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The Cisco – SP Partnership: How Proactive Planning Drives Service Quality

By Carlos Cordero, Director, Service Provider Internet Business Solutions Group

In my previous blog I explained the importance of collaborative testing between telecommunications service providers (SPs) and their network vendors in order to achieve higher service quality levels. I’d like to start where I left off and move on to exploring how this type of collaboration can extend into the planning process.

SPs with the highest service quality tend to have a strong planning capability within both their Network Engineering and Operations organizations, which is directly coordinated with their vendors. Leading SPs establish a joint Program Management Office (PMO) with their network equipment vendor, whose scope of responsibility includes early bug identification, bug remediation, and new feature deployment. This includes structured, joint planning meetings and performance reviews which are attended by VP-level engineering and operations executives, as well as senior members of the vendor’s account team, services organization, and the development organization.

The joint SP-vendor PMO performs several critical activities.  First, it drives requirements gathering with senior network designers, and then works with them until actual code is released.  The PMO also develops network architectures with the vendor and the SP’s engineers using “Plan-of-Record” (POR) documentation.  Next, the PMO jointly prioritizes feature functionality with the vendor, keeping track of critical features needed by specified timeframes.  It works closely with the vendor’s development organization to understand any design limitations, testing issues, and special conditions.  In addition to performing classic management functions, the PMO makes use of “Bug Workbooks” to track all major, critical, and minor bugs and trends.

For example, Read More »

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The Cisco – SP Partnership: Best Practices for Lifting Service Quality

By Carlos Cordero, Director, Service Provider Internet Business Solutions Group

Service providers (SPs) often face a number of service quality challenges. These challenges, more often than not, result from hardware failures, software bugs, network outages, packet loss, and capacity issues. The majority of these challenges may not be new, and may have already been resolved by SPs’ technology partners, or by other operators. Indeed, SPs could capture significant operational benefits simply by adopting well-established best practices.

However, adopting these best practices requires a proactive and open relationship between SPs and their technology partners. Without open cooperation, adopting these best practices and continuous improvement will always prove to be a challenge.

To explore the relationship between an SP’s culture and the adoption of best practices, I will be writing a series of articles on the SP360 blog covering operational and engineering best practices, challenges, and benchmarks observed in the course of working with major service providers worldwide.  The specific topics I will cover include: operational practices such as testing, certification, engineering rules, go-live, and incident management; as well as organizational capabilities (planning, program management, culture, management practices, IP skillsets, and staffing levels).

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Can an Alliance make Desktop Virtualization Easier? Gary says yes!

Today, Cisco announced a strategic alliance with Citrix focused on helping customers simplify and accelerate large-scale desktop virtualization deployments—which means the companies will work across a broad range of technology areas, including datacenter, networking, devices, multimedia to deliver more integrated desktop virtualizations solutions.

Sounds nice, but I wanted to know than just vision, so I met with Gary Borad, Cisco’s the partner manager supporting the Citrix relationship to hear how Cisco and Citrix actually hope to deliver on this vision.  Here is what he said…
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Cisco and Xerox: Like Lewis and Clark, Only More Now.

Tackling tough problems has always led to great things when strong partners come together. Look at Lewis and Clark, who on May 14, 1804, set off to fulfill a mission assigned to them by President Thomas Jefferson: to identify “a direct and practicable water communication across this continent, for the purposes of commerce.” Not too unlike what we’re trying to do today online. Except now the voyage is to the cloud. To do so successfully, would naturally take a partnership with rich histories of innovation. For Xerox, that includes conceiving of and coining the term ‘ethernet’ back in 1973, creating the first PC with a graphical user interface/WYSIWYG, and creating a multicast backbone to deliver real-time Internet-based multimedia. For Cisco, it’s a history that is rooted in connecting detached networks, pioneering Internet infrastructure, and inventing the first multiprotocol router.  That’s why I’m excited to announce our strategic alliance with Xerox. Our goal: to deliver solutions that take full advantage of the intelligence of the network to simplify IT management by delivering cloud-based services, and technology solutions that combine network and print.

What’s in store? Three joint solutions will help customers and partners use existing IT investments to improve business performance and reduce costs.

1. Xerox Managed Print Services over Cisco Borderless Networks: Consolidates IT and print management with the network’s embedded security, WAN optimization, and print-aware intelligence.  This lets you monitor print technology and operating costs, protect confidential data from any location, and improve employee productivity by supporting mobile and cloud printing.

2. Xerox Cloud IT Outsourcing Services via Cisco UCS and Vblock infrastructure: Speeds the rollout of new IT services. As a result, you’re able to adapt to changing needs and reduce IT costs through a private cloud, the public cloud or a hybrid cloud environment.

3. Xerox Mobile Print Solution on virtual desktops and Cisco Cius: Lets mobile workers securely print business documents from any email-enabled device to any enabled printer, using Cisco Borderless Networks and Wireless LAN solutions. So, you can access and print seamlessly, reliably and securely from any location.

All of these capabilities point to exactly what we at Cisco covered in a webcast on April 27: a ‘good enough’ network isn’t. If you’re serious about breaking new ground and reaching new horizons, you need the right gear, protection, and vision. Just like Lewis and Clark.

To learn more about our partnership with Xerox, Borderless Networks and what we’re announcing at Interop, click here.

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