One of the most important devices in my life is my PC – maybe even more important than my coffee machine.  I take it with me to hair dresser appointments, long car rides, holidays; practically everywhere I would have some time to use it. It’s hard to believe that the very first personal computer was launched more than 50 years ago. This innovation laid the foundation for the first digital revolution. The invention of Ethernet followed by the Internet and, eventually, smart phones took personal computing to a whole new level.  We take for granted our ability to easily communicate, find and share information around the world. Now, we are at another inflection point, as today’s digital transformation is set to once again revolutionize how we work, live, play, and learn. Instead of the PC, the center of today’s transformation is any connected device – smart phones, tablets, cars, machines, sensors – the list grows each day.

I’m at Cisco Live this week in Las Vegas, celebrating today’s digital transformation era with more than 28,000 others. The buzz and excitement emanating throughout the event is energizing! I’ve spoken with many customers about how they are using mobile, cloud, security, and Internet of Things (IoT) to drive new innovations in their businesses. Digital transformation is already happening across every industry and will create a $24.6 billion opportunity by 2020, according to Accenture. IDC estimates that by 2018, 67% of the CEOs of Global 2000 enterprises will have digital transformation at the center of their corporate strategy.


When I first heard the term digital transformation – or digitization or digital revolution, pick your favorite term – I thought to myself, what an odd phrase. Isn’t everything already digital? What is so different now? Today, I hosted a panel featuring three executives who are leading digital initiatives, and they shared their perspectives. The digital transformation we are experiencing today is driven by fundamentally new technologies that are changing at a rapid pace and creating significant new opportunities. The business results come down to dramatic changes in three key areas:

  • Delivering New Customer Experiences. Panera Bread is creating an end-to-end digital pathway for customers – from self-service kiosks to rapid order pick up and mobile payments – coupled with operational integrity for improved processes, accuracy, and quality. The results so far are shorter lines for all customers, decreased production times, and same store sales growth.
  • Transforming Processes & Business Models. Mazak Corporation, a leader in manufacturing machine tools, is creating connected factories and capturing real-time sensor data and analytics from across the factory floor. With new levels of insights, Mazak is transforming production, creating worry-free manufacturing with less downtime.
  • Empowering Workforce Innovation: The New Jersey State Association of Chiefs of Police is driving new levels of communication between local and county public safety teams using video and mobile devices. It started in Denville Township New Jersey Police Department. By digitizing the workforce and enabling face-to-face, real-time communication from anywhere, they are able to greatly improve security, emergency response times and training while also reducing administration costs.

One thing was common across all of these great innovation stories – they each had a strong relationship with Cisco, which provided a strong technology foundation to transform their businesses in the new digital era. Digital transformation projects are very complex and have many moving parts that need to be connected. You need a foundation that leverages a strong technology portfolio from the cloud to the data center and all the way to the end device. A foundation that is simple, automated, and secure across the board. One that connects people and devices in meaningful and secure ways. So IT can move fast to respond to the business. Only Cisco provides the network, security, analytics, automation, and collaboration needed to achieve higher operational efficiency, greater competitive advantage, and increased profits.  I believe that we are just scratching the surface on what we can do to accelerate digital progress.

So far our customers were pretty incredible with their innovative projects – serving their customers better, empowering their employees, reducing their costs. I wonder what innovation will be next. What is next for your business? Check why Cisco is your foundation for digital transformation at http://ww.cisco.com/go/digital


Inbar Lasser-Raab

No Longer with Cisco