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Three Key Takeaways on Digital Dialogue at Gartner ITXpo

This week, I spent a few days at the Gartner Symposium/ITxpo in Orlando. As usual, it was a great event that provided valuable insights into the state of the industry and our clients’ mindsets. Between a number of great sessions led by Gartner analysts, the dialogue created by the 10,000+ attendees at our Cisco sessions, and myriad client interactions during the event and over dinners, I gained a palpable sense that there are many areas of common consensus and excitement around digitization.

I left the event with three key takeaways from the week:

  • Digital is it – but the focus is shifting from technology to journey. Last year, “digital” was the buzz, but it was mostly a technology conversation about the SMAC stack (social, mobile, analytics, cloud) and technological approaches to becoming a digital company. This year, I noticed a distinct shift in the discussion: The business journey, and not specific technologies, dominated the conversation. What steps should I take first? Which business processes should I digitize first to achieve some early wins and financial returns? The dialogue is now all about the business, and less about the technology.
  • Customers need help to determine their journeys – and they expect case studies. Numerous customers told me that the best way we could help them is by assisting them in developing their digital roadmaps. Everyone now understands the need to digitize fully, but they need help articulating the steps they should take on this journey. What sequence of steps should we take to digitize our company fully? Which processes do I tackle first, and why? Should I always start with the end-to-end customer experience? When we work with clients, we can help them map out the tailored journey that makes the most sense for their specific company in their particular industry. This point is critical: Becoming digital requires the right linkage between business and IT strategies, and an appropriate digital strategy will vary for each customer depending on the company’s current state, desired future state, positioning, and value drivers. Additionally, customers expect vendors to provide case studies detailing their own transformations and their record of successfully enabling and guiding customer transformations in the past. Our own John Manville led a session titled “Your Digital Transformation: A Best Practice and Next Steps Guide” that was a huge hit, because he shared Cisco’s record with digitization, including all of our use cases, the hard lessons we learned along the way, and the best practices we’ve developed inside Cisco. Our recent release of “Digital Transformation – 100 Customer Stories” has garnered interest from clients and partners from all over the world, as they seek to understand what’s possible and how they can get started on their own transformations.
  • It’s about the insights and actions – not the dumb data! We’ve been saying for two years now that the Internet of Things (IoT) revolution isn’t about the “things” themselves – it’s about how you harness the data you get from the IoT to make better decisions and take informed actions. Gartner pushed this thinking even further this week when Peter Sondergaard, Senior Vice-President and Global Head of Research at Gartner, said: “In five years, 1 million new devices will come online every hour. These interconnections are creating billions of new relationships. These relationships are not driven solely by data, but algorithms… Data is inherently dumb. It doesn’t actually do anything unless you know how to use it, how to act with it.” Absolutely! Algorithms are critical sources of intellectual property and key drivers of business rules and value – they represent the opportunity for customers to rethink their digital business models for the next era.

If you were at the Gartner Symposium/ITxpo in Orlando, what were your key takeaways?

 Special thanks to the @Gartner_Inc team, and our own @CiscoEvents team for the great event in Orlando!

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Innovate in the Digital Era: Previewing the Gartner ITXpo

Next week I’m headed to the Gartner Symposium/ITxpo 2015 in Orlando – and I’m looking forward to seeing many of our top clients and many analysts from Gartner. The energy and buzz created by bringing thousands of organizational leaders, engineers, experts, and analysts together for five days of learning and collaboration is inspiring.

This year the event is very focused on DIGITAL – and the event description talks about how “a digital wave is sweeping through every industry, organization and culture.” This line sounds pretty familiar – it sounds a lot like what we at Cisco have been saying about how digital transformation is bringing together people, process, data, and things in new and important ways. From countries to businesses, it’s changing everything.

All of the momentum is behind digitization, and I’m excited to connect with our customers and partners to hear about their experiences going digital and to learn about how Cisco can continue to enable this transformation. Read More »

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Creating and Capturing Value To Thrive in a Digital World

By 2020, 75% of business will become digital in some way by deploying solutions that leverage the intersection of people, process, data, and things—the very definition of the Internet of Everything (IoE). For example, IoE will drive an improvement of earnings before taxes and interest (EBIT) of 15.6% in retail, 14.5% in financial services, and 12.8% in manufacturing.

Connected Devices and Sensors Everywhere

The rapid adoption of IoE and the Internet of Things (IoT) has driven the number of connected devices into the billions worldwide. Cisco’s own estimate shows there are 25 billion connected devices today, and will be 50 billion by 2020.

