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Enhancing the Customer Experience with Data & Analytics

Last month, I had the honor of presenting at the Internet of Things (IoT) World Forum in Chicago. The event gave me the opportunity to do one of my favorite things, collaborate and network with all of my peers who are doing creative work within the world of IoT. One of my colleagues, Kowsalya Arunprakash, Lead Architect of Virtual Data Integration Services for Time Warner Cable, co-presented and shared a use case in which Time Warner is utilizing Cisco Data Virtualization to enhance its customer experience with analytics. In today’s blog, I’d like to share more details about this use case, because I think it’s a great example of how organizations are leveraging IoT solutions as a way to better serve their customers and separate themselves from their competition.

Time Warner Cable IntelligentHome is a home security and energy management system which TWC IntelligentHomeusers can control from their smartphone, tablet or computer to do things like view live video, arm/disarm their system, turn their home lights on/off or adjust the temperature of their thermostat. As you can imagine, each one of these pieces of equipment creates a fair amount of data through radio-frequency identification (RFID) and sensors. On top of this, as consumers generally do, users are going to social media to share their experience.

Utilizing Cisco Data Virtualization, Time Warner is able to couple this data along with sales, marketing and historical customer data to get a full 360 degree view of operational analytics. By operational, I am TWC IntelligentHome 2referring to intelligence like customer trends, sales analytics and resource allocation management.

This combination is an extremely powerful tool to understand the customer in order to create and adapt products and services that cater to their wants and needs. It’s an opportunity to see how the product is being used, via RFIDs and sensors, coupled with customers’ feedback and experience shared on social media as well as their long-term history of usage and preferences.

During her presentation, Kowsalya shared that by leveraging these insights Time Warner is able to improve sales, reduce customer churn and even work with local law enforcement and emergency services to respond faster to current events. To hear more, I encourage you to watch the video interview of Kowsalya and learn about how Time Warner is using Data Virtualization to derive value for their customers.

 

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New Research Identifies How to Accelerate Data Virtualization Adoption

The challenges of data management are getting exponentially harder. These ever-increasing data quantities, diversity and distribution are revolutionizing data management, opening the door for new solutions such as data virtualization.

Data virtualization fulfills a range of business demands for data, supports high iteration and fast response times, all while saving significant IT costs.

Radiant Advisors is a leading strategic research and advisory firm that helps transform today’s organizations into tomorrow’s data-driven industry leaders.  They recently teamed with Cisco to better understand the barriers experienced by companies considering data virtualization and see how companies that have already adopted data virtualization overcame them.

The Data Virtualization Adoption Dilemma

Data virtualization is an advanced technology with nearly every major research and consulting firm provides architectural blueprints that include a logical business semantic layer.

Yet only some companies have it, leaving data virtualization an often-missed opportunity for business and IT to keep pace with today’s volatile data landscape.

To achieve the benefits of data virtualization, companies need to take the leap.

Unique Research Formula

To better understand data virtualization adoption barriers, Radiant Advisors’ Research Director, Lindy Ryan, interviewed a broad, pre-adopter community to understand their perceptions and concerns.  These top-of-mind issues were then posited to companies that have already adopted data virtualization, who then anonymously shared the insights, best practices, and lessons they learned in overcoming barriers to data virtualization adoption.

The resulting research report, Overcoming Barriers to Data Virtualization Adoption, consolidated these findings into clear counsel intended to guide potential adopters to overcome perceived barriers.

Read The Research

Download Overcoming Barriers to Data Virtualization Adoption here.

 

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Keeping Up With Demand for Big Data Analytics

In my recent blogs about building the right data strategy and analytics solutions, I discussed how Cisco is helping our customers to meet one of the toughest challenges brought on by the Internet of Everything (IoE) – cost-effectively managing massive amounts of distributed data. With solutions such as Cisco Data Virtualization and Cisco Big Data Warehouse Expansion (BDWE), our customers can bring all of this data together in ways that are meaningful to them. Utilizing the network to securely connect data throughout the IoE and providing advanced analytics, we help our customers predict outcomes so they can drive better decisions in real-time.

To keep up with growing demands for big data analytics, now is the time to look at workload automation end to end. In this blog, I would like to share the other aspect of big data analytics; building the right workload automation strategy to integrate data, analytics and operations.

In today’s big data analytics environments, IT staff is regularly managing increasingly complex processes that are co-dependent on one another and span applications and departments. Rather than implementing silos of automation, we are helping customers take advantage of workload automation from a unified perspective. Our enterprise-wide workload automation solution, Cisco Tidal Enterprise Scheduler (TES), simplifies end-to-end data management and automates diverse business processes across a broad set of applications, systems and environments.

For example, many business intelligence and analytics applications operate 24 hours a day. To handle a high volume of these jobs – many with service-level agreements – customers need the tools to receive and respond to alerts from anywhere.  Using the Cisco Tidal Enterprise Scheduler client on their iPhones and iPads, our customers can receive alerts, check logs and remediate errors from anywhere. As organizations continue to require fast and timely business services, we put the power directly in the users’ hands. By using TES’ self-service portal, business users can monitor the progress of relevant workloads through a web browser and perform basic job control.  In addition to reducing the downtime of a business user having to wait for IT to address their issue, this also takes some of the burden off IT.

