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Cloud to drive Cisco Indian mid-market growth in 2014

Shaleen Sinha

Cisco is aiming for growth in India by targeting the rising mid-market as 65% of India’s currently under-served mid-market firms plan to get more from their networks.

Trends such as mobility

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and cloud computing mean the network is more important than ever for businesses.

Forrester Research said mid-market firms in India want to focus less on reducing IT operational costs and more on leveraging technology to address the key challenges, and that is where Cisco has strong growth potential.

“A large part of the IT investment is expected to be used for IT and networking infrastructure build-up/refresh. With relatively less complex purchase processes and shorter sales cycle, mid-market opportunities can translate into faster business output for Cisco, helping it boost shrinking country revenues,” said Forrester Research analyst Nupur Singh Andley.

The networking giant uses sales partners globally to reach customers. 

In India, Cisco is planning to expand its channel ecosystem by working with independent software vendors (ISV) to jointly develop vertical-specific solutions aligned to mid-market needs, pushing its product portfolio and promoting the company’s cloud-based offerings through hosted collaboration services (HCS) partners. 

This solid strategy will help it penetrate the price-sensitive mid-market segment in smaller cities.

Additionally, Cisco is incentivizing its mid-market-focused channel partners and equipping them with tools to boost sales and ensure effective engagement.

“To ensure that our partners deliver the best solutions to customers and augment our reach across various market segments, we have introduced several channel enablement and engagement programs that have helped us to create awareness about our offerings in Tier 2 and Tier 3 markets. We have also introduced various other incentive programs to motivate partners,” said Rajesh Shetty, director of commercial sales at Cisco India.

With relatively less complex purchase processes and shorter sales cycle, mid-market opportunities can translate into faster business output for Cisco, helping it boost shrinking country revenues

Nupur Singh Andley, Forrester

To better target the mid-market in India, Forrester's Andley suggested Cisco should change positioning from IT to business outcomes, de-emphasizing products and services, to help customers address their business priorities and outcomes, leverage Cisco capital more aggressively to boost sales, and revisit pricing and channel strategies to compete more effectively against key competitors and align them to the local market dynamics.

“Given the diverse and fragmented market in India, it becomes very difficult for any enterprise to reach out to the core audience to understand their needs and requirements,” said Cisco India's Shetty. 

“But the mid-market has been a key focus area for Cisco, and to address this market effectively we will be increasing geographical reach, building partner capability and developing products, solutions and services specifically for the market.

“With Cisco’s 100% partner-led strategy, our network of partners enable us to have an intimate understanding of regional sentiments/attitudes which has helped us to increase our market share significantly in non-metro cities. We will also make the investments needed to accelerate growth and effectively address the mid-market and its business needs,” added Shetty.