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Digital Transformation Revolutionizes Manufacturing Operations

Since the late 18th century, innovations have fueled modernization in industrial engineering, management and processes that have shaped manufacturing businesses we know today. From manual tasks’ mechanization through moving assembly lines and mass production systems, industrial revolutions resulted in profitability and growth that enabled global economies to prosper. Presently, another revolution is underway – a revolution resulting from access to hyper-distributed computing for manufacturing organizations to excel in their competitive marketplaces. Utilizing advancements in technology and software, manufacturing operations can become increasingly fluid through processes that resource data and analytics to generate just-in-time automation. And in this transformation, traditionally physical assets are metamorphosed into digital assets that become sources of invaluable insights.

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Step into the IT Fast Lane with Automated Integration

Last month, Japan’s Kenichi Ito broke the world record for the 100 meter dash – running on all fours – with a time of 15.71 seconds. Known as “the monkey man,” having perfected the art of moving like a monkey on the ground, Ito sprints on his hands and feet towards the finish line. His performance is reminiscent of Samuel Johnson’s famous adage about dogs that can walk on two hind legs, “It’s not done well but you are surprised to find it done at all.”

But this is exactly what many enterprises are still doing today – building and managing their network on all fours when they should be sprinting on their toes. With network speeds now often exceeding 100 bits per second, traditional approaches to harnessing today’s hyper-distribution of information aren’t sufficient. What’s needed is “Fast IT.”

Fast IT: The Quick Definition Read More »

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Partner Success Strategies: How to Automate and Digitize Customer Engagement

A digital transformation is already upon us.  Customer buying behavior is dramatically different than it was 10 years ago.  If you haven’t adapted already, growing your business may require big shifts in the way you do business.

It’s no surprise that your customers prefer to do business online.  They are buying more online services, subscriptions, and cloud-based solutions than ever before. This digitization in buying behavior means fewer phone calls and less face time, which can make it difficult to differentiate from your competitors and provide the extraordinary customer experience that consumers have come to expect. While on the surface, these trends may seem like an obstacle to growth, forward-thinking organizations are taking advantage of the digital shift, modernizing their customer engagement model, improving customer retention and growing revenues.

The Cisco Global Customer Success (GCS) organization has been hard at work developing a model for customer engagement that puts our partners front and center in the digital sales process, making it easier for you to sell—and easier for your customers to buy in a digital world. Unifying people, process, analytics, and automation, this proven methodology not only simplifies sales, but also helps to create customers for life. If that sounds too good to be true, or too complex for your business, then you’ll want to attend our January 19 webinar, “How to Automate and Digitize Customer Engagement.”

You’ll learn how data-driven, automated selling motions can help you connect more effectively with your customers throughout their journey with you—from the moment a product or service is purchased; to the point that it is adopted; and across the important upsell, cross-sell, renew, and refresh phases. Through an intelligent approach to digital engagement, you’ll be in position to reach out to the right customers at the right time with the right offers throughout each of these stages. You’ll also discover untapped opportunities, along with new ways to scale your sales practice, reduce costs, and gain greater profitability.

Most importantly, with the right digital strategies and tools, you can help your clients achieve stronger business outcomes, which means they’ll increase their trust in you.

Ready to hear more? Sign up for our January 19 Customer Success Talks webinar.

Webinar Details

Webinar Title:           How to Automate and Digitize Customer Engagement

Date and Time:         January 19, 11:00am PT

Register:                    Register Today

Key Takeaways

  • Learn how to use digital engagement to nurture sales throughout all phases of the customer journey;
  • Harness the power of data to identify new sales and renewal opportunities and proactively address them with your clients;
  • Improve product and services adoption to help customers get the most value out of their Cisco investments;
  • Scale your business, reduce costs, and increase profits through the use of strategic new tools

 

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The Digital Manufacturing Landscape and the Path Forward.

Any discussion on digital transformation and IoT leads to the fundamental question – “What are the possibilities and impacts in my industry?” The manufacturing industry has been dealing with this question for the last 50 years and in fact, has been an early adopter of technology to enable transformation.   For example,  in the mid-to-late 20th-century, automated inventory control systems (ICS),  material resource planning systems (MRP), and  enterprise resource planning systems (ERP) had a tremendous impact on the foundational operations within manufacturing across the world.  Then in the later part of the 20th-century and the early part of 21st-century transformations within this industry were enabled by the emergence of the PC, explosion of the internet, realization of e-business, availability of IP-based technologies, universal  adoption of RFID and proliferation of wireless components.  All of these innovations marked the first era of digital manufacturing.  This era had a primary focus on using technology to achieve efficiencies, effectiveness and productivity gains particularly within the supply chain, and product lifecycle management functions.

