Cisco Launches 'Next-Generation' Services Powered By AI

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Cisco Systems is launching a slew of new "next-level" services aimed at giving its partners a leg up against the competition. The services are powered by artificial intelligence and machine learning that Cisco says will anticipate IT failures, mitigate risk and reduced maintained costs for businesses.

"These are next-generation services," said Kent MacDonald, vice president of business development at Long View Systems, a Calgary, Alberta-based top Cisco partner. "There's a growing demand for simplicity and reduction of complexity. Cisco is addressing it with these Business Critical Services, where you're kind of hitting the easy button."

Cisco's new subscription-based Business Critical Services (BCS) will deliver professional services with more capabilities – including analytics, automation, compliance, and security – than a typical network optimization software package. BCS accelerates business agility by prioritizing infrastructure and application recommendations, according to Cisco's services leader Joe Cozzolino.

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The overall aim is to help partners provide recommended updates to applications and infrastructure upgrades more efficiently. Cozzolino said customers currently purchase an individual SKU for each optimization offer, whether it be in Cisco security, collaboration, data center or network optimization.

"The Business Critical Services is a single platform that allows a customer to now take any, or all, of those optimization capabilities and flex it," said Cozzolino, senior vice president for Cisco Services, adding that nearly 80 percent of all Cisco optimization services go through the channel.

Cisco is also launching a cloud-based dashboard, dubbed the Wake-Up Dashboard. "It's continuously running. It's continuously probing the network. It's an insight engine that connects all aspects of the Cisco products in the network – I don't care if that's security firewalls, threat protection, the physical network itself – we actually run the analysis diagnostic," said Cozzolino.

The services also provide automated compliance and remediation services, coupled with security including incident response for threat protection. All of those services running together keep Cisco-powered networks humming along, and partners benefit from the combination of monitoring, optimization, and proactive fixes. The company said the new services, on average, reduce downtime by 74 percent, resolve issues 41 percent faster and reduce operational costs by 21 percent.

"Having a tool that helps you consolidate that into one view that drives the monitoring and performance enhancements is something that customers are going to have an appetite to consume," said MacDonald. "Customers don't want to deal with outages."

Cisco piloted BCS with one of its large bank customers. Through predictive analytics, Cisco was able to predict 32 hours in advance that a major outage was going to happen because of the dissimilarities in software revisions in different products, according to Cozzolino.

"We're moving from what was reactive and proactive, to actually predictive. That's the key thing. It's moving to that domain where we can predict problems before they happen and resolve them before it happens," said Cozzolino. "That's a next-level service."

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