Last week while trapped in the confines of seat 22A, I re-read “Digital Vortex: How Digital Disruption Is Redefining Industries”.  This paper is full of interesting insights on how digital technology is changing the competitive landscape for every industry.  If you haven’t read it – grab a copy and keep it handy for for your next commute.


The paper reminded me that any industry can quickly shift in or out of the “digital center” of the vortex – a place where digital change can rapidly disrupt, or cause disruption for a company or an entire industry.  It offers a key insight on digital transformation:  To disrupt oneself in an industry, “organizations must change themselves – including operations, culture, revenue model, and more – in fundamental ways, and perpetually.”  Many IT leaders feel the impact of this reality every day.

Trevor Moore, the CIO of Qatar University, is using IT as a platform to transform higher education as part of a country-wide initiative to transform Qatar into a knowledge-based economy.  In a recent interview with Trevor, he explained, “Providing services to students and researchers anytime and anywhere is a key component of our ongoing growth.”   Trevor’s story is a powerful reminder of how IT organizations around the globe are using technology to drive digital transformation.  Organizations like Qatar University are not just seeing the impact of digital transformation in education… they are causing transformation, for their industry, and for their country.  They’ve moved themselves to the center of the vortex.

Far beyond delivering “courseware” through a web browser, Qatar University must deliver application suites that give faculty and students the tools they need to learn, invent, and discover.  Of course, Qatar also wants to deliver a customized and personal experience to every student.  To deliver on this vision, students must be able to access material when and where it is most convenient for them.

Digital learning is a key part of the country’s vision of becoming a knowledge-based economy – and as Moore points out, IT is at the heart of it all.  Qatar University chose Cisco’s Application Centric Infrastructure as the foundation for their new data center and digital strategy.  Working closely with Cisco and F5 Networks, Qatar was able to build an automated data center that greatly simplified their operations and delivered on their vision of automatically and securely provisioning applications to students, faculty, and research staff.

Choosing a new or different way to deliver IT isn’t always the easy or popular choice – but when done right, the results deliver exceptional efficiencies.  As early adopters of Cisco ACI, Moore and his IT team are leading the way, and reaping the benefits of an open, automated, application-centric approach to the data center.  If you’d like to know more about how Qatar University used Cisco ACI and the ACI ecosystem to solve its challenges, the Qatar ACI case study will tell you more.

You can download a copy of the PDF case study here


Joel Conover

No Longer with Cisco