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The Digital Renaissance Is Here. Is Your Company’s Culture Ready?

Sooner or later we all feel like throwing up our hands and cursing the complexity of modern life. But while technology may seem the chief culprit in making things unmanageable, it is also the ultimate solution to complexity.

In the Internet of Everything (IoE) era, it is particularly important for business leaders to understand the power of technology to simplify our lives and support JBradleySAPinformed decision making. And this was a core theme at Sapphire Now 2014, an event in Orlando, Fla., that I was privileged to attend last week.

By using network technology to integrate people, process, data, and things, IoE counters complexity in unprecedented ways. In a city, this can involve something as simple as cutting the time it takes to find a (connected) parking space. Or IoE technologies can scale up to reroute traffic lights; for example, to head-off highway backups before, during, and after a large event.

In a brick-and-mortar retail setting (a key area of discussion at Sapphire Now), IoE can alleviate the complexity of managing customers, staffing, and products. With data from multiple sources comes heightened, real-time awareness, empowering managers to react faster than ever. For example, they can then stock shelves and reorganize staff in response to constantly changing levels of demand. With predictive analytics they can even respond before a customer rush begins.

The idea of hyper-aware, real-time decision-making resonated during a Sapphire Now panel discussion titled Thrive in the Digital Networks of the New Economy. I was honored to share the panel with such luminaries as Erik Brynjolfsson of MIT; Michael Chui of McKinsey Global Institute; and Jai Shekhawat, Deepak Krishnamurthy, and Vivek Bapat of SAP. And there was much discussion on the impact of bad decisions on failed organizations. Which is why we all take such an interest in technology that enables good ones.

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Cisco Supply Chain Operations Places in Top 10 of Gartner Ranking

Congratulations to the Cisco Supply Chain Operations (CSCO) team. For seven consecutive years, Cisco has placed in the Top 10 of Gartner’s prestigious ranking!

Led by Cisco Senior VP John Kern, the supply chain operations team here at Cisco has undergone an extensive transformation and continues to be recognized globally as a best-in-class practitioner. With more than a thousand contract manufacturing and component suppliers, logistics (3PL) and other service partners, along with more than 25,000 orderable product IDs—which are broadly mixed amongst build cycles of engineer-to-order, configure-to-order, build-to-order and build-to-stock—the complexity and global scale of what our Cisco-resident supply chain gurus deal with on a daily basis could be staggering for some organizations but is managed with excellence by CSCO. Beyond the outstanding development and fulfillment supply chain and manufacturing management services rendered, CSCO has served as a tremendous expert asset and executive connection for our go-to-market expansion with manufacturing customers’ lines of business, particularly related to the Internet of Everything (IoE) market transition.

The splashy ad below illustrating a vision for the Internet of Things (IoT) has become much more of a reality and the technologies and products shown are in use within Cisco’s supply chain ecosystem today.

Recently, two Cisco colleagues — Edna Conway, VP CSCO and Chief Security Officer and Bob Dean, Director, Manufacturing and Energy Vertical, co-authored an excellent article for Manufacturing Leadership Journal entitled ‘The Fourth Dimension of Supply Chains’. The article highlights how new technologies are empowering supply chains as never before, and how they are also exposing enterprises and ecosystems to new risks.  Cisco’s comprehensive approach to mitigate risks and bolster confidence across the supply chain focuses on the four areas of malicious modification/substitution of technology, counterfeit products (both raw materials and finished goods), the security component of supply chain resiliency and misuse of intellectual property.

Discipline surrounding that fourth topic of securing intellectual property has become an even greater concern in the face of new business models and innovations with the application of IoE in manufacturing. Best-in-class manufacturers are, like Cisco, increasingly leveraging their supply chains and ecosystems to develop offering portfolios balanced between sustaining and disruptive innovations that are derived from scrutinized customer segmentation and guided by such principles as value-driven design discipline, cross-BU portfolio platform awareness and rationalization, differentiated solution-service bundling, and connected system-level lifecycle services (e.g., Product as a Service). All of these design and innovation processes require immersive and intimate collaboration with customers and across supply chains.

Cisco’s relevance to enable manufacturing supply chain and innovation strategies to achieve more transformative business outcomes has never been greater:

  • Virtualized and distributed compute with Application Centric Infrastructure (ACI) and Supply Chain Collaboration accelerating time-to-market with value-oriented product and service offering innovation;
  • IoE-enabled ‘3D Value Chains’ with ubiquitous visibility accelerating portfolio rationalization decisions, improving throughput and enabling more sustainable supply chains;
  • Business video with IoE-enabled connectivity accelerating lifecycle service offerings throughout the supply chain, like remote access, monitoring and diagnostics with mobile expert/advisor.

What are some of the challenges, innovations and opportunities in your global supply chain today?  Join the conversation below and let me know.  Thanks for reading.

