Cisco engineers are frequently building and using tools that make them more effective at their jobs. Typically these solutions give way in a few years to new tools as the needs of Cisco and its customers shift. It’s remarkable for a tool to last longer, even decades, but that’s exactly what Network Profile has accomplished, leaving an ongoing legacy and model for foundational and enduring innovation.
2022 marks 20 years since the launch of Network Profile (NP) in Advanced Services. NP ingests data collected from customer networks and processes it through rules and engines to reveal intelligence about current or potential network issues. The tool generates reports that are very valuable for customers as they look to minimize risks, streamline costs, and scale efficiently, enabling billions of dollars of CX Services revenue and customer productivity along the way.
NP was a gamechanger for Advanced Services. Within 24 hours, the tool made it possible for Cisco consultants to identify a best practice, apply it as a rule across millions of devices for thousands of customers, and proactively notify those customers where they had a risk or optimization opportunity. NP’s impact has expanded beyond Business Critical Services by accelerating additional CX Service offers like SmartNet Total Care and Success Tracks, as well as many internal adoption and readiness initiatives.
As someone who was part of the development of NP from the start, I had the privilege of working with hundreds of brilliant engineers who had the forethought to build a tool that would be flexible and adaptable to future customer and business needs. Recently I met with colleagues who were involved with NP in its earliest days to reflect together on what made NP so impactful and what innovators can take away from our experience:
“What was visionary at the time was turning ad hoc network data collection into a continuous telemetry feed for multiple engines in parallel that could summarize key changes and identify problems,” says Sumit Nandy, Director of Software Engineering, one of the tool’s founders. As one of the patent holders for the tool, Sumit validates the importance of protecting our Intellectual Property for our creations at Cisco. “It’s satisfying to see a patent heavily used and generating revenue for Cisco for years,” he says.
“We sought to create tools by engineers, for engineers,” says Brett Dunstan, Principal Architect, a key innovator of NP applications. “As consulting engineers, advocating for customers on a daily basis, we had the clearest view of their needs and the opportunity to provide the most value.”
“What consistently motivated me was knowing that every contribution would immediately have an impact across all customers,” says Chris Camplejohn. “Being a trusted advisor requires that insights are high quality, accurate, and actionable, every time. NP made it possible to sustain that credibility with living sources of truth that customers could trust for years.”
Network Profile became one of the most impactful tools in CX as Cisco innovators reused the code and built on top of the platform:
This graphic shows the growing customer impact of Network Profile technology (green) and Service Offers (blue) in the 20 years since its launch.
Industry thought leaders, including the TSIA, predict that our future will be guided by simplifying digital customer experiences. With this in mind, the lifecycle capabilities we built for NP have been adapted to break down barriers between organizations and offers, enable new self-service options for customers in CX Cloud (Assets, Advisories & Insights), and integrate with products like Cisco DNA Center.
As I work on building the next great service technologies, I ask myself how I and my colleagues can replicate the impact of Network Profile. How can we engage the ecosystem of experts or citizen developers to help us solve customer challenges? How can we build capabilities in a flexible, modular way that is ready for multiple consumption models? These questions will only become more essential as products, services, and customer success become more seamlessly integrated with our customers’ business processes.