The life of the typical CIO has become amazingly complicated. No longer are they just expected to manage costs and keep the network running, the CIOs I talk to also have to help grow the business. That’s because their networks are generating massive amounts of data and it holds the key to business insights, better decision making, and new revenue streams—assuming there are resources available to make sense of the data.

And that could be a problem. Because at the same time as demands on IT are increasing, CIOs are challenged by a large and growing technical skills gap. Without the skills they need in their organizations, CIOs will not only miss the growth opportunities, but could put existing systems and business continuity at risk.

Enter Cisco’s suite of predictive services, announced today as two new Cisco Services portfolios: Business Critical Services, and High-value Services.  With these new offerings, Cisco harnesses the power and intelligence of AI and machine learning to help CIOs address their most pressing challenges.

We’ve Reached the Tipping Point on Talent

Our customers tell us they are missing the critical technical skills that they need to grow and stay competitive in the 21st century—IT, network architecture, security, and automation.  A lack of digital skills is the single greatest challenge to successfully implementing digital transformation. In fact, 69 percent of respondents to an IDC Worldwide Digital Leader Survey said their organization lacks the right people, knowledge, and technology to transform.

Some of the most valuable skills are the hardest to find. According to a report last year, 41 percent of CIOs expect to face a skills shortage in data science, business intelligence, and analytics, and more than a third see upcoming shortages in security and risk management.  It now takes an average of 96 days to fill a job that requires expertise in cloud security, more than double the IT industry average.

It’s clear that companies will need to rethink their approach to this growing skills gap. Increasingly, leading organizations are partnering with third-party service organizations—such as Cisco Services—to fill in their missing capabilities while making the most of the talent they do have.

Moving from Defense to Offense

Forced into a defensive position by increased complexity and a growing number of threats, it’s no wonder that 70 percent of the typical IT budget is spent on maintenance, and only 30 percent on innovation, according to IDC. Now, with our new service offerings, companies can take a more proactive strategy. By collaborating with Cisco Services they not only fill in their missing skills, they can take a predictive view, leverage automation, and accelerate innovation. These strategies don’t replace the IT team (we’ll always need more people with the right skills). Rather, they allow IT to spend more time on strategy, innovation, and working with lines-of-business to support business priorities. And by combining our trusted experts with predictive insights from AI, we can help customers take their operations to the next level. These new services help our customers achieve the business outcomes they desire, and provide even more value through our partners for their customers. Both of these offerings are available today. 

Our new portfolio of subscription services, Cisco Business Critical Services, goes beyond traditional optimization services to deliver new analytics, automation, compliance, and security capabilities. These new services will help organizations reduce complexity and risk, protect their businesses with built-in security, and make more informed decisions through infrastructure analytics. They’ll also help generate revenue. On average, Cisco’s optimization customers have generated an additional $54 million per year by cutting downtime.

We’ve also rolled out Cisco High-value Services a new portfolio taking technical services beyond basic hardware support to deliver proactive and prescriptive service options for software, solutions, network, and the entire infrastructure. This next generation of technical services steps up to the new demands of IT to deliver to customers the most value from their Cisco investments.

We’ve digitized our intellectual capital and created automated systems that can scan and detect potential problems in customer networks.

We’ve digitized our intellectual capital and created automated systems that can scan and detect potential problems in customer networks. These scans detect at least one problem 86 percent of the time, and uncover a network-impacting problem nearly half the time. Recently, automated scanning across a large media company’s 29 sites uncovered a problem and kept the company from having to send trucks out to replace equipment at subscribers’ homes—a savings of $250,000.

I’m proud to lead the teams that have worked incessantly over many months to create this next generation of Cisco Services. As change accelerates, we’ll continue to deliver industry-leading services to our customers, and work with them to accelerate digital transformation.



Joe Cozzolino

Senior Vice President

Cisco Services