By Uwe Lambrette and Evgenia Ryabchikova, IBSG Service Provider
Cloud is no longer a nascent market. The explosive growth of public-cloud providers —coupled with the relevance of the network in the delivery of cloud and IT services — has led many service providers (SPs) to treat this game-changing transition as a natural extension of their core business. While some SP cloud efforts have fallen short in customer demand and adoption, Cisco’s Internet Business Solutions Group (IBSG) believes there are significant opportunities for SPs in the cloud. To succeed, SPs need to tackle the cloud market in conjunction with a professional-services offer because many enterprises and small and medium-sized businesses (SMBs) do not have all the skills to design, build, migrate, and operate their own cloud solutions.
Based on 15 market interviews in Europe and emerging markets, as well as deep-dive project engagements, Cisco IBSG has explored why professional services are needed, what they should look like, and how they can be implemented. This FastFacts focuses on the SP opportunity to target cloud professional services to SMBs.
SMBs Have Specific Needs for Cloud-Oriented Professional Services Read More »
Tags: Cisco, cloud, IBSG, ICT, Professional Services, service providers, smb
Almost everyone has heard of the “cloud,” as a result of advertising by computer companies and frequent mentions in the news media. “Cloud” refers to technology resources used by an organization that are not at their own location, but available over the global data communications network (otherwise called the Internet). Moreover, the cloud is not just a question of getting access to some big data center in the sky; ultimately, it means gaining authorized access to any data or computing resource that is part of the Internet, and even combining data and software components from physically distant computers.
Public officials may have heard about how the cloud is being used in the public sector. For example, the United States Conference of Mayors had a session on this at its 2011 meeting where various mayors spoke about how their cities were using such services as shared email “in the cloud.” At the National Association of Counties, there have been sessions describing a cloud that is restricted to trusted government agencies at the state and local levels — what some call the “private cloud” because its services are not available to every organization, thus helping preserve the privacy and integrity of government data.
But the reasons state and local government officials might want to use the cloud are not often explained. This post will describe the various ways that the cloud can provide strategic value to state and local governments.
Most people have first heard of the cloud as a means of saving money, which is especially attractive at a time of tighter budgets. So instead of buying hardware and software, a government agency rents what it needs, when it needs it. This approach means you can shift from using bonds and debt service to an approach that matches your IT budget with the real demand each year.
And, often, the software services available in the cloud, such as email, can cost less per employee than licensing equivalent software in-house.
Resilience, Flexibility & Faster Technology Adoption
Potential cost reduction is not all there is to the story. There are other positive benefits as well.
First, cloud enables your government to survive a major disaster, whether man-made or natural. With the cloud, as long as your employees can connect to the Internet, regardless of location, they will be able to continue operations. This is crucial during disasters, when people depend on the government to continue to operate.
Second, the cloud can increase government flexibility. Email is a good example. Email that is hosted in the cloud is available to your employees no matter where they are — on the road or in their normal office. (There are other ways to try to imitate this result, but those approaches are more demanding of your IT staff than using the cloud.) Flexibility also includes being able to respond to peak demand, since resources available in the cloud are vastly larger than any demand your government might require.
The third related benefit is faster adoption of technology. With traditional budgeting approaches, adoption of new technology may not be possible until the last technology investment has been amortized. In the cloud, you can jump on new technologies quicker because that financial obstacle no longer exists.
Collaboration and Data Sharing
The cloud makes it easier to connect from one government agency to another, which means that they can collaborate and share data more easily. This helps break down silos that annoy citizens and make public programs ineffective. (Beyond breaking down silos, the cloud also enables government to reduce or eliminate the duplication of expensive data centers.)
Focus on Citizens
The cloud also helps your staff focus on what’s important. If you do not consider IT to be a strategic tool or core competence of your government, then clearly it makes sense to depend upon the resources of the cloud rather than trying to build equivalent expertise within your own government.
Even if you view IT as a strategic tool — and I hope you do — the cloud enables your IT staff to shift from running data center operations to focusing on services they can deliver to citizens.
The cloud is more than just a good way to save some money; it also has strategic value as a means to govern better.
Stay tuned to the Cisco Government blog for the next installment of the cloud for local government blog series or click here to register and reserve your copy of the complete compilation of the blog series, including this blog as well as a variety of cloud resources, which will be available in May.
Tags: Cisco, cloud, Cloud Computing, collaboration, data, government, IBSG, internet, IT, local, Sharing, state
Cities around the world are facing some big and complicated problems, with few easy answers at the ready. Rising energy costs, environmental concerns, and new government initiatives have inspired a focus on sustainable IT operations. But how can cities be expected to solve these crises, while also improving citizen services and ensuring future economic success?
Advanced information and communications technology (ICT) is a great answer, but this is easier said than done. Cities frequently face logistical hurdles on the road to becoming Smart Cities. I believe the key is creating a more effective “connected transformation,” harnessing the power of cloud computing for cost reduction and the delivery of vital services.
