Like many enterprises, Cisco inputs data into transactional systems within different functions such as Marketing, Sales, Commerce, and Services. Each function is rich with plenty of transactional data: leads from Marketing; opportunities from Sales; quotes, orders, and invoices from Commerce; and installed base support data from Services. Bringing together data from these transactional sources produces connected analytics. Connected analytics are fueling significant business outcomes for Cisco. For instance, this data has helped us identify million-dollar product refresh opportunities, and improve forecast accuracy and product bundling decisions.
Over the course of a year, we built a suite of connected analytics for Data Center business, which is responsible for Cisco Unified Computing System™ (Cisco UCS®) product lines and solutions. The suite presents analytics across four big company pillars: Engineering, Sales, Commerce, and Services. It’s powered by connecting data across vectors of product lines and offers, pipeline and quote conversions, bookings, margins and rebates, as well as installed base and coverage.
We identify redundancies, areas for greater efficiencies, and portions within systems that need to be enhanced or expanded. After these systems are connected, we’re able to pull data sets from all the functions into a single repository, giving us the ability to provide business users with an integrated, end-to-end transactional view. Insightful data are presented to users on centralized analytics dashboards, which can be tailored to the needs of a particular business unit or group.
Connecting data relies on virtualization. Whenever possible, we connect to the data from its respective virtual sources without having to do physical copy over. Data are sourced from our IT systems, factories, and customers. We support various types of data (machine, product, Enterprise Resource Planning, etc.). Data are also integrated and exchanged across networks.
In the first quarter using the UCS analytics dashboard, business clients identified US$19.3 million in UCS refresh opportunities. Insights gleaned from the dashboard helped identify additional opportunities that led to growth in Data Center bookings. Further insights into solutions tracking and component attach rates improved forecast accuracy and product bundling decisions.
These results are only the tip of the iceberg as the business continues to tap connected analytics for insights into all facets of the selling and purchasing process.