TES is a key piece of any company’s big data and analytics software strategy and a priority for us at Cisco. Cisco IT uses TES internally and, due to successful deployment, is now encouraging further widespread internal adoption. Since Cisco TES is the first workload automation solution in the industry to have a suite of Hadoop adapters (as well as other data source and application adapters), Cisco IT is now additionally leveraging TES in Cisco’s own internal Big Data initiatives to deliver an end-to-end big data workload solution - as detailed here and here. We are continuously working to develop ways to integrate TES further with other Cisco Big Data solutions, such as the recently launched BDWE solution, to provide more value through holistic data management solutions.

Taking full advantage of big data delivers a tremendous competitive advantage to our customers.  Cisco TES facilitates the end-to-end management of the entire process from data acquisition, to value extraction, to action. Stay tuned as we continue to deliver new capabilities to further bridge today’s gap between enterprise IT capabilities and business requirements.

 

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Analytics for an IoE World

I recently wrote about how Cisco is helping customers more effective manage massive amounts of data, types of data and unprecedented distribution of data. This will be one of the toughest challenges brought on by the Internet of Everything (IoE) and, with solutions such as Data Virtualization and Big Data Warehouse Expansion, Cisco is enabling our customers to meet the challenge head on of bringing all of this data together in ways that are meaningful to business users.

After the business can access and view all of this data, however, the question becomes…now what? The next challenge is to extract insights from the data to make better business decisions.  After all, more data is only good if you use it to make better decisions than you would have made otherwise.

The rules of customer and business relationships are constantly changing due to technological innovation and consumption patterns. Analytics can reveal patterns in customer data that affect business processes and outcomes. Advanced analytics is different than reporting because it prescribes what to do, or predicts what is likely to happen, instead of just reporting what has already happened.

Utilizing the network to securely connect data throughout the IoE, whether in motion (streaming) or at rest (historical), is the future of advanced analytics.  For a retailer, it will give them the opportunity to take intelligent actions to engage customers directly at the point of purchase and in real-time. But it’s so much more than that. What can real-time analytics in retail tell us about how to serve customers more effectively?  What can real-time analytics in manufacturing tell us about how to make the workplace safer?  What can real-time analytics in healthcare tell us about how to better treat cancer patients?

When our customers can accurately predict outcomes by combining years of historical data with real-time information, they can drive better decisions…better outcomes.

 

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Interested in hearing how Cisco is paving the way to the future of analytics? Please join us for a webcast at 9 AM Pacific time on October 21st entitled ‘Unlock Your Competitive Edge with Cisco Big Data and Analytics Solutions.’ #UnlockBigData

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Aligning Solutions to Meet our Customers’ Data Challenges

In our previous big data blogs, my Cisco associates have focused on the topic of building the best infrastructure for long-term success with big data. I’d like to start a new chapter in the series, focusing on building the right data strategy and analytics solutions.

Today, people, process, data and things function together through a combination of machine-to-machine, person-to-machine and person-to-person connections. We call this the Internet of Everything (IoE). While the IoE is making us all smarter, it is also creating more data, more types of data and in more places.

This wealth of data comes with major challenges but also has the potential for amazing opportunities. At Cisco, we’re all about helping our customers turn these challenges into opportunities. The first step begins with proper management of the massive amounts and types of data in multiple locations. From a solutions perspective, that first step is our agile data integration software, Cisco Data Virtualization. It abstracts data users need from multiple different sources and brings it together to give users a unified, friendly view of the data.

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By leveraging this technology with additional solutions, our customers can access data across the IoE and use that data to respond quickly to change, make better decisions and gain a competitive advantage. Driven by the massive amounts of data in today’s IT environment, customers are facing huge expenses to add capacity to their existing enterprise data warehouses (EDW), the place where data is traditionally stored.

We help customers tackle the challenge of increasing enterprise data warehouse costs with Cisco Big Data Warehouse Expansion (BDWE). BDWE identifies infrequently used data and provides a methodology and tools to offload the data onto Hadoop, avoiding additional capacity costs and extending the life of the data warehouse.

I spoke with a customer recently who shared that one terabyte (TB) of data in an EDW costs $100,000 per year to maintain. That exact same amount of data for the same amount of time in Hadoop only costs $1,000 to maintain. This is a significant difference. By implementing an ongoing strategy to offload data from the primary system to Hadoop, our solution frees up resources to be utilized in more strategic ways. Additionally, we deploy Data Virtualization to act as a ‘virtual database,’ to access data regardless if it resides in the original warehouse or the new Hadoop data store. So not only does BDWE significantly lower costs, but the historical data remains easily accessible.

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Our customers gain the business insights and outcomes they seek with a complete suite of software, hardware and services solutions that access and analyze data, no matter where it is stored on the network. After all, the power of data is not just in the ability to access it but to use it to change behavior or the way you run your business.

Not only do we connect more people, processes, data, and things than any other company, we can also bring analytics to data wherever it is—no matter how remote—to turn information into insights almost instantly. More to come in my next blog about Cisco’s analytics portfolio and how its helping tackle the next major IoE challenge, extracting value insight from your data.

 

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To learn more about the benefits of Cisco analytics solutions and the power of our integrated infrastructure for big data, please join us for a webcast at 9 AM Pacific time on October 21st entitled ‘Unlock Your Competitive Edge with Cisco Big Data and Analytics Solutions.’ #UnlockBigData

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To learn more about Cisco Data Virtualization, check out our page.

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