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Cisco ramps up small business play

Cisco ramps up small business play

Networking giant spends big to improve its small business operations and introduces new product range

Cisco is launching a new small business group and range of products as part of efforts to grow its presence in the sub-100 customer segment.

The networking giant has invested $US100 million into building up small business marketing, services, product and staff capabilities and has established a new Small Business Technology Group (SBTG) with dedicated headcount.

The vendor will also introduce the new Small Business and Small Business Pro lines of products from later this year specifically tailored to the smaller customer segment. The first products to hit the market will be a networked storage appliance powered by IBM software, a wireless and desktop phone and a surveillance camera.

The new product branding will replace the Linksys by Cisco brand in the small business space.

Vice-president of worldwide SMB sales, Andrew Sage, said widespread availability of broadband services had given small businesses a growing interest in IT and added the sector was the fastest growing part of the market. He stressed the importance of channel partners in this space.

Cisco has divided the small business market into three areas – elite, open to guidance, and basic. While traditionally strong in the elite, or top-tier part of the market, the vendor is looking to grow its share of the open to guidance space, which represents about half of all small business sales and over 84 per cent of total revenue, vice-president of small business marketing, Rick Moran, claimed.

“Small businesses have different needs, as do their partners. We needed a new approach,” Sage said. “We’re taking an entire approach – products, services, support, the buying experience and the selling experience.”

The new small business structure and product lines comes several months after the vendor announced its subsidiary, Linksys, would now solely focus on the consumer space.

Alongside the new products, Cisco will introduce tailored marketing solutions and channel programs targeted at the small business market, Moran said. It also plans to introduce more packaged services which will be purpose-built for small business partners to on-sell.

Nadia Cameron travelled to the Cisco Channel Exchange event in Lisbon, Portugal, as a guest of Cisco.


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