Reengineering Beyond Networking Complexity to Deliver Unified Experiences and Innovation

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Big changes in how enterprise networks are managed and optimized are coming.

The new paradigm is all about radical simplicity and applying scarce skills to networking improvements that make a real difference. It features the convergence of different technologies, networks, applications, and key features of the cloud operating model, in turn driving simplicity, visibility, and predictability for IT professionals.

The No. 1 Challenge to IT Innovation

Innovation in IT―doing things better, faster, and more cost-effectively―is very much on the minds of enterprise companies. In a recent global study, 91% of CIOs, other senior IT decision makers, and developers reported that they are doubling down on their investments in innovation between now and 2026. The number one challenge to innovation cited by these 18,000 respondents in 34 global markets: the limits of their current technology. Yet they also say that technology is the top enabler of innovation.

Current enterprise technology is not holding back IT innovation because of missing features and solutions. It’s all there. The problem is more about the complexity of managing networking infrastructures, which have continued to morph into a dizzying array of diverse platforms, networks, and cloud services, forming a patchwork quilt of solutions that are rigid, unpredictable, vulnerable, and difficult to scale.

As demands on networks grow, managing and ensuring desired service levels across this increasingly complex end-to-end network is unsustainable. IT teams are not staffed to handle the workload. Cybersecurity teams are scrambling to keep up with increasing security threats across a widening threat landscape. IT administrators are struggling to manage loosely integrated mobile, Wi-Fi, broadband, internet, SaaS, and cloud connections and applications.

Lack of visibility into the full network path is a key challenge. Most transactions either originate or terminate outside of traditional enterprise boundaries. The digital supply chain comprises multiple providers and hops that are typically invisible to IT teams. It’s therefore no wonder that delivering desired levels of service for end users is a huge challenge for IT. Another complicating factor is numerous interdependencies that make it hard to respond quickly to business disruptions and demands; these can also lead to blind spots and opportunities for failure.

Simplify the IT Experience

How do you re-engineer past IT complexity and inefficiency? With cohesive, instead of fragmented, IT experiences.

Imagine one unified network management system that serves operational teams responsible for campus, branch, home, Internet of Things (IoT), WAN, data center, and cloud environments. This unified environment has powerful features, such as end-to-end visibility, control, and automation that enable the simplified management of diverse platforms, networks, devices, and cloud services.

The newly introduced Cisco Networking Cloud is part of a vision of optimized networking and cloud management for great customer experiences and radical simplicity for IT administrators. This unified management environment can be deployed either on-premises or in the cloud and incorporates capabilities like a consistent operational experience, artificial intelligence and machine learning (AI/ML) techniques, end-to-end assurance across networking domains, and common policy across security and networking environments. It builds on key attributes of the cloud operating model (e.g., anywhere access, self-service, automation, analytical insights, and centralized APIs).

Freedom to Innovate

A unified and centralized IT management environment frees scarce IT resources from time-consuming activities that don’t add value and empowers IT administrators across networking, cloud services, and security domains to invest more time into innovating. They can reduce troubleshooting times from hours to minutes. They can transition operations from being reactive to more predictive and outcome-driven with the insights from real-time and historical telemetry gathered from network connections and the use of AI/ML techniques.

A unified IT environment can provide single sign-on (SSO) access to administrators through a centralized management dashboard to access networking functions across all domains. Admins sign in once and can navigate to any of the functionality across their company’s infrastructure. No more toggling between sign-ins to individual platforms that manage different domains. Supplied with the same end-to-end visibility and using the same data, diverse operational teams can collaborate to solve problems quickly and suggest optimizations.

A unified networking platform that exhibits API consistency offers organizations greater opportunities to innovate quickly and simply with a broader set of technology partners and developers. This transforms the network into a powerful platform for digital transformation in a world with ever-changing requirements.

New Possibilities with Unified IT

Unified IT is a vision, but the journey has already begun. The Danish energy company Solar uses a centralized, single-pane-of-glass cloud-based monitoring solution that provides an integrated view of all 500 switches in their network.

For Tier 1 and Tier 2 support teams, information is available in a few clicks instead of via multiple different apps. Support tickets that once took hours to close can be resolved in 10 to 15 minutes. Data from end-to-end telemetry also informs Tier 3 and Tier 4 support, for deep dives into infrastructure troubleshooting and configuration. Analytics from this data also help Solar to optimize the sustainability of operations by reducing wasted energy.

By unifying IT platforms, IT departments can do more with less. They can move IT and business innovation aspirations from wish lists to reality, including:

  • Enabling optimal hybrid work collaboration, productivity, and security
  • Helping to meet sustainability goals
  • Enabling business intelligence and AI innovations
  • Converging IT, OT, and security
  • Addressing risk and compliance objectives
  • Providing secure anywhere access to cloud-based applications
  • Helping accelerate the development and introduction of new products and services
  • Enabling smart buildings and campuses
  • Using IoT in novel ways

A Widening Scope of Management

The convergence of networking tools and platforms combined with key cloud operating model features makes cloud-driven automation and visibility possible across a company’s entire network architecture. For NetOps and SecOps teams, it’s a game changer.

End-to-end traffic data fuel network insights, more integrated workflows, and better collaboration between teams. It opens a wider view of the enterprise network through centralized management. Network lifecycle management activities like updating an image, rolling out new features, fixing security vulnerabilities, and similar tasks can be automated and scaled. A simplified IT experience frees engineers and admins to do more innovative work instead of mundane tasks. It’s an antidote to the complexity and spiraling volumes of work besieging IT professionals today.

Learn more about how Cisco Networking Cloud delivers unified experiences and simplified IT.


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