Home Strategy Cisco sizing up small business, looking for enterprise infrastructure refresh

Cisco sizing up small business, looking for enterprise infrastructure refresh

Both ends of the IT market have potential for Cisco during 2017, according to a senior executive.

Cisco has been focused on mid-sized and large organisations, but it does see opportunities in the small business market, according to Cisco ANZ vice-president Ken Boal.

"How do you get to small business?", he pondered. The plan is to expand the company's two-tier partner system, taking advantage of the way some partners have expertise in serving particular industries such as retail and manufacturing.

"I call it 'Cisco low-touch'," Boal said on Friday.

The other side of the problem is making sure Cisco has the right products for small businesses. Enterprise products will not scale down, he observed.

Without giving away any details, Boal did say the company has embarked on a global initiative to develop the required products.

More generally, the outlook for Cisco ANZ in 2017 is "incredibly strong", he said.

"Meraki (Cisco's cloud-controlled Wi-Fi business) is going gangbusters," and ANZ customers are taking up Cisco's new software portfolio faster than any other geography, he said.

Citing the parable of the wise and the foolish builders, Boal said "a lot of customers have been sweating the foundations."

Their old infrastructure is no longer in great shape, suffering from issues such as security vulnerabilities, capacity constraints, limited performance, complexity, and a lack of automation. "It's a bit of a patchwork quilt."

Consequently those organisations' IT operations are not in a good position to deliver the agility and performance required for today's digital strategies.

"There is definitely some immediate spend[ing] reguired" to bring the tech foundations up to scratch, but just as "Australia needs better infrastructure" the same can be said for our companies, Boal suggested.

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Stephen Withers

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Stephen Withers is one of Australia¹s most experienced IT journalists, having begun his career in the days of 8-bit 'microcomputers'. He covers the gamut from gadgets to enterprise systems. In previous lives he has been an academic, a systems programmer, an IT support manager, and an online services manager. Stephen holds an honours degree in Management Sciences and a PhD in Industrial and Business Studies.