Cisco simplifies products to lead digitisation for SMB

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Cisco simplifies products to lead digitisation for SMB
Vicki Batka, Cisco

Cisco has launched START, a family of solutions transformed to suit small and mid-sized businesses leading digitisation.

The approach, designed to help new small-to-medium businesses get started with a kit of complementary hardware and software solutions will focus on networking and security. It is currently being tested in Japan

According to Vicki Batka, Cisco's managing director for partner business Asia-Pacific and Japan, there has been a lot of engineering focus around making the products "sit and fit".

"The journey and the transformation we are having as an organisation ... it sounds simple but we've got security products, collaboration, networking and pulling all those together and having that true interoperability, Cisco didn’t have that 12 months ago."

According to Cisco, the solutions offered through START, stylised as ST>RT, are simpler to set up and operate with a "low touch, no touch" model. A wireless system can be set up in 10 minutes, the switching has been reduced to seven steps, security can be set up in nine clicks and five steps for collaboration system.

Cisco has offered free services such as Spark to consumers and subscription services to enterprise but said there was a gap in between that needed to be addressed.

Batka told CRN that collaboration was "leading the simplicity message".

"It sounds really basic but from a customer's perspective, how quickly can I plug it in to actually be up and running? And for us this is huge. Now, wouldn't be great if this was even quicker and easier ...we'll get there. But from a Cisco enterprise perspective this would be almost unheard of," Batka said.

"I am really proud of this. It's not like we are coming at this with one or two products. We've got a family and we've waited until we were ready to do this."

START will be driven through Cisco's distributors Dicker Data, Ingram Micro and Westcon-Comstor.

The Australian Government Financial System Inquiry released in December 2014 revealed that more than two million SMEs in Australia currently employ almost 70 percent of the country's workforce, and it's this market Cisco wants to address.

Batka explained how Cisco was missing a business opportunity.

"We should take a leaf out of Microsoft's book here, I mean they've been very focused on that market for many years and they've moved well up through. But for Cisco, we've always got a little more sophisticated on the type of customer that we approach and we really were missing an opportunity so this is really fantastic for us to build this to meet their market requirements," Batka said.

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