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Could Big Data and Cloud go together?

In today’s era of increasing connectivity, data is getting generated in vast proportions.  Moreover, it is also important to be able to generate insights from it quickly and act accordingly.  Gone are the days when one would move data into a data warehouse and then extract insights from it to act at a later date.  Here are four scenarios why.

Scenario 1: Cloud and Social

If a discussion around a brand is trending positively or negatively, that organization needs to take action then and cannot wait for a future time to do so. They might want to capitalize on the positive sentiment and amplify it or perhaps take action and remedy a trending negative sentiment. Both Twitter and Facebook provide several real time analytics capabilities leveraging big data technologies that they pioneered themselves.  These analytics run within their cloud environment and provider users real time insights.

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The New IT: How Cloud Changes Everything

The move to cloud can be daunting.  In their blog, Overcoming the Organizational Challenges of Moving to Cloud, Presidio describes one of the barriers organizations face when transitioning to cloud.  Building a hybrid cloud – one based on private on-premises resources extended through the public cloud network – requires many shifts in thinking for IT.

In short, IT is becoming the cloud services broker within their own company.  This means IT is less about building out infrastructure than it is brokering cloud-based services and applications. To achieve this, IT needs to be able to provide services tailored to their user base.  In turn, IT needs to be able to access flexible services designed to meet their specific requirements.

Another important shift in thinking for IT is to realize that the cloud is a doorway to more than just virtual servers.  It is a portal to new applications and new ways of doing business so you can act upon emerging opportunities quickly.  It is an assurance that you can have the performance you need to follow through on these opportunities.  And it is a direct connection to ongoing innovation, enabling your organization to seamlessly access leading technology without extensive capital investment.

Cloud providers like Presidio understand this dual role of cloud, to help manage costs today while enabling unrestricted expansion into the future.  And, with their Cisco Powered services, Presidio offers a cloud that is also built for reliability, security, and scalability.

Learn more about how Presidio’s Hybrid Cloud and Cisco Powered cloud and managed services can transform your business.

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Coming to NRF: Lisa Fretwell on Shopping Trends, New Frontiers

Cisco will be featured in two Big Idea sessions at this year’s NRF conference starting tomorrow, and I’m happy to introduce guest blogger Lisa Fretwell, who will be leading one of these two seminars. Lisa is the Managing Director of Retail at Cisco Consulting Services, specializing in the Internet of Everything and analytics, and how these new capabilities can transform and differentiate retail and consumer product businesses:

In today’s digital era, stores are clearly challenged in terms of sales and profitable growth. Every retailer is faced with needing to change and innovate their store to deliver results.

Overall, the majority of stores across all categories are demonstrating flat or declining like for like, exacerbated by price deflation. Cisco’s recently concluded annual survey on shopper behavior of 10,000 shoppers highlights the ongoing shift away from the store to online. Twenty percent of consumers now make more than 50% of their purchases online, and this number is expected to continue to grow.

However, when you dig down into the data, you may be surprised by some of the changes. As just one example, we asked shoppers which categories they had significantly moved from store to online. We learned that 41% of the consumers surveyed have somewhat or significantly increased their online purchases of apparel in the last two years – clothing, shoes, and accessories. Traditionally, these products are the life blood of why shoppers go to a store – to touch, feel, try on.

So is it all doom and gloom for shops? No, not if you’re up for innovation and change. There are still significant reasons for shoppers to visit stores. Our research highlights some key insights that retailers must leverage to drive healthy results and make the store experience hyper-relevant.

Our experience from retail engagements suggests the answer lies in two areas: being able to deliver dynamic experiences, and to improve ways of working. From instant response to customer needs to improved process digitization, we are seeing that retailers are increasingly relying on a combination of sensors, analytics, automation, cloud, and edge computing.

If we apply this model to a $20 billion turnover retailer with 900 stores, Cisco estimates that there is $312 million of incremental benefit to be had: $170 million from digitizing ways of working: staffing optimization, store routine digitization, and colleague collaboration; plus $142 million from improved customer conversion through insight, digital offers and loyalty, service, and cross-channel selling. We believe this approach offers the next much-needed step change in store economics.

To learn more, please join us at NRF on Sunday for Cisco’s Big Idea sessions:

  • The first, at 10:15 am in Room 4 of the Expo Hall, covers more on our annual survey results. It is led by Cisco Vice President Joe Bradley (replacing Anabelle Pinto due to a family emergency).
  • Then, at 2:00 pm in Room 4, Cisco’s Shaun Kirby and I will discuss how retailers are taking advantage of the “Internet of Everything: New Horizons in Retail.”

We look forward to seeing you there!

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Disaster Recovery Oversights

It can be challenging and expensive to design an efficient network and data center that minimizes downtime.  Yet, even if you’ve put together a bulletproof solution, there’s always the possibility of disaster to consider.

Developing a robust disaster recovery plan involves much more than just installing redundant resources.  There are so many factors to consider, and so many that are easily overlooked.  For example, a comprehensive disaster recovery plan includes not only redundant electrical systems; it ensures electricity sources are redundant as well.

Disaster recovery is an example of an application that is well-suited for the cloud.  Certainly you can take on the challenge – and expense – of putting together a complex, in-house solution.  Alternatively, you can leverage the expertise and up-to-date solutions available from cloud providers.  Cloud-based disaster recovery services can also be put in place must faster and at substantially lower cost.

Partnering with a cloud provider can greatly simplify implementing a comprehensive disaster recovery plan. Not every cloud provider offers enterprise-class service.  Nor do they all guarantee their promises with written service level agreements. Choosing the wrong service or the wrong provider can put the reliability of your recovery strategy at risk.

In Shopping List for Cloud Recovery Services, cloud provider Sungard AS reviews key factors to consider when evaluating disaster recovery cloud services.   They offer many service levels, such as the speed with which different infrastructure and applications are restored.  Properly balancing your plan with your business requirements leads to the best price.  The right provider can also help you understand your vulnerabilities and different approaches to address them.

Cloud-based disaster recovery services provide a cost-effective approach to enable you to ensure the safety of your organization’s data and continuity of operations.  Learn more about how industry leaders like Cisco, Sungard AS, and Allstream are working together to manage risk in the cloud.

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Making the Most of the Cloud and Enabling New Capabilities

Cloud computing has been an important aspect of IT departments for several years but it wasn’t until the past decade that cloud computing started to develop and evolve to include private, public and hybrid cloud solutions. The capability and agility of the cloud has forced this rapid evolution. Cloud is transforming businesses of all sizes, from small and midsized businesses to larger organizations -- a trend that’s showing no signs of slowing down. So what does the evolution of cloud solutions and services mean for the future?

The Future is Cloud

Cloud enables capabilities such as enhanced remote access, video streaming, faster disaster recovery, increased scalability and reduced IT infrastructure total cost of ownership (TCO) and will be a main driver of these capabilities moving forward.

With most new software being built for cloud from the outset, Gartner predicts that Read More »

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