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Are traditional software architectures hindering your digital transformation?

- April 5, 2016 - 8 Comments

Evolve your software architectures for a hyper-connected world.

The next big phase of the Internet is the move to connect previously unconnected people, processes, data and things – potentially millions of them – in new and more productive ways.  Advancements in cloud computing, distributed analytics, machine learning, robotics, the Internet of Things (IoT) and the emerging API economy are setting the stage for entirely new data-driven business models.  For example:

  • Redefine the customer experience. For example, retailers can deliver truly personalized offers to any touch point based on your web browsing, past transactions, location awareness, in-store shopping patterns and more.  Then swipe to pay without having to stop at a register.
  • Redefine industrial processes. With data from embedded sensors, actuators and digital identification tags, manufacturers can maintain full visibility into the location and condition of equipment, inventory, vehicles, energy and other assets.
  • Redefine health care. Imagine your doctor having access to data aggregated from medical tests, procedures done at any care facility, from wearable monitoring devices and global specialists to pinpoint a diagnosis and care plan for your specific genetic profile.

Sense a common theme?  It’s about gaining big-picture perspective with real immediacy.  Business insight is derived from what we learn right now – in real time as customers interact with us, as internal and third-party systems stream the latest data, and as the business environment changes around us.  Digital business requires real-time optimization across a value chain to instantly respond to “always on” customer and business partners.

Digital business calls for hyper-distributed computing, where the heart of the network can be everywhere and at the edges and where  the network and application planes blur.

Hyper-distributed computing (distributed computing on steroids) shifts the focus from the data center and out into a network of data sources across the wider business ecosystem – connections with suppliers, business partners, third-party data providers, customers and more.  It is a pervasive computing model that can sense what is happening across the network and orchestrates timely and informed action.  It is a business model where apps or algorithms do more than just provide an interface; they deliver highly personalized, context-aware and timely experiences.

This digital transformation calls for new ways of thinking about application and service software architectures.  The traditional approach of moving data to a centralized data store for analysis and processing doesn’t work in today’s IoT world.  Data is too widely dispersed, has too short a shelf life, and there is just too much of it to move fast enough.

In the  research, “The 12 Principles of Application Architecture for Digital Business and IoT,” Gartner sets forth guidelines for successfully transitioning to the hyper-distributed computing model.  Of the 12 principles, seven address design considerations pertaining to service-oriented architecture (SOA), virtualized applications, access and security, modularity and event processing. I believe those seven design considerations align neatly with Cisco’s approach to the challenges of the hyper-connected, Internet of Things (IoT) world.

Our software platform supports the seemingly contradictory requirements of hyper-distributed computing.

In an IoT world, you need to:  (A) Capture more data than ever from more devices at the edge of the network, and (B) Make sense of it all and act on it without backhauling it to a data lake or analytics hub.

PlatformArchitectureDiagram_final_graphics_draft_5 - Copy

 

Cisco’s architectural approach:

  • Moves analytics out to where the data is – at the edge of the network – to create rapid insights.
  • Orchestrates complex many-to-many relationships among transient users, processes, devices and a hybrid cloud.
  • Maintains control over IT processes despite growing reliance on external services you don’t control.
  • Transcends traditional boundaries among the organization, third-parties and end users.
  • Supports rapid development and deployment of these new capabilities.

Gartner AIP thumbIf you are responsible for the software foundation of your organization’s digital transformation, you’ll want to read our latest publication on the subject, A New Software Architecture for a Hyper-Connected World Rethinking application and service design.”

This publication presents Cisco’s response to the seven Gartner design guidelines, with a particular focus on the App Services subsystem, where data and analytic insights become action.  You’ll also see some practical examples of hyper-distributed computing in action across industries.

Download this complimentary Cisco publication featuring Gartner research.

For more information about the Cisco Automation and Integration platform:  www.cisco.com/go/aip

For more about the broader portfolio: Analytics and Automation Software, visit:  www.cisco.com/go/analytics-automation-software

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8 Comments

  1. Kerrie Great piece -- fun to be at the "small company" -- BTW we have had some discussions with Rowan -- additionally, one of our leads on the CTO team is formerly with Cisco where he implemented our platform as the identity solution for multiple projects at Cisco .. you guys are big users of our technology! I would really like to connect with you at some point -- to catch up as well as share some of our work around IoT with Smart Cities and some of our key IoT clients. Natural fit between your points here and our solution offerings. Thanks again for your guidance last year - definitely the right move.

    • Hi Scott, thanks for the feedback and I will connect with you this week.

    Great article; new ways, fast and efficient

      Thanks Nadine!

  2. Great insight in this article. Thanks Kerrie!

      Thanks Ali!

  3. Hello Kerrie, I trust this feedback will find you well. IT worth highlighting that the approach that you had outlined will require re-factoring of key data center and infrastructure capabilities. The reality is that many large enterprises that are looking to embarce your vision are burden by the legacy data center and out of date infrasturcutre capabilities that must be refactored and evolved in order to support the system of enagement that you so eloquantely described. I hope to be able and get in touch with you to discuss particular client use cases where we can partner. Thank you , Boris.

      Hi Boris and thank you for the comment. I agree that many companies find themselves in a "brown field" environment versus "green field." Both infrastructures and applications often constrain business model changes or disallow organizations to pivot to new business opportunities as quickly as that may prefer. I would love to discuss use cases and partnering opportunities and will connect with you via LinkedIn for a one-on-one discussion.

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