Cisco Blogs


Cisco Blog > Data Center and Cloud

Unleash the Promise of Cloud: A Strategic Perspective – The Landscape

If you are reading this blog hoping to get a universal recipe for your cloud strategy, I believe you will be disappointed. But then, you already know…. there are no ‘universal’ cloud strategies. You have to formulate a cloud strategy that best fits your business objectives and IT priorities (among a number of other factors.)  Our Cisco services team for Cloud Strategy, Management and Operations has various tools including our Cisco DomainTen™ framework that will help you formulate the right cloud strategy for your organization. Parag’s blog is a great source of information in this regard.

This blog series instead will offer a set of perspectives on how I view the evolution of the World of Many Clouds ™ and what steps we are taking to align our cloud strategy to capitalize on it. This first blog will put our strategy in ‘context’ outlining our point of view in light of some important market dynamics.

The primary market research study that we conducted in collaboration with INTEL, along with additional secondary market research studies, clearly indicate that Line of Business (LoB) leaders have been playing a more important role in driving requirements for IT solutions and services. The reasons behind this trend are many, including and not limited to increasing market and competitive pressures, an uncertain business climate, variability of macroeconomic factors and a relentless need to innovate at a faster pace to stay ahead of the competition.  What’s more, LOBs now have greater ability to access IT solutions – such as Software as a Service -- outside the traditional enterprise IT value chain, creating “shadow IT” initiatives. In response, IT organizations are looking for new ways to retain their leadership, control, and at times, even relevancy. Furthermore, IT organizations are now expected to support strategic business objectives and enable business growth while also harnessing new technology trends, leading to innovation and new customer experiences. To remain relevant to the business, IT must become a “change agent” and be perceived as a true strategic enabler. The question is how?

We envision IT organizations transitioning to new roles as trusted ‘brokers of IT services’. This model enables IT to add value to one or more public or private cloud services on behalf of its users. IT does this by dynamically bringing together, integrating, and tailoring the delivery of cloud services to best meet the needs of the business.

In a wide-ranging study, Cisco, in partnership with Intel®, sought to pinpoint just how these powerful trends are impacting IT. The “Impact of Cloud on IT Consumption Models” study surveyed 4,226 IT leaders in 18 industries across nine key economies, developed as well as emerging: Brazil, Canada, China, Germany, India, Mexico, Russia, United Kingdom, and the United States. The study supports our point of view. Up to 76% of the survey respondents signaled that IT will act as a “broker” of cloud services across internal and external clouds for LoBs.

In other words, when formulating their sourcing strategies, IT organizations repeatedly face service-by-service, “build-versus-buy” decisions. Therefore, IT needs a plan and a set of governance criteria that support the consistent evaluation of their IT services sourcing options (e.g., time to market, value, sustainable differentiation that the service can provide, SLAs, cost, risk profile and the experience the IT department intrinsically has with that particular service etc..)

This “IT services sourcing flexibility” enables greater levels of business agility, transparency, and speed of deployment to help LoB leaders unlock innovation and achieve core business objectives.

However, let’s step back and see how this is all fitting together. If we rewind, we introduced the concept of the World of Many Clouds ™ a couple of years ago. You can view the evolution of this world as the outcome of the intersection and progressive integration between traditional IT environments and IT services offered by public cloud providers. The roads (in our metaphor) are converging. Lines are blurring. In theory, nothing is preventing a company that consumes IT services from becoming a cloud provider itself (public or private.)

I also believe that the debate regarding private versus public cloud is over. It is about having both at the same time. And to be able to bridge and take advantage of both; hybrid cloud is the new ‘normal.’

In turn, the ability to combine and dynamically aggregate cloud services from private and public clouds can truly occur if IT organizations can rely on an open and secure hybrid cloud environment. And for that to take place you should have the ability to move your cloud workloads (and more broadly your IT services) around. Both data and applications.

You can easily envision a scenario in which a workload -- based on a set of specifications -- ‘automatically discovers’ the best infrastructure to run on.  An exchange could facilitate the allocation process. An XML based standard could emerge along with a set of processes used by exchanges to match demand and supply of IT services based on SLAs, costs, data locality requirements etc… On the supply side you can also envision a scenario in which federation or capacity aggregation among suppliers of cloud services would enable increased economies of scale, consistency and a broader set of choices.

