Cisco: Expert insight into cloud success
Cisco’s 25th annual Partner Summit virtually brought together 19,000 representatives from 152 countries with the help of the cloud – which became the hot topic for conversation.
“The power of the cloud experience,” said Liz Centoni, Cisco’s SVP for strategy, emerging technologies and incubation, “is being able to access innovation from everywhere, whenever you want it.”
The complexity, challenges and potential of cloud technology were addressed when Centoni spoke to moderator Dave Vellante, the chief analyst for Wikibon and co-host of The Cube.
A key theme of the discussion was creating solutions for the variety of cloud motions including on-premises, multiple clouds and SaaS environments. Cloud can bring the agility, speed and scalability that today’s businesses demand.
But in a multi-cloud, hybrid environment, the multiple tech stacks from many providers add layers of complexity and security gaps that can slow things down.
“Customers are saying, ‘okay, I need to have the speed and agility to consume services from multiple places, the flexibility to be able to do that. I need to have a consistent cloud experience across all of my environments,” commented Centoni.
“So, they want us to simplify, bring in more automation, the agility, the flexibility, the consistent way to manage all of these environments.”
Everyone wants to deliver the best application experience for their users. But to do that, app-operator and-infra operator teams need to work together.
“If you look at most teams today, they work in silos — the app developers work in their silo, infrastructure and networking teams work in their silo. And they all use the tools that are most appropriate for the job that they do.
Because you don’t want them using the same tool and having copious amounts of data that don't make sense for their job role. But if you can provide unified correlated data sets, same context and common vocabulary, you can break down the silos and address performance issues before it impacts the end user.”
Centoni shared three reasons that she believes sets Cisco’s solutions apart from the competition.
“Customers trust us to do what is right for them,” she stressed. “With security and privacy, but also in terms of understanding and bringing the right solution to them because of the breadth of the portfolio that we have. We look to understand our customer’s problem.
“The second one is really around the drive for simplicity. It’s not just about providing them with all the knobs and bells and whistles. And the third one is really around continuing to innovate. And lastly, customers want choice; of clouds, hypervisors and orchestration platforms.”
Centoni outlined the main two key performance indicators which would be the most relevant moving forward. “Resilience of the system from a provider standpoint and the experience of the consumer.”
How changing your company's software code can prevent bias
Two-third of tech professionals believe organizations aren’t doing enough to address racial inequality. After all, many companies will just hire a DEI consultant, have a few training sessions and call it a day.
Wanting to take a unique yet impactful approach to DEI, Deltek, the leading global provider of software and solutions for project-based businesses, took a look at and removed all exclusive terminology in their software code. By removing terms such as ‘master’ and ‘blacklist’ from company coding, Deltek is working to ensure that diversity and inclusion are woven into every aspect of their organization.
Business Chief North America talks to Lisa Roberts, Senior Director of HR and Leader of Diversity & Inclusion at Deltek to find out more.
Why should businesses today care about removing company bias within their software code?
We know that words can have a profound impact on people and leave a lasting impression. Many of the words that have been used in a technology environment were created many years ago, and today those words can be harmful to our customers and employees. Businesses should use words that will leave a positive impact and help create a more inclusive culture in their organization
What impact can exclusive terms have on employees?
Exclusive terms can have a significant impact on employees. It starts with the words we use in our job postings to describe the responsibilities in the position and of course, we also see this in our software code and other areas of the business. Exclusive terminology can be hurtful, and even make employees feel unwelcome. That can impact a person’s desire to join the team, stay at a company, or ultimately decide to leave. All of these critical actions impact the bottom line to the organization.
Please explain how Deltek has removed bias terminology from its software code
Deltek’s engineering team has removed biased terminology from our products, as well as from our documentation. The terms we focused on first that were easy to identify include blacklist, whitelist, and master/slave relationships in data architecture. We have also made some progress in removing gendered language, such as changing he and she to they in some documentation, as well as heteronormative language. We see this most commonly in pick lists that ask to identify someone as your husband or wife. The work is not done, but we are proud of how far we’ve come with this exercise!
What steps is Deltek taking to ensure biased terminology doesn’t end up in its code in the future?
What we are doing at Deltek, and what other organizations can do, is to put accountability on employees to recognize when this is happening – if you see something, say something! We also listen to feedback our customers give us and have heard their feedback on this topic. Those are both very reactive things of course, but we are also proactive. We have created guidance that identifies words that are more inclusive and also just good practice for communicating in a way that includes and respects others.
What advice would you give to other HR leaders who are looking to enhance DEI efforts within company technology?
My simple advice is to start with what makes sense to your organization and culture. Doing nothing is worse than doing something. And one of the best places to start is by acknowledging this is not just an HR initiative. Every employee owns the success of D&I efforts, and employees want to help the organization be better. For example, removing bias terminology was an action initiated by our Engineering and Product Strategy teams at Deltek, not HR. You can solicit the voices of employees by asking for feedback in engagement surveys, focus groups, and town halls. We hear great recommendations from employees and take those opportunities to improve.