Cisco’s winning ISA entry is a classic enterprise data warehouse overhaul, albeit on a larger than typical scale. The migration involved more than 300 FTEs including 150 ETL architects/developers, 75 BI architects/developers, 10 DBAs, 20 project managers and 20 SMEs. Over the course of the project, the user audience has evolved from 6,000 to more than 20,000 business users.

The new platform is a single scalable enterprise platform, a consolidated view accessible from multiple development environments with “dual-active” production systems for BI, populated with fresher data and mobile access/visualization. “Our business continuity layer is active so we have two production systems and we can access data anytime,” says Shankar Pagidimarri, IT manager, Cisco Systems. If one goes down the second is always available so users always get data. Most of our dashboards are available for mobile devices so they can access anytime, anywhere.”

Ticketed for enterprise-wide uses including strategic decision-making, productivity and customer satisfaction, the program initially targeted financial reporting and awkward monthly and quarterly close processes that had historically required “war room” staffing. Cisco claims a 40 percent reduction in the quarter end close process, $280K per quarter freed and $2 million cost avoidance of future investment in the old system. 

A newer benefit is available cross-functional enterprise views of data, which has allowed Cisco to realize improved cross sell and up sell for internal sales staff analyzing the behavior of channel partners. The company expects close to $2 billion in incremental revenue from cross sell/up sell visibility, and channel partners are getting improved visibility to their bookings and pipeline.

Cisco no longer staffs for quarter or month ends, and war rooms have been replaced by virtual teams in case anything goes awry. Dependable systems and increased query success have reduced the time and effort business needs to tend to deadlines generally, says Partha Padmanabhan, a Cisco IT architect deeply involved in the program. “Because of increased stability, a lot of business users are increasingly satisfied with performance and how the data is coming to them without any issues. That satisfaction is helping us to grow user adoption.” 

See all the 2012 Innovative Solution Award winners in our slide show.