Ok … coming back to earth … our Cloud strategy intends to capitalize on some of these market dynamics and enable IT to retain control, relevance and increase its strategic profile by leveraging the evolution of the World of Many Clouds. In my next blog I will provide an overview of the actual strategy and begin focusing on it in more detail. But first I wanted to share the context.

And as always, to learn more you can begin here.

Tags: , , , , , , , ,

What’s New in Cisco Domain Ten Framework 2.0

 Earlier this week, we announced the Cisco Domain Ten framework 2.0, enhanced by great input from customers, partners, and Cisco’s well-earned experience of strategizing and executing IT transformation.

The enhanced Cisco Domain Ten framework helps customers drive better strategic decisions, providing greater focus on business outcomes, providing deeper analysis of hybrid cloud implications, and extending the framework beyond data center and cloud to include all IT transformation initiatives.

You may have read Stephen Speirs earlier blogs about Cisco Domain Ten for cloud transformation. Today, let’s look at key changes in the Cisco Domain Ten framework 2.0 from the original version. These changes have been adopted to enhance discussions on three themes:

  1. Highlight importance of public clouds as part of IT transformation and solutions using IaaS, PaaS, and SaaS within the data center and across the entire business.
  2. Addition of “Organization” in Domain 10 to bring together the business and technology focus for strategy discussions.
  3. Name changes for some domains to facilitate ease of alignment and discussion on overall IT transformation across multiple architectures and technology solutions such as ITaaS, collaboration, mobility, video, etc. for both enterprise and provider perspectives.

Read More »

Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , ,

A Chapter from My Unwritten Book: Social Media Planning (Part 2)

September 24, 2013 at 10:01 am PST

Last week, I shared basic enablement, intelligence, engagement and measurement practices. This week’s presentation focuses on some advanced practices in the areas of intelligence, engagement, advocacy and measurement. By no means is this list complete so please feel free to add your two cents in the Comment box below. The more we share, the more we can influence how companies and even industries are viewing and adopting social media. Collectively, we can shape its evolution. So please, share away!

And without further ado, here’s another chapter from my unwritten book in slide deck format:   Read More »

Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , , , ,

A Chapter from My Unwritten Book: Social Media Planning (Part 1)

September 18, 2013 at 1:26 pm PST

For quite some time now, I’ve been thinking about writing a book. A book about social media. A book about what I’ve seen and learned. A book about things I would like to see. A book about strategy -- I love strategy. I’ve started writing it several times. But every time I sit down at my keyboard, doubts take over. “Why do I want to write a book? Why shouldn’t I just blog about it?” Oh, that four-letter word always wins out and the bolded text (“Chapter 1”) on my screen quickly becomes a blog title. So while I continue to contemplate whether or not to embark on this journey, I would like to leave you with a few pages from my unwritten book….in slide deck format. I had the pleasure of presenting yesterday on social media planning. The first presentation covered basic enablement, listening and intelligence, engagement and measurement. The second presentation highlighted advanced listening and intelligence, engagement, advocacy and measurement practices. Today, I’m sharing the first chapter. Hope you find it useful.

Read More »

Tags: , , ,

Continuing Our Midmarket Momentum With Partners

Cisco Partner Summit 2013 was an amazing event this year, and as you saw throughout the week, we had lots to tell you about the huge opportunity for partners focused on the midmarket.  Partner participation was excellent both live in Boston and at Virtual Partner Summit. Together with Cisco regional leaders, we engaged with more than 1,100 partners during our VPS Dialog Sessions.

Some of the topics covered during our VPS Dialogs: Grow your Business with Cisco sessions included:

  • Midmarket opportunity: 1.4 million midsize customers, $25 billion in potential product revenue and $30 billion in potential services revenue and how Cisco is helping all of our certified partners capture this  opportunity.
  • Enhanced Training:  New SMB Specialization, SMB University and an updated Smart Business Roadmap
  • New Mobile App: Cisco Engage Mobile App designed especially for Select Partners
  • Business Focused Event Series: An opportunity for hands-on product demos and networking with peers
  • Customer Case Studies: Developed by Cisco to promote our partners successes
  • Meraki Acquisition: New cloud offering available for partners

Participating partners responded very positively to polling questions during the sessions. According to the feedback we received: Read More »

Tags: , , ,