Over the years Cisco IT has built many tools to manage support. We had one tool to track subscriptions, another to keep tabs on service contracts, and yet another to view asset lifecycle information. The problem? We spent too much time correlating information scattered across the different interfaces. When we received a security alert on one interface, for instance, we had to go into another interface to identify the affected assets.
Supporting the Cisco network is much more efficient now that we use Cisco CX Cloud. Think of CX Cloud as a one-stop destination for all information we need (Figure 1). No more searching across disparate, unconnected tools. Everything is in one place. CX Cloud is saving us time. Revealing issues we didn’t know about. Helping us more quickly respond to vulnerability alerts to keep the network secure. And giving us new insights into network health.
I asked Chris Groves, Cisco IT director of network services, how CX Cloud makes his job simpler. Here are his top four:
- Monitoring case status (Figure 2). “At the top of my list is how easy it is to see open cases,” Chris told me. “In two clicks I can see every TAC case, who opened it, and whether it’s for firewall, remote access, data center, Cisco Virtual Office, etc. Never underestimate the power of the mundane.”
- Time savings. Before, when we received an advisory about a potential security vulnerability we’d start by identifying all assets at risk. That alone took several hours. Next, we’d figure out the right mitigation steps and plot out our strategy. After that we’d track progress. Along the way we’d use several tools. With CX Cloud, we can easily see all affected assets in one place, along with suggestions for mitigation (Figure 3). If an incident affects 500 assets, just being able to see all of them in one place saves us about 15 hours of work.
- Faster response to vulnerabilities. Chris likes the convenience of seeing all advisories right on the dashboard—sorted by criticality. For example, field notices about less-important issues, like a button prone to sticking, are listed separately. “We can’t patch everything at once, so we check the CX Cloud dashboard to see which advisories have the biggest impact in our network,” he said.
- New insights. If Chris sees that a large portion of cases involve the same product or place in the network, he checks if the support team needs help. He might even suggest a product change to the business unit. He can also spot chronic issues and monitor the results of support initiatives.
As Customer Zero, we influenced the product
Cisco IT was Customer Zero for CX Cloud, meaning that we were the first to use it in production so we could provide input on features and share our experiences with other customers. With our feedback, initial setup time dropped from 6 hours to 30 minutes. We also suggested features on the product roadmap, like the ability to tag advisories with recommended actions and to filter cases by team or product group.
Though we’ve just started using CX Cloud, we’re already seeing the business value. Consolidating support information in one place helps us more efficiently manage our network, keeping it secure and available. As Chris summed it up, “CX Cloud is like having high-touch support right at your fingertips.”
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