While sheer the number of devices grabs the headlines, there is an even more powerful force at work that will add to the tremendous disruption CIOs and senior IT executives are experiencing across all industries. (For more about this disruption, please refer to my blog titled, The Digital Vortex: Relentless, Disruptive, Chaotic — and Empowering.)

The enduring impact of Moore’s Law and Metcalfe’s Law combined with unprecedented innovation is resulting in sensors that are changing the world to become hyper-aware, hyper-predictive, and hyper-agile. Cisco estimates that 54 billion sensors will be shipped this year.

Leading companies are using these new capabilities to do things like monitor and expedite the time it takes prepare planes for boarding, reduce customer wait times by predicting 40 minutes in advance when lines will become too long, increase factory production rates by ensuring workers always have the right tools at hand, and anticipate structural failures to save lives and reduce costs.

New Business Models and Value Creation

In this new environment, three digital business models are pointing the way forward: 1) Frictionless Life, 2) Hyper-Relevance, and 3) Community. Each model delivers a different type of value.

JBGartnerITExpoBlogPic Read More »

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IoE is the Path to Gartner’s ‘All Things Digital’

This week, I had the opportunity to focus on digital business as an attendee and presenter at Gartner’s ITxpo in Orlando, Fla. It was a sold out crowd with 8,500 attendees and approximately 2,700 CIOs. And one insight that seemed to resonate with the audience was Gartner’s belief that by 2018, digital business will require 50 percent fewer business process workers and 500 percent more key digital business jobs.

At the ITxpo discussing how the Internet of Everything helps enable all things digital

At the ITxpo discussing how the Internet of Everything enables the transition to Gartner’s  All Things Digital

We already live in a world that is rapidly connecting people, process, data, and things in ways that were unimaginable just a few years ago. I believe that IoE is a key driver of this transition and a fundamental stepping stone to making “All Things Digital.”

Gartner defines All Things Digital as “blurring the physical and digital worlds to create new business designs.” Interestingly, Gartner focuses on people, business, and things, but omits process. Gartner’s view is that process will happen dynamically and be measured in not months or weeks, but nanoseconds. While this is a true statement, it reflects the end goal. The key question is, how does an enterprise become digitally enabled?

A first step in transitioning to All Things Digital, is embracing IoE by lighting up “dark assets.” A dark asset is something that is currently not connected to the Internet. A dark asset in itself however, does not create value.  ln All Things Digital, connected devices begin to talk with other connected devices. These devices interact with one another dynamically, which in turn creates processes in just nanoseconds. In this environment, IoE allows you to understand what process to focus on and which assets to connect. In other words, IoE is the pathway to Gartner’s All Things Digital.  The overarching goal is business outcomes. One retail example is connecting a parking lot to a retail store. In a recent trial, we found that data from parking lot sensors, when analyzed correctly, can predict when checkouts will get busy, so that more cashiers can be deployed. There are many other dark assets in a retail environment that have the potential to increase revenue, lower costs, and grow margins once they are lit up.

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Learning from Others: Gartner Symposium ITxpo 2012

“One of the most valuable things any person can learn is the art of using the knowledge and experience of others”

– Napoleon Hill (1883-1970)

I learned to swim in a day. I remember I was standing by the side of the pool, watching the various ways people propelled themselves through the water. The butterfly stroke seemed too hard, but the Australian crawl seemed simple enough. Being very young at the time, my sense of adventure outweighed my sense of self-preservation, and I jumped in and began flailing away. To my great surprise, it worked. It’s a lesson I have carried forward in life: You can learn a lot by just watching what other people do.

With that in mind, I am very pleased to be hosting a panel at this year’s Gartner Symposium ITxpo 2012 on the topic of “A Mobility Strategy for Business Success”.  Joining me on the panel will be three IT leaders with three very different approaches to mobility. They are Barry Libenson, CIO at Land O’ Lakes Inc, Ron Gilson, CIO of Johnsonville Sausage, LLC and Bhavani Amirthalingam, Vice President of IT at World Wide Technology Inc.

Just from talking to them beforehand, I was struck by the diversity of business reasons that went into their individual mobility strategies. I’ll be asking them to share some of their decision-making process, best practices and lessons learned from their mobility roll-outs. We’ll also be exploring how they have provided superior customer, partner, and employee experiences without compromising the security or policy of their respective businesses.

If you will be attending the Gartner Symposium ITxpo 2012 in Orlando, I hope you can join us and add your own perspective to the discussion. The panel will be on Monday, October 22nd, from 3:30 – 4:30 PM in Swan 1-4. With the proven experience of these three IT leaders to draw upon, it should be an engaging and thought-provoking session.

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