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The next phase of enterprise IT in Malaysia and APJ: CA Technologies interview

AvantiKumar | April 2, 2014
Developed in collaboration with Cisco, CA Technologies' new version of Network Flow Analysis delivers deep network visibility, which will allow CIOs to better contribute to business strategies, said CA Technologies' VP for APJ, Stephen Miles.

IT management solutions provider CA Technologies vice president, service assurance, APJ [Asia Pacific and Japan], Stephen Miles spoke with Computerworld Malaysia recently on the challenges currently faced by companies in Malaysia and the APJ region.

"APJ is now at that intermediary stage where there is greater awareness on the need to enhance the role of the CIOs to be beyond providing IT support to actually contributing to the overall business strategy," said Miles. He says that the new version of CA Network Flow Analysis {CA NFA) was developed in collaboration with Cisco to help forward-thinking CIOs by delivering deep visibility into the network, especially into application patterns and behaviours.

Stephen Miles - CA Technologies modified

Photo - Stephen Miles, Vice President, Service Assurance, APJ, CA Technologies



What are the top challenges facing your customers in Malaysia and APJ this year?

Consumerisation of IT, mobility and wide spread social media usage has created new complexities on devices, applications and data management as well as security. Our customers need to stay ahead of these new complexities.

Big data is an IT infrastructure problem as well as an opportunity for organisations to innovate. CIOs need to manage and harness big data today. According to a Gartner study on  Survey Analysis: Big Data Adoption in 2013 Shows Substance Behind the Hype, big data investments in 2013 continues to rise, with 64 percent of organisations investing or planning to invest in big data technology compared with 58 percent last year.

Big data has been gaining traction amongst IT organisations in Malaysia in the past few months as well, with efforts in place to not only invest in the development of the technology and infrastructure but also to attract talents and develop policies that support this growth.

This is complemented by efforts by the Malaysian government with its Big Data Analytics framework that is set to be announced this year and also efforts to create a steady pool of data scientists in Malaysia through collaboration with local institute of higher learnings. Furthermore, IDC estimated that the Big Data market in Malaysia closed at U$18.0 million in 2013 with an estimated YoY growth of 33.9 percent. Moving into 2014, the market is expected to grow at 34.4 percent reaching U$24.2 with a 5 year CAGR (2012 to 2017) estimated at 32.1 percent

Cloud and Software-as-Service (SaaS) have become a business norm.  As a result Identity management is becoming the new perimeters in the cloud. CIOs would need to focus on SaaS and cloud security.

The use of enterprise-specific applications will also be a key element in driving business growth. As a result, CIOs are faced with increasing pressure to build and deploy apps in a more efficient manner. CIOs need to cope with the blurring of traditional boundaries between app development and deployment.

Ultimately, there is no denying that the above trends will expand the role of the CIO. Nevertheless, whether or not it is a success will depend on the CIOs ability to convince top management on the importance of having an enterprise wide IT strategy that complements policies and technology investments, his awareness of the importance of his role and need to get the right talents to support him and the overall business and support ecosystem.  


In the light of these challenges, what was the strategy behind working with Cisco for this new version of CA Network Flow Analysis?

We are firmly committed to growing our presence in APJ by enabling enterprises to drive business growth through innovation. CA Network Flow Analysis gives network managers deep visibility into application traffic patterns and behavior.  The solution also makes it easy for network managers to create profiles for their organisation's custom applications.

The strategy behind leveraging Cisco's AVC (Application Visibility and Control) and NBAR2 (Next Generation Network-Based Application Recognition) technologies was to simplify and integrate the detection and analysis of application-specific traffic.  It also enables us to harvests data directly from network devices-making it more cost-effective to deploy, maintain and upgrade. CA Network Flow Analysis has received Cisco's Interoperability Verification Test (IVT) certification, validating its support for AVC.

CA NFA has been successfully implemented across many of our customers ranging across all sectors from financial, energy, telecommunications, government, retail and manufacturing. A survey of existing CA customers saw benefits in their business and organisations that included:

1. Increased customer satisfaction and loyalty
2. Better alignment of priorities and resources with business goals
3. Improved value and perception of network infrastructure and services
4. Increased staff productivity
5. Infrastructure cost savings

The improvements experienced were:
1. Improved problem resolution
2. Visibility into how well the network delivers applications to users
3. Network capacity planning
4. Informed infrastructure decisions
5. Validate the impact of change

The complexities created by the consumerisation of IT has made building awareness of applications and services one of the most important evolutionary expansions of network engineering and operations disciplines today. While the focus on application performance is well-deserved, underneath it all there's still a need to monitor and understand what flows across the network infrastructure, in order to deliver the expected level of performance of modern, mobility, and media-rich apps or content users have become accustomed to today.

