In this blog, I will be discussing the third pillar of the Connected Experiences notion: Automation. With increasing demand creating resource constraints for IT operators, it is imperative to take advantage of the most efficient tools & methods available. Let’s talk about the simplicity of Automation.

Before I jump into some simple methods around automation, I want to discuss something that is happening on the west coast right now and on everyone’s mind – fire. If you live in Washington, Oregon, or California you are in a state of shock as the threat posed by the sheer number of wildfires threatens so many homes. In my own case, the houses of family members, neighbors, and friends have all been at risk. Let’s take a quick review of 2020: A pandemic, storms, and now fire. In times like these it is important to empathize with each other and help others in any way we are able. In this spirit, Cisco’s efforts to help financial institutions become more resilient in times of disruption is a great foundation for building the future of financial services in 2021 and beyond.

Why is fire relevant to this conversation? Whenever an IT support operation must manage the ever-changing landscape of systems, it seems “fire’s” in the form of critical response events occur. My goal is to help you see how you can reduce instances of critical response events in your Financial Services Systems through Cisco’s automation capabilities.

So, what is automation and why is it the third pillar of Connected Experiences? Automation is the programmatic method we use to make a process more efficient, reduce the cost or complexity, and reduce the chances of human error. Cisco has many platforms providing the automation capabilities to simplify configuration, management, deployment, and operations of physical or virtual networks through our Intent Based Networking Platforms at WAN and Access layer (Cisco DNA Center), the Data Center (Cisco Intersight, ACI, Tetration), and Security layer (Cisco Stealthwatch, DUO, and SecureX).

In addition to providing robust API’s (Application Programming Interfaces) for all of these platform solutions, Cisco supports our customer and partner developer community thru Cisco DEVNET. DEVNET: Automation Exchange is a dedicated community for automation developers and parties interested in obtaining Cisco certificates in automation development. With so many ways to start automating how do you decide where to start?

In order to fast track your automation journey I recommend starting with two simple steps.

  1. Follow Hank Preston on your network programmability journey to understand the fundamentals of what it takes to get started.
  2. Focus on one of these two actionable tools to create value by bringing visibility to your financial institution’s Connected Experiences.
    1. The first tool is used by 6 out of 7 of the largest financial institutions in the US and is a recent acquisition by Cisco called Thousand Eyes. Thousand Eyes will bring end to end visibility to your application, Internet Routing Status across ISP Backbones, local networks, end users device, and be able to provide this information to all IT teams. Thousand Eyes will allow your network team to never have to answer “Is the network down?” and will keep your application developers from wondering why a user complained of a performance issue at a specified time an ISP experienced a fault. Start your Thousand Eyes Free Trial Today!
    2. The other tool I would recommend to add visibility through Application Performance Management and integrate into your existing DevOps processes is AppDynamics. Please take a moment to read how one of our financial customers implemented AppDynamics in their environment. Due to the bank’s strong DevOps culture they developed an alignment with the AppD team focusing on how to optimize and enhance the end user experience. The team was able to provide real-time monitoring through integration of AppDynamics application performance management solution.

After completing these two tasks within your financial institution, you will have taken the important first step in your Connected Experiences journey, utilizing automation as the key foundation. The visibility provided to your operational teams will help to reduce the potential for unplanned fire drills, show the real time status of your environments, and eliminate the need to answer the question of “Is the network down?” Tune in next week for the fifth and final blog in our Connected Experiences series to complete the story and uncover how Cisco’s Connected Experiences can transform your financial institution.




Brian Velazquez

Global Business Solutions Architect for Retail & Financial Services

Global Industry Solutions Group (ISG)