Archive for September, 2020

Asset and Alert Management Made Easy with ServiceNow Service Graph Integration

When it comes to your network, we’re always looking to push the boundaries of what’s possible. We make great technology at Meraki—from our access points to security and SD-WAN, switches, smart cameras, MDM, and SaaS app performance products—but we know there is a universe of possibilities once you combine our products with other, third party technologies. We don’t want you to “stop there” when adopting Meraki, and that’s why we’ve focused so heavily on our Meraki Marketplace.

To date, we have over 90 technology partners on the Meraki Marketplace and 118+ prebuilt, turnkey applications for various use cases including Advanced IT, Proximity Marketing, Wayfinding and Mapping, and more. We’ve even recently been able to leverage this ecosystem of partners to provide 28 new apps in four COVID-19 related categories, enabling our customers to adapt and safely reopen in these tough times. 

This week we are excited to announce the release of another key application for Advanced IT on the Meraki Marketplace: a native integration with the ServiceNow Service Graph and Configuration Management Database (CMDB) through our Service Graph Connector for Meraki. This integration is part of the ServiceNow Service Graph Connector Program, a new designation within the Technology Partner Program. 

We recognize that many of our customers and partners look to ServiceNow for their leading IT Service Management (ITSM) capabilities and are excited to offer this integration to simplify management of Meraki devices in ServiceNow environments. This new, certified application will allow ServiceNow customers to easily integrate Meraki organization, network, and device data for Configuration Management Database (CMDB) synchronization and alert or incident creation. 

ServiceNow Service Graph, the next-generation system of record for digital products and services, addresses the entire technology stack from infrastructure to the application layer. It includes ServiceNow’s CMDB, the repository for all infrastructure, relationships and configuration management information. With Service Graph, IT organizations are empowered with a broad and deep data foundation for managing the entire lifecycle of digital products and services. In addition, it underpins all ServiceNow products, allowing customers to tie together technology components, people, and processes into a service-oriented view. This connected approach enables customers to leverage their existing CMDB investments to rationalize portfolios, automate development, streamline cloud and security operations, manage risk, and understand ROI, driving high-value business outcomes.

Learn more about the benefits this application can deliver to businesses from two of the project’s leaders.

“In our development of this application, we found that using this application helped to dramatically simplify asset and alert management for our enterprise customers and MSPs. We’ve received a lot of positive feedback already on the time and money savings this native integration provides – allowing teams to reallocate budget and effort that would have otherwise been spent building custom integrations between these two environments (ServiceNow and Meraki). This native, platform level integration is a demonstration of the commitment and maturity of our vision for the Meraki platform: to enable key integrations with market leading technologies to further simplify and optimize IT management,”

 – Cory Guynn, Lead Solutions Architect for this program at Meraki

 “ServiceNow is leading the future of work by creating great experiences for businesses. We are pleased to have Service Graph Connector to help further enhance satisfaction, build trust, accelerate time to value, and reduce risk for our joint customers.”

 – Jeff Hausman, Vice President and General Manager of IT Operations Management, Security, and CMDB, ServiceNow

 

If you are a ServiceNow customer (or not!), we hope you’ll check out the Marketplace to learn more about the Service Graph Connector for Meraki and other available applications! 

 

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Back to the Future of the Workplace

I thoroughly enjoyed hosting the first episode in a three-part webinar series with Cisco Meraki called “Behind the Network.” From my perspective, the pandemic shined a bright light on the need for not only networking scalability to support work from home, but also business resiliency and continuity planning. During my discussion with Chris Stori, who leads the overall Meraki business, and Lawrence Huang, responsible for product and solution delivery, we delved into several topics. The conversation focused on which industries have been most impacted by COVID-19, which tools companies need to stay ahead of it, and the future of the workplace. I want to double click into each of these areas, provide insights into what I found most compelling, and draw a lighthearted analogy to one of my favorite movies. 

 

Who is feeling the pain? 

I think we can all agree that COVID-19 has changed our lives in many ways. Its comparison to the Spanish Flu of 1918 is warranted, though there are noticeable differences that exist nearly 100 years later—specifically the internet and wireless connectivity in the form of Wi-Fi, LTE, and 5G. In our discussion, Chris, Lawrence, and I discussed some of the broader trends related to the response to COVID-19 with Meraki customers. To no surprise, verticals such as education, healthcare, brick-and-mortar retail, and manufacturing are struggling given the physical demands and workload requirements. Consequently, the million-dollar IT challenge seems to lie in supporting the same user experiences remotely. From my perspective, a new tool kit that blends video collaboration tools with more software-centric capabilities to deliver network automation for higher predictability and security for business-critical applications is critical. 

 

The work from home IT tool kit 

As a networking analyst, I often speak to customers directly about connectivity challenges. It was apparent to me during the peak of COVID-19 that mid-sized businesses, in particular, were ill-prepared to support remote work. The challenges spanned remote security, network and device management, and application access and support. During our conversation, Lawrence spoke to the need for simplicity and network automation to ensure the highest quality experience. I wholeheartedly agree and believe Meraki is delivering to this end with its investment in health and assurance, a robust ecosystem that includes location-based services capabilities, and an SD-WAN platform that is cloud-enabled and secure.   

 

What is the future of the workplace?

Is remote work here to stay? Companies such as Twitter have committed to supporting it indefinitely. More than likely, as COVID-19 infection rates decline, there will be a gradual return to the office with a balance of work from both home and office. During our last webcast session, Chris, Lawrence, and I discussed how Meraki customers embrace investment in new collaboration tools, such as Cisco WebEx, and improved home office setups and audio gear in light of the pandemic experience. A positive outcome from my perspective has been a revisiting of work-life balance, newly found productivity (something I can personally attest to given less time spent on airplanes), and the elimination of office commute time. How will this impact the future of the physical office? I believe it will result in the reduction of physical conference rooms, sustained use of video collaboration, broader adoption of location-based services, video recognition, and IoT sensors. Lawrence spoke to the latter in our session as a strategic consideration in the overall product roadmap development effort to help customers more intelligently manage office buildings. Meraki has also led the smart camera segment with its MV family of cloud-managed smart cameras, and I believe they will play a role in a safer return to the office.  

 

Final thoughts  

If you are a “Back to the Future” fan, you remember that the flux capacitor enabled Marty to travel through time in an attempt to change events for the better. It would be nice to have a piece of technology that does the same in light of COVID-19. However, networking infrastructure providers such as Meraki have stepped up in recent months to deliver solutions to bring businesses of all sizes the networking scalability, security, and business continuity they need. To this end, I am looking forward to participating in the second episode in the series on September 9, that will include Meraki customers from Australia Post, Regions Bank, and Tandem Health, and personal stories from around the world. It should be a great discussion, and if interested, please register for the event

 

Will Townsend is Senior Analyst responsible for Networking Infrastructure and Carrier Services at Moor Insights & Strategy. He has been featured on NPR, CNBC, in the Wall Street Journal, and frequently contributes to Forbes.com, providing insights into enterprise networking and 5G. Mr. Townsend is also ranked consistently as one of the world’s top networking analysts, as measured by ARInsights.

Moor Insights & Strategy provides industry research and analysis to the high tech industry. This blog was commissioned by Cisco Meraki.  Moor Insights & Strategy disclaims all warranties as to the accuracy, completeness, or adequacy of such information and shall have no liability for errors, omissions, or inadequacies in such information. This document consists of the opinions of Moor Insights & Strategy and should not be construed as statements of fact. The opinions expressed herein are subject to change without notice.