Networking giant Cisco’s strategy for the SMB market is to eliminate complexity from the customers’ end
Cisco Systems, Inc. is one of the major vendors catering to the IT needs of the small and medium businesses (SMBs) with a focus on networking products, unified communications, integrated services router (ISR), smart business communications system and the like.
Over the years, the SMB market has assumed greater importance for this networking giant, and the company has planned release of a range of new products for the segment.
R. Dhamodaran, senior vice president, Channel Operations and Commercial Strategy, Cisco India & SAARC, talks about how Cisco is helping SMBs adopt communications products.
R. Dhamodaran: In addressing the communication needs of Indian SMBs, Cisco has played a leading role in redefining the network and its capabilities through its Smart Business Communications architecture. With the integration of the Cisco Smart Business Communication architecture and portfolio of Cisco Unified Communications products and applications that are designed to work better together, companies of all sizes can realize possibilities that simply did not exist before.
Cisco’s Smart Business Communications provides a holistic, network-based approach to business and technology integration for Indian SMBs. Cisco developed this framework to create an enhanced business process and communications experience based on the network as a platform.
CIOL: What is your projection for Unified Communication Systems among SMBs? Do you foresee an increase in spending?
Dhamodaran: Yes, we are definitely seeing an increase in UC spending by Indian SMBs and the market is set to grow even more. However, in order to effectively tap this segment, it is important that vendors develop customized solutions, which offer a cost-effective and easy to deploy alternative.
The Cisco Unified Communications system strengthens connections to securely provide better, more natural collaboration; quicker decision making; reduced communications bottlenecks; and improved overall efficiency. With more informed, responsive customer service, organizations can improve customer loyalty, sales, and profitability.
Q: In your view, are Indian SMBs robust enough in their communications network (including telecom products) that helps in business growth?
Dhamaodaran: Over the past couple of years, SMBs have begun to realize the strategic value of investing in robust networking and communication infrastructure. However, they do have unique challenges whether it’s decreasing costs, increasing efficiency or boosting customer satisfaction.
Cisco’s strategy for the SMB market is to eliminate complexity from the customers’ end. This includes design of products that provide plug and play capabilities and providing services such as remote management that will be provided by our partners. This will ensure that customers are oblivious to the complexity of the technology and they can focus on their core business, rather than technology, which is an enabler. These products and services will also ensure that customers can avoid investing in costly manpower to manage these systems at their end.
In addition, as mentioned above, Cisco provides customers with leasing and financing options that simplify the process of technology acquisition and also protects customers from technology obsolescence.
Also, we focus extensively on training our partners so that they in turn can communicate the business benefits of our products to our SMB and mid-market customers such as better ROI and ease of use.
Q: Cisco has launched a number of products like Smart Business Communications System (SBCS) etc. What new products can SMBs expect from Cisco?
Dhamaodaran: Yes, there are various products that are planned for the SMB segment and will continue innovating. Cisco recently launched a Smart Care Service designed to help small and medium-sized businesses (SMBs) in India to simplify network maintenance through regular, proactive network assessments, remote software repairs and technical support. Based upon a collaborative approach to delivering services, Cisco Smart Care Service combines the complementary strengths of Cisco and its channel partners to proactively verify that a customer’s network is secure, reliable and functioning optimally at all times. Cisco Smart Care Service improves the long-term competitiveness of SMBs by helping them address the business challenges of today while maximizing the future potential of their technology investments.
Q: Which are the verticals where you see SMBs are liberal in spending on IT/communication products/telecom? Which are the new verticals Cisco is aiming to tap?
Dhamaodaran: Financial services and IT/ITeS industries have been the early adopters of networking technology, which could be attributed primarily to their unique regulatory requirements and quality of service (QoS) needs. Cisco is aggressively tapping industry verticals such as Banking, Retail, Healthcare, and Manufacturing apart from IT sector. We leverage our networking expertise to combine UC solutions along with wireless and security applications for enhanced productivity and business benefits.