Information & Communication Technologies

Notes from Cisco Asia-Pacific and Japan FY17 strategy briefing, Singapore

by Sapana Maheria 04 Nov 2016
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As “Disruption” becomes the new buzz word in the market, we are increasingly seeing business models change, and next generation solutions and services evolve. Vendors that dominated traditional markets for decades are now forced to focus on upcoming technologies to stay ahead of the competition in the market.

Cisco has been focusing in this direction and building capabilities in the new age technologies both organically as well as inorganically. The company made over 12 acquisitions in last one year and strengthened partnership with other ecosystem vendors like Apple. In their FY17 Cisco Asia-Pacific and Japan (APJ) analyst briefing held on 25th October in Singapore, it was interesting to see how Cisco is building capabilities to offer end-to-end expertise in enabling digital transformation while focusing on offerings across hardware, software as well as services. During the session they focussed on workspace transformation, enterprise security and next generation networking offerings in APJ.

Irving Tan, Cisco’s President for APJ business, opened the session with brief on the changing customer requirements and Cisco’s focus on building capabilities to position itself in the rapidly evolving market. Cisco has been developing their partner capabilities as they leverage the next generation technologies for new set of offerings. They have high focus on imparting training, and have initiated various programs for their employees as well as partner network. They are also investing in center of excellence to showcase their capabilities and new solutions offerings to potential clients and support in their journey of digital transformation.

To add to that Ruma Balasubramanian, VP Enterprise business and digital transformation, discussed about their FY17 initiatives including the digital transformation offices, innovation centers and vertical practices. She also shared client case studies showcasing the business impact of these solutions deployments. Cisco also arranged for live demo of workforce transformation solution by Darryl McKinnon, and leveraged virtual reality to showcase their security solution capabilities.

Security has been a key focus area for Cisco for long. It has made over seven acquisitions in the domain since year 2013. Cisco took a holistic approach to offer solutions securing enterprise networks, endpoints, mobiles, virtual and cloud environments. Cisco’s Talos provides verifiable and customizable defensive technologies and techniques to help customers quickly protect their assets. Cisco delivers effective security with solutions that are simple, open and automated with an integrated threat defences approach, which enables protecting assets everywhere against any threat seen just once anywhere.

As the definition of work is changing and we are heading towards workspace transformation, Cisco is building capabilities to serve the changing consumer requirements. It launched Cisco Spark to cater to the evolving needs of future workspaces keeping simplicity and agility at the core of their solution. It allows team meetings (audio/video/web), calls, messaging and content sharing on cloud. Some of the key features offered by the solution include:

  1. Smooth network handoffs to avoid disconnecting from the meeting when moving around. It also allows to switch devices without getting dropped.
  2. It allows the organization to prioritize the data flow on their network, making it easy to maintain the service quality.
  3. The solution is offered on subscription basis to clients; they can select from the modules available, basis their requirements and pay accordingly.
  4. Have included user centric features like data search and tracking meeting agenda. Cisco is taking the freemium model approach and offering these for free currently.
  5. To ensure data security, they even share the encryption keys with clients.

We believe the key to success in this market would be to quickly adapt to the changing employee preferences and behaviour to drive enterprise adoption. An average user has over 4 devices today and expected to grow to 6 by 2020. Solution providers would have to ensure that their offerings not only support multiple devices for ease of usage, but also ensure seamless and easy experience across devices.

Overall the sessions gave a good overview of initiatives undertaken by Cisco in APJ across technology areas to enable digital enterprises achieve their business objective. The company is taking a holistic approach to offer complete suite of solutions catering to the changing customer demand across verticals and positioning itself as a one stop shop.

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