Cisco launches ‘Ecosystem’ to maintain technology lead

By Alfred Lee, The China Post

Cisco will plans to maintain its competitiveness through a wider use of information technology, extensive sharing of knowledge, and acquisition of advanced technology, according to the Market Intelligence Center (MIC) of the Institute for Information Industry (III). Cisco is the world’s largest supplier of key network hardware and software products. Taiwan is now a major market for Cisco products, such as network switches and routers. The MIC said Cisco will deploy an “Ecosystem,” which connects its upstream suppliers, business partners, employees, and customers with network platforms. Communications of suppliers, customers, employees, and partners will be achieved through the Ecosystem.

Cisco will make use of “Cisco Connection Online (CCO)” to provide product information, customer services, education, seminars, and marketing event information through the Ecosystem.

The company will offer a “Network Product MarketPlace (NPM),” making it easy for customers to purchase from Cisco through the network. The NPM will offer suggested system specifications and configurations to potential customers, monitor product shipment schedules, customer relations management and services.

The network platform system consists of such segments as customer service, e-commerce, employee service, forecasts, supply chain management, e-learning, virtual manufacturing, enterprise resources planning (EPR), and virtual close. The ERP of the network platform shortens the time-to-market cycle to three months and automates its product delivery process. Now 55 percent of its product delivery work is processed by computers automatically.

The Ecosystem will work hand in hand with its e-learning system to strengthen vertical integration. A second approach of Cisco to cope with the challenges ahead is IBSG (Internet Business Solution Group). The main purpose of the IBSG mechanism is to share and transfer successful experiences to other departments or divisions within an enterprise.

The IBSG is designed to extend product and enterprise values. Up to now Cisco has been recognized to be the provider of network hardware and software. The IBSG will change the company’s positioning from the provider of network hardware and software to the service provider of optimized network designs. The IBSG will help Cisco build up the domain knowledge necessary to provide network design consultation to its customers. The third approach of Cisco to build up its competitive edge is to maintain its leading position in technology, according to MIC analysis. Cisco will undertake acquisitions to acquire new technologies and widen the gap between itself and its competitors. The MIC analyst reported that the acquired companies will contribute about one third to Cisco’s total R&D efforts.