“There are more than 50,000 potential SMB customer for Cisco” “Our Key focus area is the smart cities” —Vivotek
What is Cisco’s play with the SMBs in India?
Cisco is focused more on customers and partners because obviously we sell everything through our partners. Today the way we look at the market is that there are 51 millions, SMBs today and out of which there are at least 5 million which have some level of IT propensity into and that’s sort of become our first go to customer places as others are still working on their IT penetration. About 38 % of the GDP comes from the mid market customers and more than 46 % comes from exports. It is a very significant business for India and for other SAARC countries as well. Today we do business with about 25000 to 30000 customers in this segment and the big goal that we really have is how we really triple our customers over the next 3 years. If I further slice and dice the market, there are more than 50,000 potential customers based on various studies. What is important is that there are 50000 plus customers who are IT savvy and they have more than 100 to 150 employees.
What are the verticals amongst SMBs in which Cisco has made its presence felt?
We are present in Education, retail, Manufacturing, banking and finance and ITes or the services companies. These 5 will be the biggest industries in the SMB space and will cover about 75 to 80 % of the space.
What is Cisco START and what has been its uptake in the Indian market?
We launched a new digital solution offering in India and SAARC, called as Cisco START. We looked at what are the needs of start-ups and we sort of customized that and packaged that into a solution where we will help you to get on to a network in a secured way. So security is built-in, the switches, routers which are required are also built-in into that. The collaboration software which is required is also built into that.
The other thing that we really looked at was how easy it is to approach and how easy it is to deploy. The maximum clicks that you need to buy the solution are 7 clicks. In 7 clicks you should be able to install this, get digital and within 10 minutes you should be up and running. So you don’t need to have specialized IT people which a large organization has. That’s how we customize it. We also packaged it at a price point that Indian customers are really looking at i.e. about $ 70 per user per month for a typical 50 user sort of organization.
We have seen a very good uptake of this solution and are happy to report that we have in the last 12 months, we have already sold this to 5000 plus customers in India and SAARC. We keep on fine tuning the offering based on customer’s feedback that we get. It has been a success for us and we plan to triple the number of customers over the next 3 years.
In which sector you have seen the maximum traction?
This is heartening to say that we have seen adoption of this in very typical Indian manufacturing houses which India is known for. Sectors, like manufacturing retail, have seen a huge uptake. In Education, we are beginning to see a rise in addition to the smaller financial organizations and the ITes companies. It is really heartening to see that Bharat organizations are beginning to adopt solutions like that.
What are the different partner enablement program and specific initiatives by the company?
We have the partner enablement program where we spend lot of money, time and energy and buy competencies. We have brought 4 architectures – enterprise networking, security collaboration and datacenter. Each one of them has a level of specialization by the partner sales or pre-sales person, with very nicely defined curriculums. We run a number of online courses, number of face to face training programs across vertical cities and we have a centralized team which runs that, so that the standards are sort of very tightly adhered too. That’s a huge enablement program that we run for these 2500 partners. These are people who are really helping us to reach out to multiple of these customers because what a customer is really looking is an easy access point near around them to be easy to use and if they need any help, they should be able to get the help either from Cisco or from the partners. That’s what we are doing on the partner’s side.
We have a big program called Cisco Networking Academy rolled out, where we are going and educating the students in the educational organizations so that when they come out, they are ready to deploy IT and any of the customers pick them up, they are ready to go and deploy. They also learn practical things, so we call it a network academic program. In India across 186 academies nationwide, we have trained 150,000 students since its inception through arrangements with educational institutions, public sector agencies, and nonprofit organizations. Students get trained on a curriculum which is prescribed by Cisco jointly in agreement with an educational department, so that when they become ready, they can deploy these systems.
Do you have any Digital marketplace?
We don’t have our own digital market place. One of our distributors has launched their own digital market place and we are supporting them and giving them all the support which is required. When I say digital I mean, we present digital in every single platform which is a third party platform, you know.
The way we look at the digitization drive is that there are two distinct parts to it. Why does every customer or most of the customers want to go digital? Because obviously they want faster go to market, they want to do better for their end customers, give them the speed, access and the facilities that they are offering. That’s why everybody is thinking digital, right. So on one side, we are we have made a huge investment into what we call a digital organization where we have come up with specific solutions for various industries. We cover about 5 industries into that.
SUDHIR NAYAR, Managing Director for Commercial Sales, Cisco India & SAARC