Cisco UK & Ireland Blog

The Future of Your Network. Faster.

July 12, 2017

I bet you’ve never jumped out of bed in the morning saying “I’m going to migrate our enterprise network today”. Any production IT upgrade always feels as foolhardy as replacing a jet engine in flight. But, sometimes, you can’t put it off any longer. And now is one of those times.

It turns out it’s much easier to replace a jet engine when they’re on the ground.

All the research shows that corporate networks (and you, the unsung heroes that manage them) are under growing pressure. Every day there are new devices, users and applications to connect. All generating more traffic. And all the time, new threats to block.

In Western Europe, IP traffic will grow 3-fold from 2016 to 2021, a compound annual growth rate of 22% — Cisco Visual Networking Index, 2017

The business isn’t exactly showering you with cash or headcount to help you handle that extra work.  Thankfully, technology innovations are emerging to help ease the strain, like the new network from Cisco. The Network. Intuitive.

If you haven’t heard about the intuitive network, and the Cisco Digital Network Architecture (DNA) that powers it — where have you been?!  Check it out now (you can thank me later). It’s exciting stuff: it lets you use policy-based automation right across the network to practically eliminate the manual labour and human error that’s soaking up about 75% of your network budget today.

Cisco modelling suggests customers can achieve 61% lower opex by switching to an intuitive network approach.

I’ll admit, the intuitive network sounds like marketing fairy dust, but take a look at products like Cisco DNA Centre — the future is right here, right now. We can demo it for you.

So: your network’s being flung about in the digital vortex. Cisco DNA can help you ride the storm. But how do you get on board? Don’t go it alone. Help is right here.

Here are four simple steps you can start with today.

1.    Do the Cosmo quiz

Before you invest in full-blown professional services, take advantage of some special resources we’ve made to help you sketch out your initial plan and business case.

We worked with IDC to develop the DNA Advisor Program. Use it to understand your current digital-network readiness and identify which initiatives you should prioritise to meet your business and IT goals. Deepen your insights by registering for our DNA Readiness Planner guided assessment.

2.    Dust off your skeletons

Even the best-intentioned IT manager has only an incomplete picture of what’s really happening on the network. To correct that, as every good Enterprise Architect knows, the best place to start is with a Current State Assessment. It’ll shake out the skeletons in the cupboard that can complicate or even derail a migration later on.

Our advisory experts can work with you to do these assessments. We’ll go beyond the classical network design to consider security, operational processes, data sources, applications and management tools, workflows and business initiatives.

3.    Set your vision — and make it real

We can help you develop your use cases and refine your strategy through interactive working sessions, expert interviews, and other “secret sauce” tools and methodologies that we can only tell you about on pain of death. The result is a picture that’s not only true to your IT function’s mission, but to the needs of your business and users too.

Then we go further, creating a comprehensive design, including specifications and configurations that we can then validate for you through rapid prototyping and testing in our labs. And we’ll factor in a prioritised, phased approach for implementation, with realistic timescales and resource requirements.

4.    Don’t forget the people

A network migration is not just about technology, or even about processes. It’s fundamentally also about people, the third leg of the stool (but don’t tell your netadmins that we called them that).

Your managers and administrators need to know what on earth DNA is, what it can do, and how to use it on a day-to-day basis in order to get the most out of its capabilities. So as well as working alongside you during the project, and being there for you at the end of the phone for support, we also offer training services to get your teams ready for the new era of networking.

Lets be frank: it’s not a simple overnight change

Like any change worth making, migrating your network to DNA will take time and hard work. We respect you too much to pretend otherwise. Enterprise networks are complex, tangled, occasionally fragile beasts. Every bolted-on feature over the past decade has only exacerbated the problem. That’s all the more reason to take action now — the situation won’t get any easier by the time your next budget cycle rolls around.

Approach your migration in the right way, with the right support, and it’s nothing to fear. Be wary of shortcuts. Be honest about your current state of readiness. Be holistic in your assessments, including people and process as well as technology. Embrace a helping hand from someone that’s seen it all before. Then you’ll be prepared to ride the digital wave with a truly intuitive network.

Ready to start? You know who to call.


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