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Cisco and Good World Solutions a “Hot Couple” in Sustainability

May 30, 2014 at 10:44 am PST

Today Sustainable Brands writer Dimitar Vlahov names Cisco and its nonprofit partner Good World Solutions as a Hot Couple in Sustainability for our work to develop and scale the Labor Link mobile platform that improves transparency in global supply chains.

Vlahov writes, “What if workers in a global brand’s supply chain could access a free and anonymous channel to report on working conditions, and the brand in question could get real-time data to identify and address problems quickly, before they become front-page news? Well, this is now a reality for adopters of solutions like Labor Link, and clients such as Cisco are already making good use of it.”

Read the full article at Sustainable Brands.

Read more about the relationship between Cisco and Good World Solutions.

Trainers at a garment factory in India show workers how to use mobile phones to take anonymous surveys. Photo: Arjun Kartha

A trainer at a garment factory in India shows workers how to use mobile phones to take anonymous Labor Link surveys. Photo: Arjun Kartha

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Building in Security from the Ground Up with The Cisco Secure Development Lifecycle

At Cisco, security runs through everything that we do. It is our commitment to deliver verifiable, trustworthy network architectures built on secure software and secure hardware, backed by prudent supply chain security practices.

That’s why Cisco created the Cisco Secure Development Lifecycle (Cisco SDL) to ensure that security is central through the entire product development process. CSDL is a repeatable and measurable process we’ve designed to fortify the resiliency and trustworthiness of our offerings, allowing our customers to deploy high-quality products that they can trust.

Cisco SDL utilizes many industry standards and best practices, including ISO certification as part of our development processes. ISO certification provides customers validation and confidence that our processes, such as common technology requirements, secure coding procedures, code reviews, testing, and verification are consistently executed within our product development.

In 2013, we made internal compliance with the Cisco SDL process a stop-ship-grade requirement for all new Cisco products and development projects. As we make our way through 2014, we are building on this commitment, holding our teams accountable and training stakeholders to understand the importance of Cisco SDL process, adoption, and compliance.

From our Integrated Service Routers (ISRs) to our Aggregation Services Routers (ASRs), more products are being introduced across the Cisco portfolio that are Cisco SDL compliant. We look forward to keeping you up to date on progress with the CSDL initiative over the coming months.

Check out the video below where I explain Cisco SDL in more detail:

Learn more about Cisco SDL here: http://www.cisco.com/web/about/security/cspo/csdl/index.html

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More Reactions to IDC’s 2014 Manufacturing Predictions- Supply Chains and B2B Commerce

Recently I wrote about a few real life examples of IDC Manufacturing Insights 2014 Predictions: Worldwide Manufacturing and their Top 10 predictions. I wanted to continue with some more examples to illustrate what is happening now and hopefully help you see some real life examples that are already taking place.

To follow up with IDC’s Prediction #4

Supply chain technology investment will involve modernizing existing systems while also trying new approaches, many systems already exist, but the issue is that they are in a ‘silo’ versus the other systems and it is difficult to talk across the systems.   If you have multiple vendors on multiple platforms, it is difficult to get to the information but then also make sense of this information.  In fact, most of our customers use different systems within their environment so even within a first level silo (company A) it is difficult to start to see what information exists let alone start to analyze this information.  When you start to get to a second level silo (company A to company B information flows) you are now looking at silos within silos trying to talk with other silos.

I do not see these systems being ‘ripped and replaced’ but augmented with a layer above them to then start to build visibility and correlation across the systems which can then be tracked across companies to add visibility.  We have been working with one of our business partners, HCL, to build a cloud offering where we are able to quickly install a platform, extract data from your existing systems and start to add value to you multiple locations operations and diverse portfolio.

The fifth IDC prediction was around the modernization of the B2B Commerce Backbone.  I have seen this happening with many of our customers and business partners where they are using the information they have already on hand and start to use it in new ways.  Look at this article on Amazon and anticipatory shopping.  By taking the data that they have and mining this information is going to change how and what we order.

We are seeing this same use of analytics from the manufacturing market, not to predict what you are going to order, but when something may fail.  Taking the data and tracking the sensor information, now much easier to access and track with new products and offerings, and driving this into an analytics engine.  Using  analytics, the ‘normal ranges’ are known and can be applied  when the sensors are seeing any abnormalities occur.  This helps to then understand what is happening and where it is happening and then start to understand where items may fail.

A few of our customers are taking this information from their customers and aggregating all of this information from different locations, adding sensors from the environment and then taking this information to drive the predictions back to their customers.  Interestingly, some of our customers and partners see this as a service offering to allow better information and comparisons to stop failures and drive towards the 99.999% uptime that every company would like to have.

How are you wrestling with modernizing or revamping your supply chain? Are you adopting analytics in your sales or manufacturing processes?  Let us know.  Thanks for reading!

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