Those pressures will only increase as new technologies like cloud, collaboration, and mobility create a workforce that is connected to the enterprise 24/7, said Cisco chief technology officer Padmasree Warrior during a keynote presentation Tuesday at the Interop IT Conference and Expo in Las Vegas.
"CEOs now expect IT to provide profitable growth and business agility," said Warrior. "The role of the CIO is changing."
Warrior said the convergence of the cloud and mobility will drive new, collaborative work styles that will combine conventional text and messaging tools with heavy doses of real-time video. "The number one priority for CIOs over the next few years will be video," said Warrior, adding that online video usage is expected to quadruple over the next two years.
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As cloud technologies progress, CIOs will have to focus on more than just keeping employees connected, they'll also have to ensure that their company's products and facilities can access real-time analytics and talk to each other--sending messages when inventories are low or leveraging data to predict malfunctions. "The Internet of things is already here," said Warrior.
While facilitating new business models, and giving CIOs a louder voice in the executive suite, these trends will also add considerable pressure to traditional areas of IT responsibility such as the network and security. "This creates a foundational requirement for risk management," said Warrior.
At the same time, she noted, CIOs are expected to facilitate these new paradigms, securely, in a cost-conscious environment. Warrior said overall IT spending is expected to remain flat or down for the next several years.
Cisco is reacting to these new demands by rethinking its approach to the network. In an age of what Warrior called "immersive collaboration," networks need to have visibility, awareness, security, agility, and manageability. One approach Cisco is taking to ensure its products embody these attributes is its adoption of the Software Defined Network (SDN). "We want everyone to think more holistically about SDN," said Warrior.
Cisco plans to incorporate the SDN concept into Cloud Connect, a new cloud networking platform it's rolling out this summer that's designed to more securely and efficiently link in-house data centers with cloud operations. Partners or in-house teams will be able to build third-party software applications that add custom or specialized capabilities to Cloud Connect.
Tailored solutions are just one of four principles that Cisco is taking in its approach to next-generation networking technologies, said Warrior. Open ecosystems, partnering, and innovation define the rest. "The pace of change will continue to be exponential," said Warrior.
Interop continues through May 10 at the Mandalay Bay Convention Center.
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