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Introducing the Solution Accelerator Community for Intelligent Automation for Cloud

We are excited by the demand for Cisco’s Intelligent Automation for Cloud Starter Edition designed for pilot cloud deployments.   Just Recently we announced the new version of our stack, Intelligent Automation for Cloud (IAC) 3.1.  The release of Cisco IAC 3.1 continues to demonstrate Cisco’s commitment to enterprise customers and service providers to successfully deploy and manage their private, public or hybrid cloud environments.

There are so many opportunities to build private, public, and hybrid clouds with our Cloud Portal, Process Orchestrator, Server Provisioner and Network Services Manager.  Over a year ago we embarked on a journey to build cloud behaviors  into our product through  a concept we call Accelerator Packs which are XML  files containing the service catalog, data model and orchestration workflows that snap into Cisco IAC Starter Edition or Cisco IAC 3.1.  Accelerator packs extend Cisco IAC’s ability to manage multiple cloud environments such as Openstack, Amazon EC2 and VMware vCloud Director.   Accelerator packs were designed to meet the needs of our differing customers:  large service providers, or enterprises acting as a service provider, that desire completely custom behaviors, and other customers that are looking for pre-built and Cisco supported cloud-in-a-box solution.

Our platform is like the iPOD.  When installed and turned on you have a blank slate, no music ships with that iPOD.  Our automation packs are like the music and video files that upload and then your iPOD comes alive.  With our 3.0 Starter Edition and the 3.1 release, we have productized many playlists for a starter and enterprise grade cloud.  This means more than 70 pre-built portal services and over 150 orchestration workflows.  But wait, there is one more thing:   Cisco Advanced Services, Cisco partners and customers can build their specific content to extend the productized behaviors and content.  It can be transportable from one instance of Intelligent Automation for Cloud to another for leverage and integration.

How do we encourage sharing between all the 100’s of folks building content for this platform?

We are introducing the Solution Accelerator Community Cisco Intelligent Automation for Cloud.  Anyone with a registration can access this site.

This will be the place for Cisco, Partners and Customers to post, download, improve, upload content for sharing within the community.  This content can only run on the Intelligent Automation for Cloud software, so if you would like purchase a version of the platform for non-production test and development use, please go here.  While the solution accelerators are NOT open source, the use of this site is governed by these terms of use.

We have placed our Multi-Cloud  solution accelerator on this site and we are extremely proud of our integration with Openstack (and Amazon AWS and VMware vCloud Director).

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Creating Trust: Moving from Lurking to User Generated Content

As a training professional, I know what makes good online training and what makes boring and ineffective online training. We often get complaints that our training doesn’t present a variety of view points, it doesn’t go far enough, does not present enough practical examples, or that you can’t change attitudes or behavior with online training. These are all valid arguments that training professionals face in making the case for online training. But these days, social media can be used to address some of these issues with communities of practice for learning.
As always, the key to an effective learning experience is to get the learning to continue after the online course ends. Creating communities of practice, slowly generates trust, and turns learners into experts who will create and pass along their experiences, essentially creating user-generated content.

In most online communities, 90% of community members are lurkers. (Institute of Behavioural Research, 2008, Preece, Nonnecke, and Andrews , 2004) Lurkers get a great benefit from the community, as they come to the community for primarily to read and review the content. The trick to growing a community of practice however, is to change lurkers to participants. Lurkers generally do not contribute until they foresee a benefit to their contribution, or an increased social equity; social equity is essentially a raise in trust and status among community members. To increase social equity, lurkers must establish social networks of their own.
Communities of practice have an advantage over other types of communities in that their membership generally shares a common level of expertise or a common experience: for example, cardiac physicians, or people who have passed their CCNA certification, or even participants who attended the same online class. Content generated by the membership of a community of practice can even be perceived as more trustworthy than traditional content , (ITtoolbox and PJA Advertising + Marketing “IT Social Media Index, 2007), as audiences today feel as they can perceive the difference between traditional marketing-type content and user generated content. In a community of practice, this perception may be especially important, as there is a common level of expertise among the participants and therefore an implicit level of trust.
The more that community of practice members can make connections and engage with other members of the community to gain trust, the more they will feel comfortable making contributions to the community. Lurkers may start by simply rating a particular post or blog, but again, the community of practice advantage is their expertise, and shared experiences, which can make lurkers more comfortable in moving beyond ratings to actual postings.
Activity in a community of practice and the creation of user generated content has a strong correlation with the completeness of user profile information, making it easier for community of practice members to find and follow each other. After all, it is only natural that a community member will be more comfortable displaying knowledge and expressing opinions among friends, rather than strangers. Therefore in a community of practice, it is absolutely essential that participants are encouraged to complete their user profile information to more easily find friends and make content contributions to the community.
So take some time today to fill out your user profile and “follow” fellow community members, it’s the first step from moving from a lurker to a full-fledged community member.

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Cisco Partner Communities: Get Sales Support, Tech Support, and Info You Need

Every day, more partners are flocking to the Cisco Partner Communities. Why? Well, the communities are staffed with knowledgeable and friendly Cisco community managers who can help answer your most challenging technology questions, give you details on Cisco programs, and keep you informed.

Yep. The information you need is right there for the taking. If that’s not enough, you can visit the extensive documents library to download the information or presentation you need.

We’ve also cleaned up things a bit, too. If you haven’t visited the communities yet, or haven’t been by in awhile, we’ve made it easier to navigate, been straightening up and streamlining over the past few months, based on feedback from partner users.

Come take a quick look:

Check out some of the popular and informative topics.  Read More »

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oVirt Gaining Momentum

I have previously written about oVirt on this blog, but today, the official press release went out. You can read it in full here, but I’d like to quote a bit from the release:

The oVirt project today announced that Canonical, Cisco, IBM, Intel, NetApp, Red Hat and SUSE have joined together to help create a new open source community for the development of open virtualization platforms, including virtual management tools to manage the Kernel-based Virtual Machine (KVM) hypervisor. With the oVirt project, the industry gains an open source, openly governed virtualization stack.

The key piece to note above is the community aspect. oVirt as a community will develop and create an ecosystem in which customers, developers, and vendors can all thrive. Since the workshop, the community has been working towards the first release of oVirt for public consumption. Cisco, being on the oVirt board, is proud to be a part of the oVirt community as this community drives towards the initial release of oVirt.

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Cisco’s Collaborative Community Platform Transforms the Process for Creating Expense Reports

In many organizations, creating expense reports can be time-consuming and frustrating for employees. Cisco was no exception.  Employee feedback over time and recent usability studies confirmed user dissatisfaction with the process for creating expense reports, especially around usability of the existing tool on the corporate intranet, and the volume of audit and policy violations employees experience during the process.
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