Cisco Rides High On 'Digital' With A Key Focus On India

by Sohini Bagchi    Apr 11, 2017

In January, Cisco Chairman John Chambers made a huge bet on India over other emerging countries, predicting the country’s GDP to grow at 8-10 percent and its per capita income to double every 6-7 years once the ‘Digital India’ initiative takes off in a big way. The recent Cisco India Summit 2017 further confirms Cisco’s commitment to the India market. The leaders at the summit believe, the company is making every possible effort to move faster to grow in the India market, creating a vibrant partner ecosystem and building a secure framework - and in everything it does, the IT major is keeping digital transformation at the heart of its core strategy.

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India – An export hub

Cisco said it plans to make India a global export destination for its products, after recently having started manufacturing access points and routers at a facility in Pune. The company plans to make Pune its global export hub, Dinesh Malkani, president, Cisco India and SAARC said at the Cisco India Summit 2017.

In March, Cisco unveiled its first Made in India product, which it recently showcased the government.The company also expects to complete 50 digitization projects by the end of the year across India, which is part of its USD 100 million investment announced last year.

He added that in the next phase of digitization initiatives, the company is collaborating closely with state governments for projects, including the addition of six new innovation labs and six centres of excellence.

Explaining the country’s strategic role in the growth process, Malkani said, India accounts for a significant portion of the company’s global headcount with a majority of them in R&D roles and it files about two patents a week from here. He further informed, Cisco has also invested in 25-26 start-ups in India and is actively looking for more companies that are working in the Internet of Things (IoT), smart cities and security space.

The Security of everything

In February, Cisco unveiled the results of a major global study into the adoption rates of digital-ready networks. Conducted by IDC, the research surveyed over 2,000 global organizations across 10 countries including India and found that over 45 percent of organizations plan to invest in automated, digital-ready networks over the next two years. To help customers navigate the complex journey to a digital-ready network, Cisco introduced new technologies that allow customers to virtualize and secure their networks.

The company believes that today businesses demand a lot from their networks. However, the vast majority of today’s networks were only designed to provide fast, reliable connectivity. These legacy networks are struggling to combat sophisticated cyber-threats, or keep up with the requirements of today’s mobile workforce and their use of IoT devices and new cloud applications.

With the new approach - Digital Network Architecture (DNA) - Cisco is ushering in a new era of networking that can help CIOs several notches higher in digital transformation.

Thriving on partner ecosystem

Daisy Chittilapilly, who leads the partner ecosystem for India and SAARC and plays a fundamental role in the execution of Cisco’s partner strategy across the believes that partnerships are more important now than ever.

With the changing business landscape, today partners are moving into new markets and expect the vendor to help them move up the value chain. It’s also the vendor’s responsibility to create new market leads, generate demand and enable partners to capitalize on new market opportunities.

“We believe in empowering our partners to move up the value chain to become a solutions provider in their own right. Over the past few quarters, we have significantly increased our channel efforts to augment partner capabilities by providing leading practices, tools, and mentoring, which in turn enable them to have more successful, and profitable customer engagements,” she mentioned.

Chittilapilly believes that the company has a strong partner ecosystem around the world, and in India it is growing faster than ever. We are delving into deeper relationships unlike before with compnies such as IBM, Apple, Salesforce and Rockwell Automation, to name a few. We will continue to see this trend in the future.

Digital transformation – The key to success

“Apparently, the legendary musician Bob Dylan was right, when he said in his popular song : ‘The times they are a-changin’. There’s no better time to apply this line in the digital era and especially in the context of the Indian market,” believes VC Gopalratnam, Cisco’s CIO for Asia Pacific Japan and China region and President-IT.

In India we are seeing the rapid convergence of mobile, social, data and cloud which is in turn driving the digital disruption in the country. The Internet of Everything (IoE) and the enabling of digital disruption is the biggest disruption today and has the potential to transform India. Cisco has seized upon in its quest to harness technology as a competitive advantage.

“With, India to remain the world’s fastest growing IT markets in the coming years, we will continue to drive growth for Cisco and our partners,” Gopalratnam mentioned.