These days, every customer I meet with is “going digital” And with research showing that mastering digital can result 26% greater profitability who wouldn’t want to? But, if you are evolving to a digital business, you must build on a rock-solid foundation. Otherwise, you’ll simply be playing with a house of cards, and your digital ambitions may never be realized.

The Network Is the Foundation for Digital Transformation

As we move from the Information Era to the Digital Era the network continues to grow in relevance. It connects all things digital and is the lifeblood of digital business. If the network foundation crumbles, the business will be crippled.

According to Forrester, nearly 4 of 5 business leaders believe that it’s IT’s responsibility to ensure the network can support the company’s digital plans. And yet, 67% of businesses believe the current network is the bottleneck. And, they are likely right. The highly reliable and resilient networks that have served the business for the past 30 years simply cannot scale for the digital demands of 5.4 billion mobile users by 2020, 30 billion IoT devices by 2020, big data storage reaching 73 ExaBytes by 2019 and 57 percent of organizations using or planning to use the Cloud.

And we’re not just making up numbers here. A recent IDC study  showed that while only 1/5 of global organizations have a strong degree of alignment between their network and business strategy today, those who are more aligned have doubled the rate of revenue growth relative to companies with only partial or no alignment.

Reinventing the Network

A successful digital transformation requires a network transformation. The network must elevate beyond a platform of connectivity, to a platform for automation, security and analytics. It starts by changing our paradigm for designing and building networks:

    • From hardware-centric to software-centric
    • From manual to automated
    • From physical to virtual
    • From closed to open
    • From complex to simple

This is precisely what we introduced with the Cisco Digital Network Architecture (DNA). Cisco DNA is a monumental shift on how to design and build networks. It provides an open environment for IT to automate and innovate with a software-driven approach that provides speed and simplicity without compromising security.

It’s a big change for IT and the networking industry but it’s more than technology innovation. Cisco DNA provides a clear roadmap for evolution of professional skills — expanding from NetOps into DevOps and a clear ability to deliver the future network. Even though it’s only a few months old, Cisco DNA, is already delivering innovations in industries from healthcare to education, financial services, retail and manufacturing.

Cisco DNA Double Downs on Securing the Enterprise

Back in March, we announced several new automation, virtualization and analytics technologies, all supporting core principals for the DNA architecture. Today, we have the spotlight on security. Why? Because the best security starts with the network and more importantly, is unachievable without the network.

The Cisco Integrated Services Router (ISR) is already one of the most effective security devices on the planet. In fact, it has more powerful security capabilities than many next-generation firewalls on the market today. Today, we’re introducing new sophisticated security software that runs on our popular branch office routers.

  • With the addition of OpenDNS technologies like Cisco Umbrella Branch, we allow customers to confidently access the ever-growing number of SaaS applications through direct Internet access without introducing more risk. With Umbrella Branch now running on the ISR, companies can give access across all devices, protecting your branch network from vast swathes of emergent threats.
  • In addition, ISRs can now run the new Stealthwatch Learning Networks License that provides a machine learning approach for detecting threats and enforcing security policy right at the branch edge. As soon as a device connects to the network and makes web requests via the router, we can tell whether the traffic displays anomalous behavior, consistent with malware and drop it like a hot stone.

Customers and Partners Embracing DNA

While DNA is a multi-year journey, it is already serving as the blueprint for many early adopter customers. Over 11,000 customers are buying Cisco ONE Software, which provides customers greater software value and ongoing innovation. We already have nearly 600 customers deploying our DNA controller to optimize their networks. And, over 10,000 networking professionals have joined our DevNet building DevOps skills for learning software programmability.

We have several customers and partners who are making tremendous progress evolving to DNA. In fact, three of those companies joined me onstage today in a news conference at Cisco Live:

  • IBM Aviation is working with Star Alliance Partners like Lufthansa to help them simplify operations at remote sites and lower IT operations and bandwidth costs. They have automated branch deployment down to days and have reduced bandwidth utilization by 30 percent. Their continued success is allowing the team to expand their services to other organizations.
  • Deakin University, Australia’s eighth largest public university leverages Wi-Fi-based location service to help students’ book study rooms, navigate to resources, receive notifications on local events, and request assistance on campus. They are implementing the DNA controller to automate operations across the network to deliver new services faster.
  • Nectar is a US-based ISV that’s using the DNA Controller to ensure quality of service for voice and voice communications that run across a Cisco network. Nectar is using network-based APIs to ensure the network can dynamically respond to application demands.

We’re very excited about the progress of Cisco DNA, and echo the Cisco brand in saying there “Never Has Been a Better Time to Do Amazing Things.” No one is better poised for the success and impact digital brings than today’s networking professionals. I encourage you and your IT team to embark on the Cisco DNA journey with us. A great place to start is The Future of the Network is Here iTalk. During this iTalk, Todd Nightingale and I will be joining our new leader David Goeckeler and a few others, to share Cisco DNA innovations and resources we’ve built to help you navigate the journey. Here are a few tips on how to get started today:

Join the DevNet Community

Sign up for new CCIE certification and programmability courses

Get your hands on the DNA controller (APIC-EM)

And keep us posted on your journey so we can jointly lead to success together, faster!



Jeff Reed

SVP/GM of Cloud and Network Security

Security Business Group