In an exclusive interaction with IDG Media, Daisy Chittilapilly, MD, Digital Transformation Office (DTO) for Cisco India and SAARC, highlights the opportunities and challenges associated with connected networks. According to Chittilapilly, enterprises must extend digital transformation to include all functions and divisions.
“IT can't stay in closeted spaces and it has to be pushed towards the edge of the enterprise, into all functions and divisions,” says Chittilapilly.
She explains that the way businesses manage and allow devices to connect has largely been manual, but this way of managing networks will not work for the future.
The convergence of IT and OT
To keep up with the technological changes, information technology (IT) and operational technology (OT) relationships are changing rapidly as the networks are expanding seamlessly. In fact, according to Chittilapilly, there has to be a convergence of IT and OT network devices, particularly in sectors such as manufacturing.
“The IT has been pushed out into remote places at a scale and speed it's never done before. Digital requires the convergence of IT and OT worlds at speed. Networks which merely connect IT devices is like a walk in the park compared to networks which have to manage not just IT devices but also connected things like cameras, cranes, lights and others,” Chittilapilly points out.
Managing data at scale
Thanks to the industrial internet of things (IIoT), manufacturers are collecting more data than ever before. However, that data is only as valuable as the decisions it can support.
One of the biggest challenges for the modern-day CIO is to get actionable insights from the plethora of data collected through connected devices in the network. In this context, data management becomes a top priority for IT departments, explains Chittilapilly.
“Because it's going to throw data at you at speed, you have to think about the data fabric. This is something which the CIO never had to consider earlier. How much data to collect, what to do with that and where to store that data. And it's not just about gathering data and bringing it all into a fabric, there also needs to be a degree of standardization,” she says.
The rise of intuitive networking
While the networks are expanding rapidly, Daisy Chittilapilly believes that to keep up with the vast amount of data generated by connected devices, networks need be automated and intelligent in order to function well. This requires creating an infrastructure which is also intuitive using automation and programmability.
She says that although intuitive networking should be the end goal, most enterprises currently are still taking the baby steps of merely connecting IoT devices to their network.
“The high scale of enterprise networks today means you need a degree of automation, a degree of intuitiveness in the network. We are very focused on automation and programmability in this space, and that's the fundamental ethos behind our networking conversation,” she points out.
Cisco's role in network innovation
According to Chittilapilly, Cisco is working with organizations across various industry verticals, ranging from manufacturing to healthcare, to drive digital transformation and enhance operational efficiency using its networking solutions, both hardware and software.
“We spend a lot of time and effort building next-gen products as part of intuitive networking. We have newer products coming out at speed in the hardware and software networking space. We are also augmenting with things which we think will give us the next-gen edge in networking,” says Chittilapilly.