We’ve seen this in the enterprise sector: An intelligent IP-enabled information network provides a single, multiservice infrastructure to support productivity and cost initiatives—all achieved remotely, via cloud management. Government agencies are beginning to follow this lead. The public sector, for example, is finding new ways to measure such things as power consumption, thereby controlling energy output, reducing costs, and increasing operational efficiency. For government as well, the cloud is becoming an important tool for achieving greater sustainability.
Overall, the cloud is helping to create more effective city management, and it enables the network to become:
- Observable. Cities can monitor systems, power flows, and equipment, with no physical or location constraints.
- Controllable. Providing remote two-way communications and data between stations, systems, and equipment will maintain effective operations.
- Automated. Hands-off processes allow for greater cost efficiency.
- Secure. Layers of defense throughout a cloud grid will assure service reliability, prevent outages, and protect citizens.
The result is an intelligent, integrated cloud infrastructure that is pivotal to a Smart City’s evolution. Some amazing technology advances are making it possible for complex systems to be managed—and self-managed—remotely and efficiently. A flood of recently published case studies show how, in practical terms, high connectivity is essential to a new future for buildings and cities, and to the urban economy as a whole.
New York City is already proactively bringing information to citizens through an integrated platform called City24x7. This offers local information on displays in obsolete spaces such as pay phone booths, and it is accessible anywhere, anytime, on any device. Visitors can discover top-rated restaurants and attractions. Residents can learn about local programs and services, and receive safety alerts. Travelers can save time by accessing real-time data about public transit and roads. The platform has seen astounding results already; currently City 24x7 is in the process of building up to 250 city-approved display locations. Cisco IBSG’s white paper, “Transforming the City of New York,” reveals more about how City 24x7 informs, protects, and revitalizes cities. There is also a video, “A Smart City Transformation of the City of New York.”
Cloud has become a key enabler for those seeking to transform some core aspects of modern life. This includes how schools train the next generation of workers; how companies hire and encourage innovators; and how cities change their economies. ICT has changed the publishing, education, health care, retail, manufacturing, and financial services industries, and it can now address issues that are front and center for every city and government.
The bottom line is that ICT helps leaders to address key problems by helping them to improve government efficiency and strengthen city management. In the process, it provides new ways to encourage economic growth. Cloud, as a critical component of an integrated network of technologies, enables us to think outside the traditional analog box in our quest for solutions.
The benefits are clear, but where exactly to begin? Look for the next edition of this two-part blog for suggestions on next steps toward harnessing Smart City cloud management or click here to register and reserve your copy of the complete compilation of the blog series, including this two-part blog as well as a variety of cloud resources, which will be available in May.
Tags: Cisco, city systems, City24x7, cloud, Cloud Management, connectivity, government, IBSG, infrastructure, Intelligent Network, Smart City
By Uwe Lambrette, Director, IBSG Service Provider
Cloud adoption is accelerating at an impressive pace. To gain a deeper understanding of the current rate of change, and the dynamics of cloud’s evolution, the Cisco Internet Business Solutions Group (IBSG) engaged with wide-ranging groups of IT executives and decision makers—first in 2010, and then again in 2012. Our in-depth interviews focused on five industry verticals: government, manufacturing, financial services, professional services, and retail.
In our interviews, we encountered many examples of cloud implementation projects, which we call “adoption dynamics,” because they are nearly always part of the enterprise cloud adoption process. While there is no prescribed order, enterprises often begin with smaller, well-defined projects that fall into six categories:
- Consolidation of IT resources into cloud-based architectures for true cloud transformation
- Next-generation workspace
- Simple back-office business processes
- Software development
- Agile and scalable web presence
- Transformation of computer grids and analytics
Today: Different Industry Verticals Share Common Adoption Dynamics
The study Read More »
Tags: adoption, analytics, Cisco, cloud, cloud implementation, cloud transformation, cloud-based architectures, grids, IBSG, Internet Business Solutions Group, next-generation workspace, Service Provider, SP, vertical cloud adoption, vertical cloud providers, web presence
Wherever you go and whatever you do in the 21st century, you generate a data trail. Your credit and debit cards, mobile phone, laptop computer, tablet — not to mention retailers, banks, hospitals, hotel systems, and activity on social networks, blogs, and email — all generate data.
Yet, we are currently connecting less than 1 percent of the things, people, and machines that could be online, communicating and collaborating. As we create the Internet of Everything (IoE), the amount of data will rise exponentially, created by your car, clothes, medicines, food, e-books, and presence on video surveillance systems.
The mountain of data collected about people and things has led to a growing industry dealing with high-volume, high-variety, high-velocity, virtual data sets (“the 4Vs”, according to Gartner) — often called “Big Data.” The growth of Big Data is an inevitable reality of a digitally connected world. Read More »
Tags: Big Data, Cisco, data in motion, dynamic care, dynamic data, healthcare, Hospital at Night, IBSG, Nottingham University Hospital, patient experience, real-time data