CA NFA integration with Cisco AVC at the 'Management' layer greatly reduces the network footprint, simplifies network operations, and reduces total cost of ownership. The integration achieves enhanced application-awareness so that Network administrators can gain a much deeper insight into applications running in their networks and their performance characteristics, while applying policies to further improve performance and control of network resource usage.


What are forward-thinking CIOs doing and should be doing to stay ahead of the competition and how can evolving their understanding of enterprise IT support this aim?

APJ is now at that intermediary stage where there is greater awareness on the need to enhance the role of the CIOs to be beyond providing IT support to actually contributing to the overall business strategy.

Nevertheless, this perception is still not prevalent in many organisations. CIOs surveyed in many organisations feel that while they need to make IT a big part of the organisations' overall business strategy, many still struggle to successfully convince top management of this need.  

CA Technologies understand this challenge and we have been focused on garnering insights on this subject matter in order to raise awareness and empower CIOs to move forward. In 2012, CA Technologies published the "Future Role of the CIO: Digital Literacy report for Malaysia" which revealed the following

o Only 30 percent of CIOs feeling that their definition of their role was the same with other managers.
o CIOs' believe that other C-levels still did not understand the strategic role technology could play in their business.
o 66 percent believe that others saw the strategic importance of IT in the business.
o 75 percent felt that other senior executives did not understand its potential.
o 32 percent felt that the low 'digital literacy' of business leaders has led to missed business opportunities and low responsiveness.

We have another study coming out on the Changing Role of CIOs in April this year. We believe this will provide greater insights on whether or not there have been marked improvements in the perception and actual role of CIOs in APJ in general and in Malaysia in particular, in the coming year.


What is the typical profile of companies (Malaysia and other APJ countries) that have downloaded CA Network Flow Analysis and are actively using it?

We have a healthy mix of companies of all sizes. A lot of organisations have made CA Network Analysis their de facto tool to pinpoint active or potential issues with service delivery, plan and validate resource needs for new applications, optimize utilization of network resources, and avoid unnecessary infrastructure costs.   Most industries require an enterprise grade management solution and CA Network Analysis has become their go-to solution as a start.

T-Systems, a global IT services and consulting company headquartered in Germany, for example, uses CA Network Flow Analysis to provide application-centric monitoring as a cloud service for its customers. T-Systems ICT-Monitor extracts data without additional hardware in the customer environment and provides application response time for applications like SharePoint and others.


What does this innovative collaboration mean to the enterprise users in the APJ region?

CA Network Analysis makes it easy for network managers to create profiles for their organisation's custom applications. It empowers enterprise users to pinpoint active or potential issues with service delivery, plan and validate resource needs for new applications, optimize utilisation of network resources, and avoid unnecessary infrastructure costs.  
 
CA Network Flow Analysis complements these capabilities with patented anomaly detection that learns about the network over time and automatically detects and creates alarms for a wide range of anomalies that can impact performance and create security risks. This empowers IT to proactively safeguard critical service levels while reducing the cost and headaches associated with network troubleshooting.


You mentioned a growing application management trend? Could you elaborate on this and also share how CA Network Flow Analysis will be adapted to help meet this trend?

Enterprise IT organisations that don't aggressively evolve their ability to manage their networks from an application-centric perspective will inevitably wind up throwing too many staff-hours at service-level assurance and getting too little in return.  With CA Network Flow Analysis, customers achieve far superior results with less work-significantly enhancing IT's overall ability to deliver more value to the business.

CA Network Flow Analysis embraces CA Technologies application-driven network performance management model for managing IT infrastructure, applications and services.  

CA Network Flow Analysis embraces CA Technologies application-driven network performance management model for managing IT infrastructure, applications and services.  

Source: Cisco's Visual Networking Index:
In 2012:

  • Global mobile traffic grew by 70 percent over the previous year
  • More than 50 percent of total mobile traffic was attributed to video (YouTube, Netflix, etc.)
  • Not that long ago the debate was around whether "cloud" is just a marketing concept. Now we have a highly mobile workforce relying on a combination of enterprise IT supported apps as well as Cloud apps like Dropbox and Salesforce. --- According to the report, we expect more than 74 percent of mobile traffic to be traffic generated by users accessing cloud apps.

 

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