Cisco: Agility is the new superpower for IT
Agility is the new superpower for IT, was the message to delegates at Cisco’s Partner Summit where leaders shared strategies for building resilient organisations of the future.
“Changes are more unpredictable and faster than ever before,” Oliver Tuszik, Cisco’s SVP for global partner organisation, said at the summit. “And this can have a massive impact on your competitive situation. Agility is key to allow you to stay relevant.”
Being ready for an unpredictable future, highlighted by the COVID-19 pandemic, and responding to change with speed, agility and resilience were some of the crucial talking points during the event.
“Everyone has to learn how to react more quickly,” said Todd Nightingale, Cisco’s SVP and general manager for enterprise networking and cloud during a Q&A session.
“Not just now through this change, but for years to come. The new measure by which technology groups will hold themselves is agility. That's why we've been talking so much about agility being the new superpower for IT.”
Ease of operation
Delegates heard how agility demands an infrastructure that enables you to navigate across multiple clouds, capture critical insights and detect and manage security threats. In that complex environment, ease of operation is key.
Jeetu Patel, SVP and general manager for security and applications, laid out some of the core concepts driving Cisco’s newest technologies. “One of the big areas that we are going to double down and focus on is simplicity,” he said.
Patel said, Cisco strives to make every experience 10x better, and the company is turning to emerging technologies to make it happen.
“We’ve made some formidable investments over the years in artificial intelligence and machine learning,” Patel said, “which have now started delivering their dividends with a great, great experience.”
An agile platform strategy
Cisco can help by deliver automation and insights through a focused set of agile platforms. This creates a simpler environment, and with greater simplicity comes increased agility and faster speeds.
“I’m talking about being able to transform your infrastructure with the click of a button,” Nightingale said, “We’re going to be delivering insights and automation and best-in-class agility through a platform strategy at Cisco.
“We will focus the dozens of different management products across our portfolio on a small number of high-value agile platforms. We’re talking about transforming our customer’s infrastructure, using DNA Centre, Meraki and vManage; securing their data using Secure X; empowering their teams using Webex, and re-imagining their applications with Nexus Dashboard, Intersight and AppDynamics.
It’s all about responding fast: to competitive changes, to customer demands or to unexpected events.
“Being truly agile, being able to react, is how we measure success,” said Nightingale. “At Cisco, we sent practically our entire workforce home over night, and it was only because of our IT agility that we were able to do that.”
“Agility is only really delivered through insights and automation,” Nightingale said.
“The ultimate in insights is end-to-end visibility. And that’s why we just purchased ThousandEyes. It really gives you unprecedented visibility across the entire experience from the user through the private networks, into the internet, all the way in, through the SAS clouds as well. That visibility is so, so crucial,” said Nightingale.
In an opening statement Cisco CEO Chuck Robbins reiterated Cisco’s core purpose: powering an inclusive future with technology innovation.
Intelliwave SiteSense boosts APTIM material tracking
“We’ve been engaged with the APTIM team since early 2019 providing SiteSense, our mobile construction SaaS solution, for their maintenance and construction projects, allowing them to track materials and equipment, and manage inventory.
We have been working with the APTIM team to standardize material tracking processes and procedures, ultimately with the goal of reducing the amount of time spent looking for materials. Industry studies show that better management of materials can lead to a 16% increase in craft labour productivity.
Everyone knows construction is one of the oldest industries but it’s one of the least tech driven comparatively. About 95% of Engineering and Construction data captured goes unused, 13% of working hours are spent looking for data and around 30% of companies have applications that don’t integrate.
With APTIM, we’re looking at early risk detection, through predictive analysis and forecasting of material constraints, integrating with the ecosystem of software platforms and reporting on real-time data with a ‘field-first’ focus – through initiatives like the Digital Foreman. The APTIM team has seen great wins in the field, utilising bar-code technology, to check in thousands of material items quickly compared to manual methods.
There are three key areas when it comes to successful Materials Management in the software sector – culture, technology, and vendor engagement.
Given the state of world affairs, access to data needs to be off site via the cloud to support remote working conditions, providing a ‘single source of truth’ accessed by many parties; the tech sector is always growing, so companies need faster and more reliable access to this cloud data; digital supply chain initiatives engage vendors a lot earlier in the process to drive collaboration and to engage with their clients, which gives more assurance as there is more emphasis on automating data capture.
It’s been a challenging period with the pandemic, particularly for the supply chain. Look what happened in the Suez Canal – things can suddenly impact material costs and availability, and you really have to be more efficient to survive and succeed. Virtual system access can solve some issues and you need to look at data access in a wider net.
Solving problems comes down to better visibility, and proactively solving issues with vendors and enabling construction teams to execute their work. The biggest cause of delays is not being able to provide teams with what they need.
On average 2% of materials are lost or re-ordered, which only factors in the material cost, what is not captured is the duplicated effort of procurement, vendor and shipping costs, all of which have an environmental impact.
As things start to stabilise, APTIM continues to utilize SiteSense to boost efficiencies and solve productivity issues proactively. Integrating with 3D/4D modelling is just the precipice of what we can do. Access to data can help you firm up bids to win work, to make better cost estimates, and AI and ML are the next phase, providing an eco-system of tools.
A key focus for Intelliwave and APTIM is to increase the availability of data, whether it’s creating a data warehouse for visualisations or increasing integrations to provide additional value. We want to move to a more of an enterprise usage phase – up to now it’s been project based – so more people can access data in real time.