As we face the biggest network disruption in 25 years, these tools can help light up the path ahead for IT leaders

“Digital transformation” often sounds like the latest buzz, but it’s not. Everything – and I mean “everything” – is being connected over the network: processes are connected across businesses and organizations, devices across industries, countries and cities; and workers, customers, citizens and partners across the globe.

Personally, I find it both exciting and awe-inspiring at the same time. In my role, leading the Enterprise Networking business for Cisco, I recognize that we have a huge responsibility. First and foremost, to help our customers transform their networks to gain a competitive edge in the mad rush to digitize. Second is a responsibility to ourselves at Cisco as we transition our core business from a traditional hardware-centric model to a software-centric model that allows us to quickly deliver new technology breakthroughs and streamline network consumption and lifecycle models..

By speaking to networking leaders, I know that the majority of you are experiencing the same excitement and moments of apprehension that I am. Many of you are asking yourselves:

  • How am I going to create a network roadmap that aligns to my organization’s cloud, mobility, IoT, big data and overall digitization roadmap?
  • How am I going to bring together all the new technology trends, such as software-defined networking, virtualization, cloud management, network-enabled analytics etc.? And how do make sure I sequence the rollout for success and simplicity?
  • How am I going to help protect my organization, intellectual property, workers, customers and partners with all these changes and new cyber threats?
  • And most commonly: How am I going to do all this with my current resources and budget? And, how to I help my business stakeholders understand the importance and business value of these investment?

There aren’t any magic solutions, but that doesn’t stop us from trying to create one. Over the last year, we have been working with industry experts, IDC Research, on a program designed to help you navigate your path to a next-generatiuon network.

The DNA Advisor Program consists of a framework and tools created to ease your transition to a “self-driving” network that is continuously aligned to the business. The best part is that you can learn a lot about your digital network readiness within just a few minutes, using the on-line self-assessment. Then, as you are ready, you can engage the right Cisco and partner resources to take the next steps.

Additionally, our Cisco Services team and partners can offer expertise and best practices along all parts of the plan, design and implement journey.  Want to learn more? Here are the highlights and how to get started.


  1. Cisco Digital Network Readiness Model – this 5-stage maturity model that maps the evolution across architecture, automation, security, service assurance and analytics towards a “self-driving” network constantly aligned to business needs.
  2. Benchmark for Network Readiness – IDC researched the current state of network readiness and where organizations are planning to be in 2 years, as well as the business value they are experiencing from more advanced networks. This extensive work is captured in two IDC whitepapers . The first discusses IT readiness to today’s organizations and the second covers business impact digital readiness provides to the organization.
  3. Self-Assessment Tool: To help you determine where your network stands in relation to your peers’ networks we offer a very simple on-line self-assessment tool, the Cisco DNA Readiness Advisor that delivers a short customized report. The report also provides basic guidance on next steps and potential business value of moving to the next phase. For more in-depth analysis and guidance, you should speak to Cisco and our partners about carrying out a guided Cisco DNA Readiness Planner .
  4. And finally, building on Cisco’s renowned networking practice, we are also introducing a new DNA Advisory Service, that delivers a strategic plan, readiness plan, business case and digital network roadmap.

Take a few minutes to get acquainted with all aspects of the Cisco DNA Advisor program. Check out the readiness model, read the IDC learnings, do the self-assessment and reach out to us and our partners to engage.

Altogether, or with each component independently, I believe we can help you navigate your own strategic journey towards a network required to streamline your organization’s path to digitization.

As always, feedback is incredibly important to us and I want to hear from you. How can this program help you, and what else would you like to see from us?



Scott Harrell

Senior Vice President and General Manager

Enterprise Networking Business