Cisco Australia excels in tough market

By Brett Winterford on Sep 30, 2009 6:25 AM
Filed under Finance

Revenues up and costs down.

The Australia and New Zealand arm of networking giant Cisco Systems has bucked global trends during the FY09 year, experiencing topline revenue growth of 20 percent.

The networking company's local vice president Les Williamson [pictured, right] took time out with the press at this week's Cisco Networkers conference in Brisbane to provide an insight into the company's performance from August 1, 2008 to July 31, 2009.

Williamson said revenues grew 20 percent even while he was ordered by Cisco chief financial officer Frank Calderoni to cut costs during the financial crisis.

Calderoni had asked Cisco's management to take between $1 billion and $1.5 billion of costs out of the business, Williamson said, with the Australian office urged to cut $1 million.

Williamson managed to cut 22 percent out of the local operation's costs, but claimed to have done so with customer satisfaction remaining at a constant and staffing levels experiencing "modest single digit growth" over the reporting period.

"We have taken an operating expenses reduction rather than headcount reduction," he said.

Williamson said that like many of its customers, Cisco Systems' local operations was undergoing a "business transformation".

The company spent $890,000 less than the year prior by using its own telepresence technology instead of paying for flights. Globally, this strategy has saved Cisco Systems $700 million over the financial year, he said.

But these savings factored in "productivity gains", the calculation of which was murky. Williamson said these were calculated by measuring the "cost of enabling the sales team to generate revenue."

Cisco Systems also experienced "very strong growth in public sector, particularly in education and health," he said.

"For the first time in memory, Australia's Prime Minister is talking about IT infrastructure as a key plank going into the economy," Williamson said.

Williamson applauded the Federal Government's purchase of Cisco telepresence units and the reinvestment of Business as Usual savings into more productive technologies as part of the Gershon review.

Looking ahead, Williamson was leading a recharge of Cisco Systems' channel strategy for continued growth.

He said the company globally had begun to report better profits and revenues in its most recent quarter.

 
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Cisco Australia excels in tough market Finance Minister Lindsay Tanner (left) and Cisco Vice President Les Williamson (Right)
 
 
 
 
 
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