Want to implement a cloud solution quickly for your business, but don’t know where to start? I can help you understand how to maximize your benefits during the process of adopting a cloud solution. It’s as simple as 3 C’s: confine, clover, and cost.

Today, I will focus on the first “C”—Confine.

Before you can determine what cloud strategy you want to implement, you need to narrow down or “confine” the business problem you want to solve with Cloud. Once you have confined the problem, you can begin your roadmap for success with clear goals and expectations.

But how do you confine the problem? I suggest you take a good look at the market forces that are pushing you to consider cloud. Internally, it may be cost efficiency: reducing IT investment or managing staffing costs. Externally, the forces could be government regulations or competitive differentiations that are leading you to consider a cloud solution. 

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