There are 2 questions I am asked from time to time: The first is related to my job – “OK I understand what’s involved in product development, but why do ‘service development’? Don’t you just have really smart people turn up and do their [professional services] ‘stuff’?” The second is, quite simply, “Why Cisco for professional services?”
The answer to the first question is that we invest up front to help the organization scale and deliver faster, with greater customer value. And answer to the second question is similar – we invest more up front in planning to ensure rapid execution and delivery of higher business value for our customers. To illustrate, I’ll use the following video. (It’s worth watching!)
This video shows how a railway tunnel was “inserted” underneath a major road highway (the A12 highway towards Arnhem in the Netherlands) over a 3 day weekend (yes 3 days – not a typo!), by Dutch construction company Heijmans. The busy national road was shut over the weekend but was back up and running by the Monday morning. Now, if you’re experience of roadwords is anything like mine, you would probably expect this to be a 6 month project – yet this amazing Dutch company completed the task in 3 days! You can read more here on this amazing feat of engineering.
Let’s now discuss the connection between the approach used to build this tunnel and Cisco Services.
This video illustrates very clearly the benefit of up-front planning; of coordinated, disciplined resourcing; with trained staff and experts available at the right time and the right place; consistently. It even shows the use of pre-built components (the tunnel itself was built in advanced and literally “slotted” into place). While the “service delivery” of tunnel building took 3 days, you can bet your bottom dollar that the planning phase took way longer. Even as a Scotsman who doesn’t bet, I will bet that in this case more many days were invested in planning than execution.
This reflects very much the philosophy we have in the development and delivery of Cisco professional services by our Advanced Services organization. And the essence of carefully planned and rapidly executed service delivery is captured in our portfolio framework, shown below.
This diagram captures our recently revised Cisco Advanced Services Capabilities Framework – covering Advise, Implement, and Optimize (we’ve simplified significantly since our prior “PPDIOO” methodology a few years back). Within the “Advise” services, we deliver expert guidance on technology to drive business outcomes. Core to our “Implement” services is effective integration of solutions. We don’t forget about post-deployment challenges. Cisco Optimization Services are available as an ongoing subscription offer to deliver proactive innovation and efficiency, ensuring you have “resource on tap” as you evolve and further improve your deployed solution.
In the Dutch railway tunnel project above, it’s the up-front “Advise” stage that you don’t see much of in the video above that has clearly resulted in fabulous execution success. The project team clearly invested in strategy development, and crafted a rigorous and disciplined approach to how the project would work. They assessed the current road, everything from when the quieter period of road usage would be to minimize commuter downtime to investigating the materials underneath the road. Design was equally meticulous – from clear “migration” design, with carefully aligned resource plans, to pre-built components, especially the pre-fabricated tunnel enclosure. Substantial investment was made in this “Advise” stage of the transformation. There is no question in my mind that this up-front investment – which I’ll bet seemed like a slow process to start with – was what ultimately led to project success and rapid outcome delivery. In the words of one of my colleagues, they had to “Go Slow to Go Fast”.
This is why we invest so much in up-front development of Cisco professional services. Before our consultants arrive at the kick off meeting with your team, we’ve invested in methodologies, document templates and checklists to reduce the risk of any key previous lesson being forgotten, automation tools and in cases pre-built components and designs – and of course, not forgetting continued training and development of our consulting experts.
When you engage Cisco Services then to help your technology projects, then, you can be confident that you are gaining much more than the investment we make on-site. Ultimately this is why, as a general rule, customers who’ve engaged Cisco Advanced Services to help in their IT and technology transformations are Cisco’s happiest customers.