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Reflections on Mobile World Congress 2015: Transformation Through Innovation

As I reflected on a very memorable Mobile World Congress 2015 during the plane ride home from Barcelona a few days ago, it became clear that the transformation Cisco has been seeing in the telecommunications service provider industry is now a global movement.

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It’s not just happening in Europe, or Latin America, or Asia. It’s quite literally everywhere.

“Transformation through Innovation” was Cisco’s theme for this year’s Mobile World Congress, and at heart of our service provider strategy. It’s quite clear we’re onto something.

In countless conversations last week with leaders of forward-thinking global service providers in Barcelona, I heard two familiar themes over and over again –“Transformation and Innovation.” They’re all seeking to transform their architectures and businesses – and ultimately their customers’ experiences – to capture new opportunities in the Internet of Everything (IoE) era. In fact, the IoE – the networked connection of people, processes, data and things – is expected to create a $1.7 trillion market opportunity for service providers over the next decade.

With large networks that deliver mobile, video, collaboration, and other offerings to individual subscribers and businesses of all sizes, service providers are in an enviable position, sitting at the center of the IoE. They alone have the unique opportunity to take advantage of all kinds of new IoE connection types, and integrating them to deliver rich new applications, services and experiences.

What a truly exciting time to be in this industry!

That said, existing operational complexity can stifle service providers’ abilities to reduce costs and become more agile in bringing new capabilities to market. The reality is, today most new applications and services take months to roll out. If this pace does not rapidly accelerate, the entire industry will be left behind.

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Our Ecosystem Begins Here @Ciscocloud

As Cisco prepares for Cisco Live Melbourne #clmel, I wanted to take this opportunity to highlight our @Ciscocloud Intercloud partnership with Telstra

The following Q&A session between executives of our partnered companies identifies the unique challenges of our current business environment and the rapidly changing needs of our customers. Interviewed by Stuart Robbins, the participants in our inaugural blog are Ken Owens, Cloud Services CTO from Cisco, and Tim Otten, GM Cloud Strategy and Platforms from Telstra.

Q: Cisco’s strategy is to create solutions built upon intelligent networks that solve our customers’ challenges. As a key technology partner, Telstra’s diverse customers present unique opportunities for a new generation of solutions for those customers – can you tell us about how our combined capabilities will help those customers be successful?

[Otton, Tim J] Networks are increasingly important to the delivery of services as we shift to “the Cloud,” and the concurrent profusion of data, workforce mobility, distributed application environments, and the hybrid infrastructures supporting those applications. Both Cisco and Telstra are committed to delivering highly secure, high-performance intelligent network capabilities.

These networks must be thoroughly responsive to an ever-changing set of user and application requirements – adaptive, flexible, and resilient. Both companies have a rich tradition of global insight gained from a relentless focus on customer requirements.

[Owens, Ken] Telstra is one of the industry’s most advanced solution providers, with a noteworthy history of successful technology transformations in telecommunications. From the earliest days of IT outsourcing, and managed hosting, and now as we shift to the Cloud, Telstra has provided true leadership to the industry during these transformations.

Like Cisco, they view their customers’ strategic objectives as Priority 1 and will do whatever is necessary to make their customers successful. For more than 25 years, Cisco and Telstra have guided the market through each new technological shift, with exceptional people leading the way.

Q: One aspect of the changing enterprise landscape is the “blurred” boundaries between large enterprises in business ecosystems. While the basic principles remain important (resilient architectures, reliable networks, responsive applications), what are some of the emerging challenges in this “ecosystem first” world?


[Otton, Tim J] The business landscape has changed. Cloud, Mobility, Social Media, advanced analytics, and open platforms are also changing the landscape for service creation and innovation. Increasingly, service creation will emerge both within and beyond (intra- and inter-organizational) boundaries to better serve a growing number of mobile users and a project-oriented workforce.

In order to support connectivity as well as enable full integration with many external partners and providers, businesses are now required to ‘open’ their IT environment. Increasingly, organizations are choosing to expose their own systems and proprietary data to third-parties, creating “greater value” by encouraging innovative use of a company’s intellectual assets. Software applications are distributed, both geographically and architecturally. All of these factors alter the connectivity/security paradigms of traditional enterprise IT.

[Owens, Ken] Tim is right on, and the exciting element of this model is that it’s driven by the customer! This is not a consumer fad or one-time remodel, this is the pace and speed by which business must adopting to the requirements of their customers and the rapidly changing marketplace. A successful business today requires a flexible set of services and capabilities to quickly adapt to this changing landscape. Together, Cisco and Telstra have a proven track record of enabling innovation to address the changing needs of the businesses we support.

Q: Providing exceptional products and services to Enterprise IT is familiar territory to both Cisco and Telstra, and this common ground is one reason why the Cisco-Telstra partnership makes great sense. As we move beyond IT, we’re also being asked to directly address the needs of business departments (marketing, product management, customer support). How do we adapt to meet those needs?


[Otton, Tim J] We need to develop a deeper understanding of the different “lines of business” within the Enterprise. We need to better understand what drives their business and the market environments in which they operate. In other words, we need to become an enabler of business solutions rather than simply selling more technology. Our focus needs to be increasingly on the business outcomes we can deliver to our customers.
We need equip our sales teams to communicate those solutions, to be able to engage customers in conversations that start with business issues and proceed from there to provision enabling technologies rather than starting (and often finishing with) technology alone.
At the same time, we need to better support IT departments so that these services can be integrated into the overall Enterprise network architecture- – -ensuring that these distributed services are secure, and optimized to perform reliably. Telstra and Cisco need to be seen as enabling partners, and not just suppliers.

