Today’s always-on digital world is driving the need for more digital infrastructure platforms and digital transformation. This is key to providing exceptional customer experiences, scaling growth, and remaining competitive. Conscia, a major European IT specialist in networking, cyber security, and cloud, is leading the way for businesses that are transforming their infrastructures to meet this challenge.
We sat down with Jeffrey den Oudsten, Chief Technology Officer at Conscia Netherlands, to get his insights and perspectives around Cisco+ Hybrid Cloud. Conscia is in a unique position of being both a customer of Cisco+ Hybrid Cloud as well as a Cisco partner.
Cisco: Jeffrey, thank you for meeting with us today. Tell us a little more about Conscia.
Jeffrey: Conscia Group started in 2003, and today we have approximately one thousand employees. We serve some of the largest organizations within financial services, healthcare, the public sector, manufacturing, utilities, and retail. With our highly skilled professionals we operate as a European ‘Network of Knowledge’, with presence in Denmark, Germany, Netherlands, Norway, Slovenia, and Sweden. We aim to be the best place to work in Europe for talented IT specialists with deep technical expertise.
Cisco: Describe the trends you’re seeing when it comes to cloud services, and how that affects the guidance you give your customers.
Jeffrey: We are seeing a big market transition around hybrid cloud. Customers are saying it, but so are the experts. A leading research firm says 83% of companies will have a hybrid cloud strategy by 2024. So, the world is evolving very quickly in that space, making it very important that we follow the latest developments and position ourselves to align with a cloud platform on which we can deliver infrastructure as a Service. That’s why we connected with Cisco. Cisco+ Hybrid Cloud is a great solution for our customers because they want to consume our services – our data services, infrastructure services, and they want a central point of contract.
Cisco: How would you describe Cisco+ Hybrid Cloud overall as a solution?
Jeffrey: Cisco+ Hybrid Cloud is about consumption-based use of IT. So, Cisco+ can be offered for not only hybrid cloud, but also for security and networking. We started using it with hybrid cloud first because we saw the application. But when we go to a customer with a solution, part of the solution is not only the technology and the services, but also the way they can use it. With Cisco+ we introduced a new way of ordering IT, moving away from the standard transacting with CapEx where customers would have to typically carry the burden of a large, upfront capital investment, which they partially utilize in the first years. Think of it like the way you put a plug in the wall to get energy. It can be the same for infrastructure that you want to consume, plus all the other things that come with it. SoSo, when you talk about consumption, you have a commit part, you have a dynamic part, but you also must consider pricing. You pay a little bit more, but you also don’t have the risk of the asset. Cisco assumes that risk for customers. So, when I consume, I pay for the consumption, but when the contract ends, I don’t have the assets and the expense that comes with them.
Cisco: Talk a little more about the risk of owning the actual assets, and how Cisco+ Hybrid Cloud solves for that.
Jeffrey: Traditionally, when starting a new business, a company needs to invest in equipment. But as I just mentioned, with the consumption model, you don’t need to invest up front and you don’t need to dispose of the hardware when you no longer need it, or its useful life has ended. If you are using a service provider and your contract ends or if your business isn’t growing as expected, under the consumption model, you can simply make adjustments to your consumption. Again, you are not stuck with hardware assets that you don’t need.
In addition, when you purchase hardware, it typically has a five– or six-year lifecycle, and you have yearly depreciation. Compare this to the consumption model, where you just have the monthly cost of consumption. What’s more, with the consumption model, fulfilling ongoing needs is more predictable. You can easily increase consumption without investing in additional equipment that you might not need or use long-term.
The cost of replacing or upgrading hardware is ever increasing, so the consumption model makes more sense. The traditional model entails more overhead in paying for, booking, and managing your equipment.
For companies that are embarking on a hybrid cloud journey, Cisco+ Hybrid Cloud provides the technology, insights, billing, contract, licensing—everything you need to work in this new model.
Cisco: Why did you choose Cisco+ Hybrid Cloud over another similar solution?
Jeffrey: Cisco’s strength comes from the richness of its ecosystem. The Cisco+ Hybrid Cloud solution allows us to integrate with other consumption driven technology Cisco partners such as NetApp into one scope to create a full solution. Cisco+ with CX Cloud provides me a single pain of glass for our usage and consumption for the whole stack. With Cisco + Hybrid Cloud, we can bring our customers on a platform that is scalable and ready for the hybrid cloud journey, complete with data and security.
Cisco: How do you see Cisco+ Hybrid Cloud helping with capacity management?
Jeffrey: In the past, IT administrators needed to manually track service usage within data centers. Now, with full– stack observability and CX Cloud, we can gain full visibility into the usage of our services, making it much easier for us to make decisions about our systems. Having these insights into your own environment is huge for capacity management. It also accurately aligns the business outcomes with your IT costs automatically, eliminating the need to manually track capacity usage.
Cisco: What would you say is the single biggest differentiator of Cisco+ Hybrid Cloud over a competitive solution?
Jeffrey: What sets Cisco+ Hybrid Cloud apart from competitive solutions is not only the great technology, but the CX Cloud portal around it. A lot of competitors have tried to deliver solutions as a whole- like compute, storage and networking. With its best-in-class technology, Cisco has the ability to work with partners and build a holistic ecosystem to offer the best solution there is- and that’s powerful. On top of that, the Cisco+ Hybrid Cloud solution allows me to enrich the solution with its front facing CX Cloud portal, that can work together with partners, such as the NetApp keystone program. This consumption model offers more, with full stack observability that enables the cloud and software businesses with other solutions. Simply put, as a customer with Cisco+ Hybrid Cloud, my outcomes are in line with my costs.
Cisco: What are your next steps with Cisco+ Hybrid Cloud? And what do you think about the future?
Jeffrey: From my perspective, the way companies buy IT is evolving because they want flexibility. To remain relevant in the industry, companies need to be continuously drilling for new resources, and the best way to do this is exploring new partnerships with technology leaders like Cisco. I’m confident this will set us up for success in the future because we will bring the agility and efficiency of hybrid cloud into our own data center. I believe companies need to be bold, not only in adopting new technologies but also in how they leverage them in this new digital era of how we use IT. At Conscia, it is our ambition to lead with innovation, and to practice what we preach. In this way, we can provide our customers with the best advice and service, based on our own experience and knowledge.
If you are attending Cisco Live in Las Vegas, you can hear Jeffrey speak live on this topic Monday, June 13, at 11:30 am in the session entitled Reduce Hybrid Cloud Costs with a Simplified, Predictable, and Intelligent Consumption Experience – PSOCLD-1011