At Cisco, as you might imagine, we talk a lot about the Internet of Things, and now about the Internet of Everything (IoE). You can find some great videos and background about IoE here, here and here. As technology continues to transform our world – from how businesses operate to how we connect with each other to how we control features in our homes – the paradigm is shifting. And it’s creating exciting opportunities for companies that are prepared to capitalize on them.
It used to be that technology was itself an outcome – people wanted an application or they wanted a robot programmed to do certain things. It was viewed simply as a tool, and one that was often operated in a siloed business unit within a company. That world, at least for companies who want to stay competitive and maximize potential, is no more.
Technology is no longer just a tool. It’s no longer a means-to-an-end nor is it a strategy that operates in isolation. As our CEO John Chambers recently predicted, “every company is going to be a technology company” (a prediction that you’ll also find echoed in many leading business journals). To respond to consumer demands and consumption models, we all must embrace technology and harness its potential to transform businesses.
IoE plays a central role in how we do that. At its core, IoE is a networked connection of people, processes, data and things. And those connections can help drive new business models and outcomes. And that’s the nirvana point for me – data is good, but the real power and excitement comes in taking that data and utilizing it to drive the right decisions, to solve problems and to achieve desired business outcomes.
What does that look like?
At a leading auto manufacturer, for example, they are trying to integrate their engineering, manufacturing and sales operations worldwide. The outcome they are seeking? To have an efficient, flexible business platform that allows them to “design globally”, to “manufacture anywhere” and to “sell everywhere.” How did they use technology to enable that outcome? They used the Internet of Everything – modernizing information networks, ensuring that all key points could connect to each other effectively and securely, and putting smart analytics in place. Not only do they anticipate a cost savings of $79 million, but through IoE they are now better posed to achieve the desired outcome of being much more flexible and able to operate with a global view.
A leading retail drug store chain wants to be able to better track patient refills and needs – so imagine a technology-fueled prescription bottle with a sensor that indicates when a refill is needed. Or think about a healthcare company that wants to use technology to enhance the patient experience – perhaps by giving real-time ER waiting times or by equipping a patient with biometric devices that allow them to recover at home while being monitored remotely.
At Cisco, we’ve had the opportunity to witness firsthand the powerful outcomes that technology can drive for customers. And, we know our customers are demanding that our teams come to the table prepared to think about and help guide them towards achieving those objectives. And so just as technology is changing our customers’ businesses, it’s also driving a revolution for us. U.S. Enterprise, for example, is transforming from selling architectures to outcomes and is relentlessly focused on ensuring that our customers are making the right technology decision to achieve the desired business outcomes.
So, let me leave you with this. What outcome would drive a new level of success for your company? And how can technology, especially the Internet of Everything, help you rapidly advance that strategy?