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Hokuriku Computer Service is a community-based ICT company, based in the Hokuriku region of Japan, that provides package services nationwide. They introduced Cisco Catalyst Center (formerly Cisco DNA Center) when renewing their network and deploying company-wide wireless LAN. They are proceeding with various initiatives incorporating Cisco solutions in order to apply advanced network and operation management know-how to their customers’ businesses.
Customer Name: Hokuriku Computer Service Co., Ltd.
Industry: Technical services
Number of Employees: 704
● Improve the wireless LAN network in conjunction with the replacement of equipment
● Need to review the manual work required for network monitoring and operation
● Cisco Secure Network Analytics (Stealthwatch)
● Reduced the time to resolve problems by one to two days
● Easier to determine the cause of wireless LAN authentication errors
● Reduced workload by automating OS and patch updates
● Utilization of in-house construction and operation know-how for deployment to business
This is what Masahiro Hosokawa, senior expert, management and system planning group leader, and PR planning group leader of the integrated planning division at the corporate headquarters, had to say about the company’s recent decision to reform its network using Cisco Catalyst Center. “We needed to renew the equipment due to the deterioration of the company’s network, so with that and free addresses in mind, we constructed a company-wide wireless LAN environment that included hubs. We also needed to increase the number of components as well as review the network monitoring and conventional manual workability in operation management, so we considered the introduction of Catalyst Center.”
Fumihiro Takai, manager of the network solutions department of the information services headquarters, said this about the issues the company had faced in the past: “We had difficulty understanding what was occurring using our company’s network devices, so when malfunctions occurred, isolating the issues and resolving them took a lot of labor and time. In addition, the company’s network systems engineer was in charge of internal network operations. He also had the role of providing customer support, so the burden placed on him was huge. Above all, he had to come in to work during late night hours or on holidays to manually perform version upgrades, patch applications, and configuration changes for network devices. It was a great burden. Also, we also faced the issue of having few engineers who were well-versed in wireless LAN.”
Assessing the highly integrated manageability of a wired and wireless Catalyst Center
Takai says the reason for selecting Catalyst Center was its high manageability. “It can visualize the performance of wired and wireless networks without combining multiple products, and it can comprehensively manage not only devices, but also purchased licenses. It is excellent at dealing with security risks. In addition, we decided to introduce it with an eye on the possibility of using its track record regarding its introduction in our company, as well as the know-how in businesses for customers. With the recent revisions, being able to effectively utilize the advantage license included in the newly introduced device was also a deciding factor. By introducing Catalyst Center, we looked forward to being able to detect signs, implement proactive operations, and avoid dealing with malfunctions after they have occurred as we had done in the past.”
Successfully completed construction with generous support from Cisco
During the introduction, the company actively participated in technical support seminars like “Ask the Expert” and “TSW (Technology and Services World).” The company learned in detail about the functions and configuration methods for Catalyst Center from its outline. “Not only Catalyst Center, but also L2/L3 switches (Cisco Catalyst 9000 series), wireless LAN controllers, and access points (Cisco Catalyst 9800L/9120 AXI) are the latest products that support Wi-Fi 6, so their screen layouts and configuration methods are different from those of conventional devices. We were also confused about the design and construction, but thanks to support that was more generous than expected, such as Q&A correspondence and adjustment support with TAC (Technical Assistance Center), from the Cisco high touch sales and presales engineers as well as their Customer Success Team, we were able to complete them successfully,” said Takai.
Regarding the effects of Catalyst Center’s introduction, Takai said, “By displaying the details of error sources at the time problems occur, the time it takes to resolve issues has been shortened by 1 to 2 days, which made it extremely fast. Regarding wireless LAN, location information could be visualized in addition to the radio wave intensity and quality, and package captures could be performed even without special equipment, so it is easy to specify causes when responding to authentication error inquiries from employees. In addition, version updates, patch applications, and configuration changes for network devices could be automated on a schedule, so tasks performed by hand in the past such as distributing IOS and upgrading late at night or on holidays could now all be executed automatically with scheduling. In terms of man-hours, this cut back about 2–3 man-days.” He also said, “As for solutions when an event occurs, we could now use proposed functions and health check functions to identify signs and events that we did not notice in the past. Once we used them, we did not want to return to the previous management methods anymore. I feel that it is a tool that is better than I expected. It is simple enough that anyone can easily understand it, and it also provides information that professionals want to investigate thoroughly.” In addition to introducing a company-wide wireless LAN through the recent network reforms, the company is also concurrently utilizing Cisco Webex® Meetings and Devices. It is also testing free addresses and is ambitious about its business mobility, collaboration promotion, and working method reforms.
“I think the fact that we recently introduced Cisco Catalyst Center, which customers are really interested in, to our company and acquired operational know-how ahead of other companies will be of great significance to future business for the company.”
-Yoichi Nishimura, Executive officer and director of information services headquarters
“From the beginning, we were able to support the telework that resulted from the spread of the unanticipated COVID-19 pandemic, as well as the sudden increase in web conferencing with customers and clients without any problems. We experienced new work style effects,” said Hosokawa. Executive officer and head of the information services department Yoichi Nishimura wrapped things up with the following regarding this project’s value and future expectations. “I think the fact that we recently introduced Catalyst Center, which customers are really interested in, to our company and acquired operational know-how ahead of other companies will be of great significance to future business for the company. In addition, we are currently trying to visualize and optimize communication using Cisco Secure Network Analytics, as well as create an office environment that uses Cisco Spaces (formeraly Cisco DNA Spaces) location information to avoid density. We are utilizing this knowledge in proposals aimed at achieving goals, as well as resolving customers’ issues, and we want our company’s strength to be in its ability to provide one-stop support, from introduction to operation. Furthermore, we are also providing it as an added value service for our company’s data center connection network, and we want to improve our customers’ security as well as link this to increasing competitiveness as an added value for our company. I hope that Cisco continues to develop local small-to-medium scale services that customers can use easily, as well as providing tools that support sales activities in addition to providing advanced solutions.”