Digital Manufacturing

Today pioneering and prominent manufacturers are looking at the next generation of digital manufacturing which will utilize technology to enable new customer experiences that enhance profitable revenue growth. The German government is credited with calling this next era Industry 4.0. They characterize this era as a time when “people, machines, and industrial processes are intelligently networked.”

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Service-Oriented Everything and Digitization of Your Business

The next big phase of the Internet is the race toward digitization, which brings together people, processes, data, and things in new, more productive ways. In this emerging hyper-distributed digital world, connectivity is even more vital than ever before. Companies that are going to thrive and realize new opportunities will be the ones that adopt digital strategies to bring new services to market faster, securely connect people, things, and stitch hyper-distributed processes across internal and external systems.

Cisco’s research shows that 75% of organizations need help in clearly defining the digitization opportunity that exists for each of them. This research is consistent with what I hear from customers across many industries that are challenged with integrating systems and processes rapidly for:

  • Becoming agile as a business, adapting to changes with speed
  • Engaging better with customers and leveraging partner ecosystems
  • Improving productivity to improve revenues and profits

Expose, Compose, and Govern Any Asset

If every enterprise asset ranging from legacy applications, cloud services, data, partner services/apps, machines or things, to network/compute/storage infrastructure is viewed as a service, we need the following three capabilities to make those assets available within and across the enterprise:

All this sounds good on paper, but difficult to realize in practice. This requires organizations to think about their assets differently – both tangible assets such as people, machines, buildings etc. and intangible assets such as processes and data. All organizational assets need to be treated as services that are consumable by external or internal consumers; treated as services that are produced by various producers within the enterprise in a federated fashion.

  • Expose assets as services provide a catalog of assets exposed securely as apps, services, or APIs via marketplace catalogs and web or mobile portals
  • Compose new services via mixing services – create new services, apps, and outcomes by connecting data, cloud, and enterprise systems
  • Govern the services – develop policy-based access and control via API access control, fully federated single sign on and ID management.

These three capabilities will enable organizations to treat any asset as a programmable service that can be used by various consumers; to mix it with other services as needed to make new services, and to govern these services with the right authentication and authorization. This new approach to managing hyper-distributed assets provides your business with a framework that lets you automate and integrate your unconnected processes with complete security, governance, and visibility at every stage, allowing us to effectively collaborate with your customers and partners and improve operational efficiencies.

To help with this transformation, today I’m excited to introduce the Cisco Automation and Integration Platform that allows organizations to quickly Expose, Compose, and Govern (“E-C-G”) every enterprise asset as a service. The platform enables customers to act on insights through process automation within and outside of the enterprise, and across business and IT. It offers lifecycle management of digital assets across design, provisioning, publishing, and support. With the Cisco Automation and Integration Platform, our customers will be able to accelerate digital transformation initiatives by streamlining processes and simplifying collaboration amongst customers, partners, and internal stakeholders, as shown below.

AIP graphic

Banking on Adaptive IT for Digitization

Organizations are putting pressure on IT to deliver solutions to business challenges that create value and leverage technology as a real differentiator for the organization. It’s a tall order under any circumstances, but especially in an age of rapid technology changes and high customer expectations. Existing solutions, as many organizations have discovered, are not up to the task.

For example: a large bank seeking to deliver on-demand IT services struggled with pressure from the business to deliver new services.

Like many enterprises, the bank was burdened with legacy IT architecture and manual processes that hindered service provisioning and resulted in average service fulfillment times of four to six weeks. To meet the business need to innovate and deliver new mobile and digital services, the IT organization needed to find a way to quickly use and reuse digital assets with speed and simplicity, while reducing process complexity and lowering delivery costs.

The bank leveraged the Cisco Automation and Integration Platform to automate organization, delivery, and consumption of information, creating an internal IT services marketplace portal that automated the workflow and delivery of development resources. The bank experienced rapid development, expanded offerings, and streamlined the procurement of IT services.

The bank cut their development time of new business applications from 180 days to 2 days, while reducing their costs by 30 percent. They transformed their IT delivery model to one of on-demand self-service for their employees and became a Fast IT organization.

The Mantra for Digitization: Expose…Compose…Govern

The Cisco Automation and Integration Platform helps you digitize your business processes. It gives you the business agility to re-imagine existing business processes and create new business processes that better serve your business needs. The platform automates interactions at scale and captures key data for operational intelligence and service utilization. Tying business interactions to trigger actions within the IT infrastructure paves the way for business SLAs to be provided by an intelligent infrastructure, such as adapting network bandwidth for business needs. At Cisco, we are well on our way to the next stage of the Internet – to enable industrial automation at scale.

In future blogs, several experts from Cisco and I will showcase examples of customers who have achieved digital transformation in many ways: through business process automation, supplier collaboration, IoT integration and network automation. Meanwhile, I’m interested to hear about your challenges and opportunities to achieve digital transformation through process automation. Let me know what you are experiencing in this race to digitization.

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