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India among 15 focus markets for Cisco's collaboration technology

Company localises offerings to meet needs of Indian consumers

Itika Sharma Punit  |  Bangalore 

Networking products and services provider has identified India among one of its 15 focus-markets globally for expanding the collaboration technologies business, and has taken steps to localise its offerings to suit the Indian customers.

Collaboration technologies include software, products or services that help transcend borders and enable people at different locations to communicate and work together in a secure environment. The technology enables document management, application sharing, presentation development and delivery, whiteboarding, and chat, among others.

As the global 'workplace' evolves, productivity at work is beginning to have less relation with the individual's physical proximity to the works place. Thus, collaborative technology and networks play a vial role in ensuring smooth functioning despite physical distances. According to Frost & Sullivan, India has good potential for growth of unified communications applications, as demonstrated by the projected CAGR of 7.9 per cent in the period from 2008 to 2015.

“We operate in over 150 countries, but from a collaboration perspective we are more focused on 15 because we know these markets today give us more than 80 per cent of our business,” said Carl Wiese, senior vice president, Global Collaboration. “In the Asian region, India, China, Japan and Australia are our focus, we want to spend our time on these four.”

According to Frost & Sullivan, India has good potential for growth of unified communications applications, as demonstrated by the projected CAGR of 7.9 per cent in the period from 2008 to 2015.

While initially started out with selling its global products in India, Wiese said, it has now customised its offering according to the needs of Indian players. Most of Cisco's offerings in the collaboration technology space were at first built for mature economies, from where it gets most of its revenue currently.

North America makes for around 55 per cent of the collaboration business' sales, while the remaining comes from Europe, West Asia, Latin America, and Asia Pacific.

“India is a price sensitive market place. If you go back two-three years, our products were very expensive since they were designed for North America and western Europe. So we have now developed products on the lower-end to attack this market place,” he said. “If any Indian customer wants the high-end product, it is available for them. But we have basically localised our offering.”

Wiese, who is responsible for sales and go-to market of Cisco's entire collaboration portfolio and was visiting India last week to meet clients, said Indian are increasingly understanding the benefits of collaboration technologies beyond just a means so save cost.

“About 10 years ago, it was only about cost savings, and though some of that cost play is still there but now businesses really want to invest as they understand this that technology fundamentally transforms what they are doing, both within the company and outside of it. More and more want to spend time collaborating with their customers, partners and suppliers, and that’s what this technology does,” Wiese said.

Financial services, education and healthcare make for the top industry verticals for Cisco's collaboration technology business in India as well as globally. While most Indian enterprises have so far used only base-level technologies, Wiese said, some of them are now moving up the value chain and looking to leverage more from it.

In line with several players in the technology and communications solutions space, he said, there was a slowdown in the collaboration technologies business for the past few year. However, with the revival in macro-economy, most now rate collaboration technologies as third among their top priority areas, Wiese said, quoting a Gartner survey.

“For a couple of years the conversation with clients was only about how they want to spend less, but now they want to find out where to invest and how to invest best,” he said.

Globally, Cisco sees a total market size of $15 billion-$20 billion for collaboration technologies. Currently, the company currently holds an around 40 per cent market share in the voice segment, 47 per cent in the video segment and about 50 per cent in the conferencing segment.

First Published: Sat, February 01 2014. 18:47 IST