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Developing Products and Solutions in the 21st Century

On November 3rd, 2014 at the Software Defined Network-Multiprotocol label Switching SDN-MPLS (Software Defined Networking-Multiprotocol Label Switching) Conference in Washington D.C: I moderated a stellar panel titled, “Developing Products and Services in the 21st Century.”

Quite a few of the attendees represented Service Providers; with a few attendees from the Public Sector and vendor communities.

In framing up the discussion, I had proposed the following provocative abstract:

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IT Value Map: your compass for cloud transformation

November 10, 2014 at 9:09 am PST

In my previous blog, I explained how COBIT 5 provided a robust framework to understand your users’ expectation for IT services. With this knowledge in mind, we can now depict the value that your IT department should provide going forward and how success will be measured – in other words, we can now build your IT Value Map, which is the second phase of Cisco’s Strategic IT Roadmap methodology.

The IT Value Map is vital for any IT organisation that is transitioning to a new operational model (typically, cloud-driven), and that needs to clearly explain its IT Vision & Strategy to all stakeholders involved: employees, users/customers, partners, etc. The IT Value Map is also the first step towards creating an interactive, real-time CIO dashboard — but this is a topic for another blog post.

SITR@GovCloud - Wall Chart (A1 size)

Here below, I describe the process of building a typical IT Value Map through the lens of three Operational Directorates, supported by six Governance Pillars.

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OPEN: A Fundamental Part of the Network of the Future

Over the past several years, I’ve been lucky enough to be a part of two important trends in the networking industry - the evolution of open standards and open APIs, and the definition of policy as the key interface to the network.

Open is an extremely important word to the future of networking. The simple dictionary definition for open means not closed or locked, allowing access to inside, and freely accessible.

The ultimate networking environment will allow a user the freedom to connect anything together in the cloud and to an existing environment. In order for this vision to happen, companies must work together to create a common language.

OpenStack has garnered a lot of interest in the development community and among our customers.  We at Cisco have been actively helping to shape the discussion around policy.  Working collaboratively with our partners and competitors, we helped create Group-Based Policy (GBP), an intent-driven policy API for OpenStack.

The Group-Based Policy initiative represents a significant innovation in how users conceive, manage, deploy, and scale their applications in OpenStack clouds.  And its now available as a 100% open source solution available to any vendor.  When coupled with Cisco Application Centric Infrastructure, we are able to offer our customers a completely policy-driven network.

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Building the Platform for the Internet of Everything

We are embarking on a new technological journey that will fundamentally change forever the economy, society and the way that we live.  Wired magazine described a new era where “the most mundane items in our lives can talk wirelessly among themselves, performing tasks on command, giving us data we’ve never had before.”  The Internet of Everything (IoE) is a world where up to 50 billion things (or devices) will be connected to the Internet by 2020; or, the equivalent of 6 devices for every person on the planet.

Businesses are beginning to completely re-design their processes, operations and business models to benefit from this new era.  We are already starting to see the emergence of smart cities, connected utilities, connected railways, connected factories, connected cars, and even connected mines, to name but a few.  All industries are looking to IoE as a breakthrough technology to help them optimize their business, enter new markets and enhance their relationship with their customers.  This is why industry analysts, like IDC, estimate that businesses will spend up to $20 trillion over the next three years to realize the promise of the Internet of Everything.

But, The Internet of Things is More Than Just “Things”.  As I described in this recent article, the Internet of Things is really a short-hand for the four technology pillars (mobility, cloud, big data and things), wrapped in security, that are forging a revolutionary new, and revolutionary, connected world.  Successful IoE implementations don’t happen in isolation or independently.  Cisco is discovering that successful implementations require a technical and business platform into which different solutions can be easily plugged to efficiently and effectively achieve the promised business benefits.  The cornerstones of this IoE platform include a robust connectivity and technology infrastructure, operational and management services and a range of vertical and horizontal solutions.

IoE Impressions 11.6

In Cisco’s experience, all IoE implementations require all of these technical and business elements to be successful.  Our vision is that effective IoE deployments will build an IoE platform that can be extended across the business, or even entire industries, to deliver a range of unique, value-added IoE solutions.

Starting from the bottom, the layers comprise:

  1. Network Connection – connecting all of the solutions, data and applications through fiber backhaul or licensed cellular.
  2. Network Access – a managed Wi-Fi, or other unlicensed wireless network, to connect all of the sensors and applications.
  3. Technology Platform – a platform to allow new devices and solutions to readily and securely “plug and play” into the overall architecture, and to connect to cloud storage and compute services.
  4. Vertical and Horizontal Solutions – the combination of devices and applications that deliver the unique solutions for different vertical and horizontal industry segments.
  5. Platform Monetization – in some verticals, like smart cities and B2C, opportunities exist to leverage the platform and network to create new sources of revenue.
  6. Shared Operating Platform – a shared platform to consolidate the management, customer care and service issues across all of the solutions.
  7. Professional Services – services to support areas such as systems integration, planning and design.
  8. Program Leadership – services to program manage the entire implementation, operations and partner ecosystem.

Successfully deploying and capturing the tremendous potential benefits of IoE is not just about cool things and applications.  A comprehensive technical, operations and management IoE platform is required to turn vision and promise into reality.

Want to learn more and chat with our Cisco subject matter experts? Tweet us @CiscoSPMobility.

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Business Drivers for Cloud Transformation: lessons from COBIT 5

November 5, 2014 at 3:19 pm PST

In my previous post, I introduced Cisco’s Strategic IT Roadmap (SITR) methodology, and explained how it can guide Shared IT Services departments on their journey to the hybrid cloud. I'll now provide some more details on the first phase (out of three) of a SITR engagement, which consists of a series of detailed interviews and/or workshops held with the business stakeholders and end users. Leveraging the COBIT 5 framework, we’ll provide a balanced business view of how IT is perceived from the outside — and ascertain how technology creates value for your clients and what needs evolving.

COBIT

In this post and in the context of cloud transformation, we look at eight of the most relevant drivers that COBIT 5 identifies in its 17-point list. This delivers a balanced scorecard that covers 
4 key dimensions: financial, internal, customer-oriented and future-oriented. We’ll examine both where your organisation is now and how you would need to evolve.

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