Amit Malik Head – SMB, Cisco India & SAARC
The SMB sector in India is growing by leaps and bounds. The main focus areas for Indian SMBs in the technology arena are IT staff training, data protection and security. Cisco, the worldwide leader in networking for the Internet, is betting big on the SMB sector in India. VARIndia finds out why SMB is the fastest growing segment for Cisco in India.
Q: What growth potential do you see in the Indian SMB market?
A: Our investments are paying in this area. The SMB market is fragmented and there is a large space in the cities like Chandigarh, Bhubaneswar, etc. We are growing 100 per cent year on year in the SMB space. I feel it is not a price-sensitive market but a quality- sensitive market. SMB needs are not different from those of an enterprise. We need to educate them that how IT can help improve their productivity. The major challenge is to give them the best and high quality products at a very competitive price point. To target this market, we depend entirely on our channel partners.
Q: How do you plan to tap this market potential?
A: We plan to offer customized technologies so that these businesses can leverage IT to derive maximum business value. We think that existing channel may not be enough to target this huge market. We will be adding 600 partners specifically certified to cater to SMB customers. We have also launched Select Certification Programme for SMB Partners, in which we have already identified above 200 partners, especially from the tier-II and tier-III cities.
Q: What are the product ranges you have to cater to the SMB market?
A: Cisco worldwide is a SMB-focussed company. We spend around $3 billion on our R&D. Since 2004, we have a vast range of products to cater to the SMB market in India. Some of these products include switching, routers, 8-port switches, low-end wireless solutions, IP telephony at a reasonable price, security offerings, voice offerings, etc.
Q: How do you plan to target the market?
A: We plan to venture into tier-II and tier-III markets to be able to address huge market and competition. We will be launching several new products to cater to the SMB market. Also, the next phase of Select Certification Programme, and several new programmes for partners are in the pipeline.
Q: Give some details about Cisco Capital Programme?
A: Cisco Capital was launched in 2005 to offer flexible leasing and financial services to customers and partners. The Cisco Easy Lease programme is available to customers through partners. This innovative financing programme is designed to enable SMBs to adopt state-of-the-art network technology quickly and easily, with minimal initial investment and maximum convenience. Also through this programme, a partner gets benefited, as his capital is not stuck up. We not only certify our partners but also their sales team for this programme. Not many companies give such financing (also for non-Cisco partners).
Q: What are the new verticals you plan to target in the SMB space?
A: We are planning to focus on manufacturing, educational institutes, cooperative banks, hospitals and state government projects.
Q: Why a partner should join Cisco?
A: At Cisco, we have a smart business road map. We help partners to improve and de-risk their business. We educate our partners to learn the art of value selling, dig deeper into customer requirement, how they can leverage success, etc. We select certified partners, evaluate at which stage of IT evolution are they, give them all kinds of training & marketing support, and incentives on identifying new opportunities.
Q: What is the growth you are experiencing?
A: We ranked No.1 in India in the router and switch market (Router: 81.09%, Switch: 80.18%, Total LAN: 80.52%) (Source: Q2 CY2007 IDC LAN Tracker); WLAN: 42% (Q2 CY 2007, IDC), Security: 42.12% (Q2 CY 2007, Frost & Sullivan); Enterprise Telephony: 22% (Q2 CY 2007, Frost & Sullivan); and IP PBX: 36.61% (Q2 CY 2007, Frost & Sullivan).
Q: Give some details about Cisco’s India operations?
A: With sales and marketing operations spread across key cities in India and a software development centre in Bangalore, Cisco dominates the networking market in core technologies of routing and switching, as well as WLAN and network security. Cisco has seven Sales Offices in the region – New Delhi, Mumbai, Bangalore, Chennai, Pune, Kolkata and Hyderabad. We have presence in over 100 cities through 900 partners. Nine Systems Integrators (Cable & Wireless, Datacraft, HCL Comnet, HP, IBM, Integrix, TCS, CMC and Wipro), seven Gold Certified Partners (Cable & Wireless, Datacraft, HCL Comnet, HP, IBM, Wipro and British Telecom), three Silver Certified Partners (Integrix, TCS and CMC) and two Distributors (Ingram Micro and Redington), help us in our task.
Q: How do you provide the service support?
A: We have extensive support system for customers with nine logistics centres in the country. Besides these, Cisco is the only vendor to have a support programme called ARNBD (advance replacement next business day) for its resellers.
Q: Any message for the channel community?
A: There is a huge potential in the SMB market. We also have SMB sales specialists located in the upcountry areas to help our partners. In the SMB space, there is less competition; volume might be low, but margins are higher. Partners are trusted advisors for them and we support our partners fully. Work with us, get select certification and be ready to conquer the world.