Cisco Outlines Key Steps for Digitisation to Help South African Organisations Become IoT Ready"

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Cisco Unveils Digital Acceleration Strategy and Emphasizes Importance of Shift towards Security Becoming a Strategic Business Process


Johannesburg, November 30, 2015: Cisco has outlined the vital key steps that organisations in South Africa will need to implement in order to become fully digital to embrace the Internet of Things (IoT) era.
According to the Cisco Digital Vortex: 941 leaders whitepaper most organisations are not ready to adopt digitisation. The findings show that:

  • Only 1 in 4 leaders globally, say they are being sufficiently proactive about digitisation. This means that only 25 percent describe their approach to digital disruption as proactive—willing to disrupt themselves in order to compete.
  • Likewise, digital disruption is not seen as worthy of board-level attention in about 45 percent of companies (on average across industries).
  • In addition, 43 percent of companies either do not acknowledge the risk of digital disruption, or have not addressed it sufficiently.
  • Nearly a third are taking a “wait and see” approach, in hopes of emulating successful competitors.

South Africa’s approach to digitisation therefore needs to change. The IoT should be part of every business discussion as digital transformation can drive operational efficiency, increase employee productivity, garner greater customer loyalty and create new revenue streams. As digitisation accelerates, cutting edge infrastructure will increase the country’s GDP, reduce spending and create jobs. It will allow the government to extend the reach and impact of public services by converting insights into action. It will enable new and diverse groups of entrepreneurs to build businesses that will shape the world, whilst providing more accessibility and opportunities for education and technology-based careers. As a result, it will ensure that countries become more competitive on the global stage. Having the right digital ecosystem in place will be a necessity to achieve any of these things.

Cisco Unveils Country Digital Acceleration Strategy:

Cisco’s Country Digitisation Acceleration (CDA) strategy is a long-term commitment to a partnership with national leadership, industry and academia to deliver real outcomes faster and more effectively. It aims to accelerate the national digitisation agenda to grow GDP, create new jobs and invest in a sustainable innovation ecosystem across public and private sectors.

At the core of the strategy are 4 key components for successful digitisation:

1. Research & Education:

o NetAcad and Cisco Learning: Creating a more educated workforce, in the latest technologies and practices such as the Internet of Everything, capable of driving digital transformation. Intellectual property Development: fostering a culture of innovation through investments in research and University Chairs.

o The Cisco Networking Academy: With skills development in mind, Cisco South Africa offers tailored training and mentorship programmes to accelerate to intake of skilled networking employees within the workforce. Cisco's Networking Academies prepare students for entry-level ICT jobs in partnership with the South African government. Since 1999, Cisco has invested approximately R100 million in training over 34 000 South African students in a variety of ICT skills, through 64 Cisco Networking Academies.

2. Entrepreneurship & Innovation:

o Optimised Commercialisation Process: Taking innovations from idea to proof-of-concept to full product commercialisation

o Venture Capital Investments: Cisco will work with internal, national and international venture capital entities to provide multi-stage funding for global technologies.

o Acquisitions: Potentially acquire leading and innovative companies, adding to Cisco’s 176 acquisitions since 1993.

o Innovation Ecosystem: Cisco professionals will mentor start-ups through the ideation process and hold national innovation prize competitions and hackathons to further develop the most promising and marketable technologies that will drive economic, environmental and social innovation. An example of an innovative big data-driven disruptive project in South Africa is the Square Kilometre Array (SKA) project. When completed, the SKA telescope will produce data on a scale the world has never seen before. Cisco has invested close to R68 million, the largest single investment into any one project made to date globally.

2. Economic Clusters :

o Global Distribution Channels: Through the Cisco Country Digitisation Acceleration partnership, new and established businesses will gain access and export opportunities to markets worldwide through Cisco’s global distribution channels.

3. Infrastructure :

o Building an infrastructure that gives citizens access to the finest healthcare, city services, education, entertainment and many other areas – all in a highly secure environment.

Country Digital Acceleration Strategies underpinned by end-to-end cyber security solutions

Any business that embarks on a digital strategy should underpin that strategy with end-to-end cyber security solutions. With security issues surrounding the Internet now the number one priority in the digital era, more and more organisations in South Africa are increasingly seeing the value of adopting an end to end security approach that is as pervasive as the Internet of Everything (IoE) itself. Businesses should embrace the shift towards security becoming a strategic business process.

Findings from the most recent Cisco Midyear Security Report reveal that cyber-attacks are becoming even more sophisticated as adversaries seek to be innovative in their approach to accessing networks undetected. An example of a key driver in security breaches is the reality that most apps developed are not secure by design as many developers use open source components, which result in vulnerabilities.

Cybersecurity solutions need to protect not just networks and devices, but also critical applications and data. Identity-based user and device authentication is critical to securing applications and data across mobile and cloud deployments.

Security is an important discussion within organisations and government bodies. While those discussions continue to evolve, it is important to note that threats to smarter and efficient operations exist right now.

Executive Quotes:

Cathy Smith, General Manager for Cisco South Africa

“As new industries emerge, spurred by smart investments in technology, the development of skills and talent will be critical for the economic success of the continent. Cisco is committed to working with governments and organisations in South Africa to help develop ICT skills and support job creation. Countries and organisations that do not drive their own digital business transformation will be left behind. Those that do will be pulled toward a ‘digital center’ in which business models, offerings, and value chains are digitised, driving new revenue streams and substantive business outcomes. To be ready for this digital transformation, organisations need to transform their business strategy and IT, connect everything, embrace analytics, and secure their technology and operations. Cisco is the only strategic partner with the solutions, people, partners, and experience to help move clients from traditional to digital and beyond.”

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