Cisco sees smart business opportunity

By Alan Hartstein on Apr 4, 2007 2:05 PM
Filed under Hardware

Cisco has launched a new solution for the small-to-medium business (SMB) space aimed at capitalising on its explosive growth in that market sector.

The announcement comes on top of the company’s earlier announcement to expand its partner program with a new SMB certification, at its annual Partner Summit in Las Vegas, aimed at capitalising on its explosive growth in that market sector.

The Cisco Smart Business Communication System incorporates customer relationship management (CRM) and enterprise resource planning (ERP) functions previously available only in enterprise-level Cisco solutions. They include tools designed to simplify the setting up, configuring and monitoring customer networks, which Cisco says will give end users more opportunities for new service offerings with recurring revenue streams.

President of Commercial Marketing Peter Alexander said the application had been designed for SMB customers from a range of disparate professions in mind in as user-friendly a way as possible. “IT is transforming the way SMBs do business. The build out that happened in the enterprise sector in the late 90s is happening now with the SMB market, and this solution will capitalise on that growth,” he said. “The idea from the company’s evolving Smart Business roadmap was to leave functionality and add more technology, with real-time applications,” he added.

Cisco has beefed up the Smart Business solution with a number of new hardware products, integrated unified communications applications and system-management tools designed to complement each other and provide communication building blocks for small businesses.

The system includes the Catalyst Express 520 power of Ethernet switch, which expands the system’s unified IP phone and wireless LAN access point capacity and the Configuration Assistant has been designed to take advantage of the embedded Smart Assist technology to provide plug-and play functionality for the system.

Cisco senior vide president, Worldwide Operations and Business Development Rick Justice said the solution represented a major breakthrough in SMB product offerings as it provided a fully integrated, complete business communications system incorporating IP voice, video, data, monitoring and management capabilities with mobility. It was also specifically designed to be easy for partners to explain to end users, he said.

The Unified Communications 500 product which accompanies the Smart Business offering has been purpose-built for the SMB market and can be set up and running out of the box in 15 minutes, Justice said.
Smart Business integrates with existing desktop applications like calendaring, email, CRM and ERP functions, which Cisco said were vital to differentiation amongst small businesses.

The Cisco Smart Business Communications System will be available to partners in June this year. The US list price will start at $US699 per seat. No Australian pricing has yet been announced. The US price includes complete Cisco Unified Communications network system capabilities and a Cisco Unified IP phone.


 
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