Sequential planning aids productivity

Productivity and business growth isn't just about linking the network to applications and processes but getting the sequence right, according to Cisco Systems' senior vice president of operations, processes and systems, Randy Pond.

"Sequence matters. Develop business processes before developing Internet applications to achieve 25 to 30 percent savings," he said.

"However, undertake Internet application development before business process development and savings are limited to 6 to 9 percent."

Delivering the keynote address at Cisco's Networkers 2004 conference in Brisbane yesterday, Pond defined the network’s role in productivity as “not just scalability”.

He signalled the company’s intentions to provide an “application-oriented” network that can achieve “breakaway productivity”.

“Today the possibility exists for a different value proposition and we need to make intelligence in networks transparent,” Pond said.

“We are already seeing convergence happen with integrated data, voice, video, and storage; this drives down complexity and TCO."

Pond said Cisco is still in phase one of a three to five year technology vision which will “encompass dynamic allocation of resources” and culminate with virtualisation of applications and services.

“The net impact of this is a sense of enablement on top of a sophisticated network infrastructure,” he said.

Pond also preached the need for Cisco to further streamline its business processes internally and reduce operating expenses to below 35 percent of revenue.

IDC Australia’s telecommunications research program manager Landry Fevre said Cisco was showcasing its ability for aligning IT with business requirements and not the other way around.

“This is in line with IDC's quarterly survey, the Australian Market Sentiment Monitor,” Fevre said. “The recurring top of mind theme for CIOs for their 2004 plans was business and IT alignment especially around the areas of productivity, customer service, and systems infrastructure.”

Fevre said Pond's keynote was a “freshener” in Cisco's approach to the marketplace, and “a stark change from the usual glossy façade”.

“It was good to see Cisco humbling a bit,” he said. “Cisco has grown at a very fast pace and it needed to take stock, reassess, and consolidate its position after so many acquisitions.”

Fevre said the best business process and practice emphasis should allow the company to get ready to attack its next growth phase.

“Cisco must remain innovative and competitive as many more nimble niche players are attacking their markets from many fronts, including their advanced technology group,” he said.

Rodney Gedda attended the Networkers 2004 conference in Brisbane as a guest of Cisco Systems.

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