Tell us a bit about yourself, Yves.

I work as a client solutions executive within the Data Centre and Virtualisation (DCV) group, based in Switzerland, where I have been at Cisco 11 years, 4 years in areas close to DCV. I am passionate about everything happening right now around cloud and data centre transformation. Cisco has made a significant impact within this space [and is] now being recognised as a serious player.

What role do you play?

My role is to advise customers on their options around their new challenges and needs within the data centre. I am seeing a lot of our customers demanding standardised and consolidated environments, with a big push to get over 90 percent of their IT infrastructure virtualised by the end of this year. Another driver is that we are seeing businesses wanting better application productivity and availability, and for the business to be more mobile so that it does not matter anymore where your datacentre is located.

What are the challenges you see in customer data centre environments?

There is a real convergence happening now, with the business really driving what IT delivers and a focus on the business needs as a whole. Businesses see IT as important, but sometimes delivery on projects is either underwhelming, has been oversold, or does not match the set expectation. 

With the advent of the cloud, it means the business may be able to bypass their own IT by consuming services directly. In Cisco Services, we bring these two disparate elements, private cloud and public cloud, back together to provide a holistic view of a data centre’s capability. 

The main question is: How can I leave the past behind, without disrupting current IT services being delivered to the business?

What advice do you give customers?

In my role, I advise on what can be achieved within the data centre — by bringing both the business and IT together, working towards a future state as a blended IT service, with the expectation set at the outset. I see a lot of businesses who are not investing in technology or their data centre — for example a major car manufacturer who did not invest, and they have paid the price as they are now not able to compete in a highly competitive market. This hesitancy in infrastructure investment is largely caused by the fear behind the financial issues in Europe. However, companies are now facing the consequences, as they are not innovating and ultimately they are late to market, putting them at a major disadvantage. In turn, this will have a longer-term consequence. Putting your head in the sand and hoping the problems will go away is not a good option in economically difficult times!

How do companies try to get the most out of their budget?

Most companies I talk to are facing some form of financial challenge.

Fixed budgets, especially those in IT, are not increasing or are being reduced. At the same time, markets are becoming more competitive and businesses are challenged to become more agile with the need to get to market quicker.

IT has a duty to support these business departments, but must do so within these budget constraints, and consequently there are newly emerging models based on cloud consumption which provides more flexibility, can be more cost effective, and is faster to adopt.

What do you see as being the next “big thing”?

Mobility and enabling employees to be more connected and agile is the big thing right now. You would think this would not affect the data centre, but in reality mobile devices still need the data centre to provide access to the applications, and also a new degree of flexible accessibility through firewalls and security protocols.

As an example, one transportation company announced recently it is providing their employees with iPads, to enable a mobile workforce, but the company still need the data centre to enable this move. The data centre has to be enabled as part of this transition; otherwise the investmentwould prove worthless as devices would not be able to access corporate systems.

The iPad could become an expensive toy, not a valuable work asset. The proliferation of devices in the workplace mean there is more emphasis on security, computing power andavailability and rather than keep adding more and more computing power or increasing the size of the infrastructure, virtualisation is a key enabler. The interesting thing here is that IT has traditionally been siloed into storage, compute, backup, applications, power, and importantly the network, all as separate compartments and virtualisation affects all these areas, and this in turn drives complexity. It’s vital if a business wants to innovate like this, they need to engage a trusted expert advisor.

Why Cisco Services?
Why Cisco Services?

When a customer engages Cisco Services, we really want to understand the business objectives and work out a plan aligned to the customer’s business goals.

We provide specialist advice and enable our customers to gain competitive advantage for their business through technology, with innovative ways to work and new offers for their respective clients. 

Cisco Advanced Services is privileged to have some of the industry’s leading experts with years of experience. In working with our customers, we can assist by building a strategy, producing a comprehensive plan, executing on that plan, and then providing comprehensive day 2, on-going support and management services.

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