Cisco to ramp up India customer base to 100,000 by 2021: Top executive

Cisco is planning to boost its customer base in India from 30,000 at present to around 100,000 over the next three years. The technology conglomerate is targeting the small business segment, besides looking to increasing its presence in pharma, healthcare, retail and manufacturing verticals.

According to Sameer Garde, the company’s India and SAARC head, after growing the company's presence in the service providers’ and enterprise segments, primarily in banking, financial services and information technology (IT) services companies, the company is eyeing new verticals.

“Our number one focus is to grow wider in more verticals. Manufacturing, pharmaceutical, healthcare and retail are thus important focus areas for us now, as was then. However, our next big priority is to grow presence among the country’s small-medium enterprises”, Garde told Business Standard.

"Of the 63 million small and medium enterprises (SME) in the country, only 20 million have adopted digitisation in some form, which leaves substantial headroom for the company to target," said Garde.

As part of this plan, Cisco, together with Tech Mahindra, has invested in the latter’s Bangalore Centre of Excellence, which is focussed only on manufacturing and solutions. While Tech Mahindra will contribute its  expertise in software, Cisco will use its hardware products to come up with solutions for the manufacturing sector.

Currently, 90 per cent of Cisco’s business in India comes from IT, ITeS, BFSI and service providers, which the company considers as its traditionally strong segments. Only 10 per cent of its topline is contributed by other verticals. 

While Cisco plans to continue its focus on the traditional segments, Garde said that the newer focus verticals will grow faster than the traditional verticals, changing the ratio of traditional vis-a-vis non-traditional revenue sources of Cisco’s Indian operations.

The company is also planning to ramp up its digital solutions vertical, particularly in transport & logistics, security and hotspots segments.

On the WebEx front, which comprises on-demand collaboration, online meeting, web conferencing and video conferencing applications, Cisco intends to increase its customer base by 10 times over the next 1.5 years. 

“We have around 1,500 customers now and I think we can increase the count to 10,000-15,000 in the next 18-20 months”, says Garde.

Speaking about the company’s prospects in India, the Cisco executive said that three growth drivers are fuelling digital adoption in the country. 

Firstly, more employees are connecting to the internet nowadays which requires upgradation of the network to eliminate legacy issues. Secondly, networks are gradually becoming more complex owing to data centre traffic which also calls for modernisation. Moreover,owing to an increase of employees' digital footprint, security is of paramount importance.

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