[Owens, Ken] The needs of the business can be vast, complicated, and rapidly evolving to meet the needs of a changing marketplace. Cisco and Telstra are leaders in business transformation. The key to success in this ever-changing environment is to provide leadership with speed, agility, innovative leadership to assist each customer’s ability to adapt to the changes. Of course, Tim’s right, we also need to help IT executives quickly transition not only their technology, but also their processes and practices.

Q: The recipe seems simple enough = one part: exceptional technology with the associated expertise, and one part: an evolved partnership methodology (i.e., Partnership 2.0) that will serve as the foundation for what our companies can accomplish together.

One last question. Imagine what success looks like for the joint Cisco-Telstra effort in two years: what are the core behaviors/values that we’ll be most proud to have embraced, when we glance back? In other words, what are the central organizational principles that will serve to anchor this new style of ecosystem development?


[Otton, Tim J] My vision for the partnership is that we have developed an advanced understanding of the requirements of stakeholders – whether it be IT, LOB, or end-users – within the customers we served and are singularly focused on the business outcomes that we can jointly deliver for our customers.

[Owens, Ken] The demands of Enterprise 2.0 require an infrastructure that is both elastic and reliable, flexible yet secure. Organizations, too, will require those very characteristics. To accomplish this,“Governance 2.0” and “Partnership 2.0” become framework components of that new ecosystem in service of our customer’s transformed world. As Tim stated, the business outcomes and continuously delivering business value are the key principles.

Thank you Tim for you time to discuss the joint journey we are embarking on.

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Telstra Building the Foundation for Premium Cloud Services

Internet traffic in Australia is set to grow 3-fold from 2013 to 2017 according to the latest data from Cisco’s Visual Networking Index (VNI). However, if we “look behind the curtain” there is more to this story beyond just greater bandwidth demand as both consumers and enterprises are increasingly adopting cloud-based services. This move to the cloud provides a new opportunity for traditional service providers since they can uniquely combine network infrastructure and data center capacity to deliver premium cloud services with an SLA guarantee. Australia’s leading telecommunications and information services company, Telstra, has established itself as a trusted provider of cloud services, such as collaboration and management applications, to customers. They’re achieving this with a new architectural approach that enables a next generation Internet experience combining networks, data centers and applications together while ensuring resiliency, low-latency performance, and programmability.

Telstra recently announced Read More »

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Cisco is Moving Fast with our Partners to deliver on the Promise of an Intercloud

It’s hard to believe it was only eight weeks ago that I announced Cisco’s $1B investment in a bold Intercloud strategy to 10,000 partners and colleagues in Las Vegas..

Today, Cisco announced additional Intercloud partners and offerings, and on the main stage at our 25th anniversary Cisco Live! event in San Francisco this morning, I’ll demonstrate how fast we’ve been able to move by driving a partner-centric Cloud strategy.

FYI: You can watch my keynote on the Cisco Live web site.

Our customers have been asking Cisco to expand beyond our hosted collaboration and SaaS offerings (such as WebEx, Meraki and Cisco Cloud Web Security) with a richer set of cloud services. Today, in San Francisco, we are announcing a substantial expansion of those services with new infrastructure-as-a-service offerings and cloud disaster recovery applications that leverage the cloud platforms of new Intercloud partners Dimension Data and Sungard Availability Services. They join Telstra as our first Intercloud partners.

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Cloud Services to Move the Internet of Everything (IoE) – and the SP Business – Forward, Faster

Throughout my recent meetings with Service Provider customers at Cisco Live Milan and Mobile World Congress in Barcelona, there were two recurring themes throughout my meetings (and there were a lot of them as my peers and I hosted nearly 1000 of them in the four days of MWC alone).

The first was the power and promise of the cloud.  Whether carriers were leveraging Cisco’s advanced capabilities in the areas of Network Function Virtualization (NfV) or various virtualization, orchestration and automation capabilities – all with the goal of increasing revenue, reducing Opex and enhancing agility – each Service Provider was keenly interested in the impact Clouds can and will have on their businesses.  That’s why the Evolved Services Platform announcement we made resonated so well.

The second was the heightened level of discussion around the dramatic changes Service Providers are seeing in the way people, process, data and things are being connected – essentially the Internet of Everything (IoE) – and thus driving the need to leverage advanced capabilities.  While Cisco has spoken about this for the past year, the idea of the IoE is now being recognized as moving beyond vision to actual opportunity for providers who sit at the center of it all.  The recurring questions they had was around how to seize that opportunity and what was best path forward for their business to create value and differentiation amidst so much and so fast the speed of change.

This is where the two themes come together.  This is where Cisco Cloud Services come into play.

At the Cisco Partner Summit today, we are announcing our Cisco Cloud Services.  Designed as a suite of Cisco application- and network-centric cloud services on a truly open and global public cloud infrastructure comprised of many different clouds tied together, or Intercloud if you will, it provides cloud capabilities for any of our global service providers and partners to leverage quickly.  Cisco Cloud Services combine the flexibility, efficiency and scalability of a public cloud, with the security and control of a private cloud, with the scale and reach that only Cisco and its partners can enable.

It also Read More »

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