Almost 2 years ago , we not only launched a new product , but more importantly a new concept – We called it “unified computing ” and named the products Unified Computing Systems (UCS)
At that time , the media highlighted the fact that Cisco was entering the server market , and of course the incumbent providers were prompt to claim how fool we were
They said that” it couldn’t be done” . But we insisted and even declared “There is a movement “
This was supported by the fact that we have been hearing repetitively from our customers that working in silos (servers, network and storage) was not anymore efficient. That virtualization was getting real traction. That the demand and the appetite to reduce costs in IT organization were stronger than ever. Of course , from a marketing and communication points of view we wanted to believe that “the movement” was towards our Unified Computing Systems. So we created this video “There is a movement”
Since then we have been working very hard at Cisco and with a growing number of partners to make this movement towards the Unified Computing Systems a reality .
So how did I spend my time over the past two years ?– In charge of advertising, social media and video production for Cisco data center marketing , I met (and keep meeting) a lot of customers either in focus groups (10 cities – 9 countries) , for video success stories , or simply in large events such as EMC World, SAPPHIRE, VMworld, Oracle Open World, Microsoft TechEd, Citrix Synergy, Interop and of course Cisco Live.
Here are some of my observations :
-UCS customers are happy. I mean really happy !
Before joining Cisco in 2007, I worked for many years in the server market , meeting customers and partners . I’ve never seen such a level of satisfaction .Not only appreciation for the benefits that the UCS is bringing , but also for the quality of services (Training – Implementation ). Again and again I am hearing customers who are in awe . This solution exceeds obviously their expectations and they are prompt to express that (Pitt Ohio, Hay Group, EMC IT..) . But more importantly they realize that they are at the front end of a real movement- They understand that the traditional blade technologies are over , that they made the right choice and it gives them a great feeling of satisfaction but also comfort. Actually the level of satisfaction is so high that we figure out that starting a Frequent Buyer Card could make sense !:)
And here is another example of an appreciative customer
-This high satisfaction starts to be widely recognized , and frankly intrigues our visitors . Going back to EMC World in Las Vegas and SAPPHIRE in Orlando this year, I have been able to measure the progress made in one year. Architects, IT decision makers understand now that Cisco is in the server market for a long time . Actually they feel that not checking what UCS can provide to their IT organization would be in the best case a professional mistake, in the worst case a missed opportunity (or is it the other way round?)
-Equally interesting, is the change of attitude of the partners, VARS and Systems integrators . They see the benefits and the growing confidence of the IT organizations as we keep expanding the family of UCS, taking advantage of our close collaboration with Intel, developing strong partnership with top ISVs (SAP, Oracle, Microsoft, VMware, Citrix,..) and capitalizing on our technological partners ( CA, BMC, EMC, NetApp, RedHat..) . They see how the UCS redefine the benchmarks and the TCO ; they hear the recognition from our partners (UCS just won another prize this time at Microsoft TechEd Atlanta ) . VARs like NextiraOne orLogicalis that I met at Cisco Live London, or Avnet or Comstor just to name a few of them are really enthusiastic. At SAPPHIRE, I got to hear the full endorsement of some of the largest SIs expressed in front of my camera, such as Accenture and CSC amongst others.
-One reaction which is also very interesting to notice is the nervosity of some of our competitors, starting with the champion of the traditional blade technology. They know .They know that there is a movement . Despite the claims that “they like competition”, that “they are innovative “and “have the best management tools” , they know that they missed the mark. I can’t blame them We know at Cisco how difficult and challenging it is for a company to come with breakthrough innovations when in a dominant position – We are working very hard to avoid this trap. What surprise me is how little progress they made in two years to really embrace the Unified Computing movement and truly reinvent themselves. But for a long time they were convinced and said that “it couldn’t be done”
-So great products and services , happy customers, great support from partners -- Is there something still missing ? I would probably say “metrics ” (revenue, market share). Cisco has been pretty shy on this front over the past year We started to reveal some of these numbers over the past months , but I think it’s time to share more and let analysts do the number. And at this point , I do expect he conversation to move from “There is a movement “ to “ There is a movement to Unified Computing Systems”