Today, having the right IT network is more critical than ever, as it has become the cornerstone of business digital success or failure.  Without a strong, secure network foundation, businesses don’t have the agility or security required to compete in today’s rapidly changing business environment. The Cisco Visual Networking Index shows how that there are 17B devices connected to the network today.  By 2021 there will be there will be more than 27 billion networked devices.  Traditional approaches to network design and management on this scale will not be successful – my 20+ years in the networking industry tells me that.

You might be wondering how to respond and you are not alone.  I’ve met with dozens of customers from multiple industries and they’re all asking what to do next. That question is usually followed by “Do we need to replace our entire network?”  The good news is you don’t have to start from scratch.  The journey to a new, digital network is just that – a journey.  Each company can start from a point that makes sense for them to drive their most desired business change.

Cisco’s vision for a new era of networking, is an intent-based network powered by context.  Since our June launch, over 1,100 customers have started their journey to the new network to help them drive success in their business.  Cisco’s Digital Network Architecture (DNA), delivers flexible entry points to address the scale of networks today — their increasing complexity, the security that is required, and powerful insights to help shape decisions moving forward.

Here’s how it can work.  Think of intent as a business outcome you want to achieve. If I’m a CIO, I might say “I want to reduce IT operational costs AND I want to increase the productivity of my staff”.  That is my intent.  Next, I might think about the technology solution I need to put in place to achieve that objective.

For example, I might increase productivity for my staff by automating IOT deployments at scale using Software Defined Access (SDA).  I might look at Assurance to reduce the amount my staff spends troubleshooting network issues.  Perhaps, I will focus on delivering a consistent user experience as I move applications to the cloud.  You can choose the technology solution that best meets your organization’s needs.

Through the use of machine learning and predictive analytics, the new network will help you deliver results by learning, adapting, and protecting.   Because it can rapidly execute your specified technical solution over and over, it gets better at it each time.   The network is constantly collecting this data, to create the powerful insights – which we call context – that let you know when your outcome has been achieved and when it’s time to pivot.  And because it is software based, you can easily adapt your existing network to start your journey at any time.

As VP of Worldwide Sales for Cisco’s Enterprise Networking, I’m able to witness customers on their digital journeys.  I see many embracing the new network and changing their businesses. It’s exciting to see the momentum and limitless possibilities ahead as customers gain more experience with the power of intent delivered by context.

If you’re still on the fence, stay tuned.  Over the next few months, I will be sharing our continued innovations, the different ways Cisco customers are implementing these new technologies, and the business outcomes they are driving.  In the meantime, use the comment section below to tell me what you are considering and the benefits you’re seeing in your company’s own digital journey.


Dave West


Asia Pacific, Japan, and Greater China