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Partner Voices: Back to the Future. Lifecycle Management in 2014.

December 18, 2014 - 2 Comments

Oftentimes when putting together the Cisco Partner Voices blogs, it’s easier to just back off and let the partner tell their own story. With this week’s entry from ePlus, I did just that, asking Mike Trojecki, senior director, Cisco National Practice and Emerging Technologies, ePlus to speak about lifecycle management in 2014. Here is what Mike had to say:

The year was 1985.  Ronald Reagan was President of the United States, Wham! topped the charts with Careless Whisper, and Marty McFly and Doc Brown were rewriting history in one of the best movies of the 80’s. In this same era, the term “lifecycle management” made its debut by American Motor Corporation.

If you are like most organizations that I speak with, you are mired in spreadsheets and multitudes of network management tools—fighting fires so often that you can’t spend the time needed to align technology with your lines of business. The truth is that Wood, Hewlin and Lah were correct in Consumption Economics: The New Rules of Tech when they stated that there is a growing gap between what manufacturers, systems integrators and value added resellers are trying to sell you, and what can possibly be adopted and deployed. This leaves you in the unenviable position of deploying products without realizing all of the features that were supposed to provide ROI (you know, in Back to the Future speak, that would get your businesses’ flux capacitor up to 1.21 gigawatts and cruising along at 88 MPH).

But since you’re not in the business of time travel, let’s bring this back to the present. The concept of lifecycle management in an IT organization is much different than when it was introduced in 1985.  Today, it means identifying assets and problems in the enterprise through network discovery and assessments and then remediating issues found. This basic yet important information serves as the foundation for proper planning and budgeting. You have to start with a baseline and a plan to remediate the most serious issues, and let’s be clear, this doesn’t always mean security.

Product maintenance lapses could leave an organization just as vulnerable as a cyber-attack. Infrastructure elements that are not under a valid services contract could be the biggest security risk you face. What happens if a device goes down but you can’t get that product replaced because it’s not covered? Are you willing to wait for the manufacturer to get that product to you while losing customers and putting at risk the lives of citizens in your city or locality. Don’t forget our friend and enemy, the Excel spreadsheet. Excel is a great tool overall and allows you to sort and filter data, but it’s most definitely not an asset management tool. An asset management tool should give users the shared ability to identify an asset’s location, condition, warranties, service contracts, age and value.

You might be saying to yourself that this all makes sense, but how do I extinguish these fires that hit our IT department like flaming tire tracks from the DeLorean? The fact is that CIOs are asking their teams to do more with less, to be more knowledgeable on multiple technologies and provide guidance on emerging technologies .So how are highly-efficient organizations making it work? They are spending time on aligning IT to business outcomes instead of monitoring and managing technology infrastructure. The reality is that there are organizations out there that can help with those tasks while you focus on the business of getting products to market quicker, hiring and onboarding employees more efficiently, and getting in front of more customers.

The first objection that I typically hear is, “We can’t afford it.”  But, can you afford not to?  The key is to operationalize the cost of the network. When you can wrap all of these services into a predictable monthly cost, you free up the capital to focus on your business.  Think about being able to upgrade your collaboration, network or data center infrastructure every three to five years without having to incur a major capital expense.

‘The last major hurdle to developing a lifecycle management strategy is teaming with an organization who can help be your guide down this path. One that can provide consulting services as well as their own services and manufacture-based services focused on the optimization of your environment along with solutions that provide a positive impact on your business. For example, our financing group partners closely with Cisco Capital supporting our Public Sector business to help align our technology investments with operational imperatives, making sure we have a well thought out lifecycle management strategy in place.

Tears for Fears said it best: Everybody Wants to Rule the World. For you to rule the world, you’re going to have to go Back the Future to revisit what Lifecycle Management really means today.

So what do you think about Mike’s thoughts on lifecycle management? Let us know in the comments section!

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  1. Absolutely on-point. Working with your customers to understand the value of the full-stream of Lifecycle Management, from assessment through deployment & adoption through asset management, is the powerful 'secret sauce' that can take the industry beyond simply pushing boxes.

    • Thanks Sonny. Glad to hear we are hitting topics of interest in this series. Please let me know if you think there are other areas I should cover with our Cisco Partners.