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To Outsource IT, or Not to Outsource IT? That is the Question.

Sharing IT stories is the backbone of Cisco on Cisco, and architecture is the backbone of IT. However, can you get by with outsourcing your IT? Sure, it may sound like a good idea, and there definitely are positive aspects to that, but when you lose control of your architecture, IT becomes slow and outdated. In the video below I share how I respond to this common question of whether or not it is a good idea to outsource IT.

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New white paper: “Building your Strategic Roadmap to Hybrid IT”

Hybrid IT has the power to completely transform the role and the value of IT to the business. It is a critical imperative for those CIOs who want to transform themselves from the mere owners of technology stacks to the drivers of their enterprise’s digital transformation. This requires a pragmatic blending of modern technologies through smart multi-sourcing, with re-engineered IT processes to finally meet (and exceed) the expectations of business leaders.

As depicted on the diagram below, Hybrid IT lies at the intersection of ITaaS, Hybrid Cloud and Bi-modal IT. The goal: to deliver Fast IT.

Hybrid IT and Similar concepts

Feeling confused? Here’s a short lexicon:

  • Hybrid IT: modern IT operating model (= organisation/people + processes + technologies) shifting the focus from being a provider only, to becoming a broker of IT services
  • Hybrid Cloud: The focus is on technology, seamlessly bridging private, partner, community and public clouds
  • ITaaS (IT as a Service): The focus is on processes, providing a self-service model built for scale and cost-efficiencies
  • Bi-modal IT: The focus is on organisation/people, combining “system of records” teams (built for efficiency and stability) with “system of engagements” teams (built for flexibility and speed)
  • Fast IT: The result of it all: a fast, efficient, cost-effective system of IT provisioning, that finally meets business needs

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Cisco ONE Software Makes it Easy to Start Automating

Companies’ expectations of IT keep increasing as the pace of business intensifies, creating greater demand for new services and faster access to resources and data.  If you have been reading my blogs, you know that THE way for IT to keep pace with the speed of business is automation. But buyers beware.

IT automation solutions are difficult to create with multiple products that carry a la carte pricing models and licensing models tied to hardware. The hassles are obvious, and that model doesn’t help IT automate effectively. What is necessary is full functionality automation software that offers simplified pricing and licensing options as well as unified automation that delivers broad coverage for diverse environments. So Cisco offers exactly that.  Watch this video to learn how.

 

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Cisco ONE Software for Data Center makes it easy to automate at a pace comfortable to your business.   The Cisco ONE Foundation Suite lets you master basic automation at the compute level. Read More »

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Four More Awards for the Cisco IT Team and Cisco Prime Service Catalog

The Cisco IT internal implementation of Cisco Prime Service Catalog, dubbed the Cisco IT “eStore”, is no stranger to awards. Earlier this year, the Cisco IT eStore ranked in the InformationWeek Elite 100 and was nominated a finalist for the Consumerization of IT in the Enterprise (CITE) award.

If you aren’t familiar with the Cisco IT eStore and Cisco Prime Service Catalog, this intro video provides a great overview:

Now we are very proud to announce that Cisco IT has won not just one more, but four new honors: the 2014 “Stevie” Awards from International Business Awards.

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The Stevie Awards, which honor and generate public recognition of achievements and positive contributions of organizations and working professionals, feature some of the most exciting work in business and information technology.

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This year, the team behind the Cisco IT eStore was recognized with a Gold Stevie Award for Information Technology Team of the Year. As this internal implementation of Cisco Prime Service Catalog grows in scale, this team has been working to rapidly deploy new services (whether desktop applications or data center infrastructure) and new capabilities (e.g. a new mobile interface) to provide a single, one-stop shop for all IT services at Cisco.  It’s effectively the internal “IT app store” within Cisco for all employees.

For more information on the Cisco IT eStore initiative, you can check out the case study here, my write-up on the eStore here, Adel du Toit’s blog post on the Cisco IT initiative here, and a great overview session from our recent Cisco Live conference here.

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Cisco IT also took home a Silver Stevie Award for their innovative work on our internal Lightweight Application Environment (LAE) – an innovative platform-as-a-service deployment that’s also powered by Cisco Prime Service Catalog as well as other tools including Jenkins and OpenShift.

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Within Cisco, we have a private cloud – dubbed the Cisco IT Elastic Infrastructure Services (CITEIS) – that offers infrastructure-as-a-service with ready-to-go server, storage, and network resources for development teams.  Together, CITEIS and the Lightweight Application Environment allow Cisco application developers to focus on application coding and testing, not on the underlying infrastructure or platform. The LAE is called “lightweight” because the ordering and provisioning processes places very light demands on developers.

For both and CITEIS and LAE, the eStore (Cisco Prime Service Catalog) gives developers an easy-to-use, self-service portal for ordering and provisioning their application environment – providing on-demand access to the infrastructure as well as the required operating system, middleware, and system functions without manual provisioning by Cisco IT. All the resources they need are delivered just a few minutes after the developer orders them.  Here’s an example screenshot:

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You can read more about how Cisco IT enabled this Lightweight Application Environment in this blog post here.

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The final two Stevie Awards for Cisco IT this year were a Silver & Bronze medal for the Information Technology Executive of the year – awarded to our very own V C Gopalratnam (Cisco IT Vice President) and Michael Myers (Cisco’s Senior Director of Information Systems for Cloud Orchestration and Platform Service) respectively.

V C and Michael have played key roles in both the aforementioned CITEIS and LAE initiatives, enabling IaaS and PaaS via the Cisco IT eStore and Cisco Prime Service Catalog. We’re excited that these executives are being recognized for their leadership, and we look forward to what lies ahead for the Cisco IT and eStore team going forward.

If you aren’t already, be sure to follow @CiscoUM and @CiscoIT for the latest updates in these areas on twitter. Also visit cisco.com/go/service-catalog for more info on Cisco Prime Service Catalog.

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How Cisco IT Solved Its Internal Cloud Dilemma

Is your organization looking to build a cloud?

You’ll want to learn how Cisco’s John Manville leveraged an internal, private, infrastructure-as-a-service cloud to drive business value.

View John Manville's Cloud Insights Video Podcast

View John Manville’s Cloud Insights Video Podcast

John Manville is responsible for Cisco’s Global IT infrastructure  – which includes the data centers,  networks, platforms and more. Overall, John’s role is to implement Fast IT, which is really about being adaptable and responsive to business needs.

What technology helps drive this responsiveness and adaptability? “There are many solutions that can help, but if I had to sum it up in one word, that word is  cloud” replied John .

Cisco uses internal cloud technology for several important business imperatives. Through the cloud, we are  balancing internal IT workloads and providing our engineering team the tools needed for OS development. We are also using the internal cloud for external capabilities. For example, Cisco Smart Services uses our internal cloud to offer services to external customers.

Recently, John had the chance to participate in a new Cloud Insights Video Podcast to discuss the challenges his team faced prior to cloud implementation. Like most IT teams, they were challenged by speed of delivery of business capabilities, driving Total Cost of Ownership (TCO)  down and completing maintenance on the underlying infrastructure with minimal impact on the business users or applications they need on a daily basis.

To offset these challenges, his team  developed and deployed CITEIS (Cisco IT Elastic Infrastructure Services), an internal, private, infrastructure-as-a-service cloud. CITEIS started off as a way to provision virtual machines, but the team quickly realized that it  wasn’t enough so they  added on more middleware and database capabilities . Now, it’s a rich service that John’s team  offers to their clients.

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