Many of us often gravitate to the “bargain”.  We’re intrigued by one-day only deals.  However, when it comes to long-term purchases, we’re typically guided by quality, brand, and safety.  We don’t want to “go cheap” when building a house or buying a car.  We recognize the importance of a strong foundation and company name.  It’s the same with our networks. Making networking choices based on what initially appears cheapest inevitably leads to undesirable outcomes. And this is particularly important in today’s digital era.

All organizations are in the process of introducing new digital technologies.  For example, hospitals are adding lifesaving medical equipment, manufacturers are connecting their assembly lines, retailers are  engaging customers through mobile technologies, and the list goes on. To remain competitive and relevant, organizations need to adopt these new initiatives quickly, dynamically, and securely, often with reduced budgets.

The network is the fundamental platform for these initiatives. They all use some combination of cloud, mobility, analytics and the Internet of Things, so they are increasingly dependent on a network that can constantly adapt to meet these new demands, securely, efficiently and at scale.

ZK Research has identified the top 10 criteria for choosing a networking vendor to partner with on building your world-class “digital-ready network”. Here is the top 10 list:

  1. Intent-based networking solution
  2. Integrated, best-in-class security
  3. Automation that simplifies the network
  4. Architectural approach
  5. Total cost of ownership
  6. Deep visibility with machine learning to optimize performance
  7. Open and programmable
  8. Trust (consistently delivering on promises)
  9. History of innovation
  10. Broad set of services (including pre-deployment, technical and post-deployment services)

According to the recent ZK Research report, only Cisco provides the most comprehensive digital-ready network that addresses and delivers on these criteria.  This is based on evaluations of all network providers and interviews with IT professionals.   For the full details, download the ZK Research report: Digital Success Depends on Choosing the Right Networking Vendor.

Short-term verses Long-term cost considerations

It’s important to understand how your short-term investment may have long-term cost implications before deciding on the right solution.

Let’s consider the consequences of choosing a low quality vendor focused on near-term infrastructure price.  ZK research points to an example in the healthcare industry.  A hospital was looking for a wireless solution to send data directly from patient monitoring equipment to clinician mobile devices. The hospital chose a low-cost WiFi provider to save money.  As a result of this poor connectivity, patient alarm bells took longer to reach hospital staff, thus jeopardizing patients’ lives.  The hospital then needed to revamp their network, at a significant expense.

Furthermore, healthcare records are among the most hacked data in the world. It is estimated that medical information is worth 10 to 20 times more on the black market than credit card data because of its potential for fraud, identity theft, and abuse.  Healthcare organizations need to safeguard patient information.  This requires a secure network.

Why Cisco’s Digital Network Architecture (DNA)

Security is a top concern for networking professionals and impacts all industries.  With DNA, we provide an integrated, best in class security solution that can anticipate threats before they happen to minimize damage and to resolve the problem quickly.  Cisco is also unique in that it’s the only vendor that can detect threats in encrypted traffic without having to decrypt the traffic first.  Security is embedded throughout its network.

Cisco DNA allows businesses to innovate faster, reduce complexity, and ultimately beat the competition.  It’s based on a consistency across platforms that is simple to administer, operates without interruption, and ensures security and reliability from the endpoint to the cloud.

Another feature of Cisco DNA is its ability to integrate with multiple systems and protocols.  This seamless integration allows organizations to remain agile, to customize their IT deployments, and to adapt to new business requirements.

Cisco also offers a wide range of high-value services throughout the deployment cycle.  Cisco helps customers design, manage, and maintain sophisticated, secure, and intelligent platforms for their digital business.

According to ZK Research, a Cisco digital ready network costs less in the long term and provides the complete range of functionality, openness, programmability, visibility, machine learning and security—all on an innovative platform.  As stated in the ZK Research report, “If you skimp at the beginning, you’ll likely end up spending even more money down the road.”

Just like you wouldn’t build a home on a weak foundation or buy a car that doesn’t function properly, choose quality when building your IT infrastructure.  The network is the platform that will accompany you today and for years to come on your organization’s digital transformation journey.



Prashanth Shenoy

Vice President of Marketing

Enterprise Networking and Mobility