In any water cooler conversation or a fireside chat in Silicon Valley, it is impossible to avoid a conversation about technology. Unlike Real Estate, which used to share air time with Tech before the recession, Tech has weathered the storm. We love to talk Tech here in Silicon Valley and thanks to the very high standards of innovation in the neighborhood, there’s always something different to talk about.
Here’s what some of the most common discussions this week might look like…
iJill: “Did you check out the latest iPad?? Its Retina Display, packs more pixels than my HDTV”.
gJack: “Oh yeah?.. my Android tablet has far superior specs to yours, plus it gives me the freedom to root my OS and do what I want with it!”..
iJill: “But, there’s no comparison to the number of Apps I can install and your tablet apps are a joke!”
gJack:” You only get 16GB in your iPad whereas I can get 32GB or more for a lower price”
iJill: ” Yes, but your battery hardly lasts until you complete your blog post, while I am still engaging with my blog readers responding to comments via Disqus while listening to music” …..
Cut-throat Race in Cutting Edge Technology
The above is a simple example of today’s cut throat technology race. One player either comes up with or successfully executes an innovation while others catch up, trying to make the same thing even better, faster and cheaper than the original. They seek to commoditize that innovation, trying to break into the market of a successful incumbent. The incumbent will likely do something to further differentiate its innovation or take advantage of its budding/sprawling network and ecosystem. Innovators identify an under-served market or customer need, convert this into opportunity and orchestrate it via a Product or a Service. Others find a different way to serve the same need and soon enough, everyone comes up with the technology and meets the need to a variable extent.
The key driver to innovation and its success, however, remains in reading the customer pain. What does the customer really want? In other words, what outcome the customer trying to attain. For a business this means executing to a recipe by selecting the right ratio of ingredients, i.e. mix of a product, a service, an architecture, a solution and a business model that will help them achieve the desired business outcome. I should emphasize that the product or a service is only one element that goes into a business outcome for the customer. Beyond this, a confluence of many other factors in the customers’ business need to come together to achieve the objective that the customer needs to achieve.
Managed Service Providers
Let us illustrate this with an example of an important customer segment for Cisco, Managed Service Providers (MSPs). MSPs are looking to maximize their ROI on a CapEx intensive Network infrastructure. They want to introduce the latest innovations in access technologies and managed services over a cost efficient platform that would leverage their existing configuration mechanisms to cater to a wider subscriber base. The business outcome they wish to generate a customer experience that makes customers want to use their network and services even more. If the MSP succeeds in executing this strategy, they automatically increase Average Revenues per user, reduce churn and increase network utilization.
Cisco – Innovation to Drive Business Outcomes
Cisco kept key desired outcomes for MSPs at the front and center of its newly introduced an Entry level ISR for the tiny offices and Teleworkers, the Cisco 860VAE Integrated Services Router.
- Pain: Each device that an MSP has to standardize for their network, hits their bottom line.
- Innovation: The 860VAE designed with Multiple WAN options: Gigabit Ethernet and Multimode VDSL2/ADSL2+ allows MSPs to target a wider subscriber base with a single standardized device.
- Pain: Training Costs and time to live deployment of a new product erodes MSP revenues.
- Innovation: The Cisco 860VAE runs the same Cisco IOS that SPs are already using on several of their networking gear. This reduces their training costs and time it takes to deploy and support this product. This platform employs the same access look and feel as our flagship Cisco ISR products and this reduces the time to live deployment for the MSP.
- Pain: MSPs are serving smaller and more numerous branches today. Large and Noisy Networking gear is not favored in these spaces.
- Innovation: The 860VAE has a compact form-factor, it is Fan-less and provides a quiet and focused working environment within smaller branch offices.
- Pain: MSPs incur a lot of upfront CapEx to introduce a new device and frequent product refreshes kills their margins.
- Innovation: Even in our Entry Level Fixed ISR platform, we built a certain degree of purchase protection by future proofing the product’s performance, technology and potential. The MSP can deploy the 860VAE without having to worry about how long it would last and whether it would keep up with the newest standards, access technologies or IPv6.
- Pain: During times of downturn and lower cash flows, MSPs are looking for ways to alleviate their financial pain.
- Innovation: Cisco ISR products, including the 860VAE, are backed up by Cisco’s Technical Assistance Center, SmartNet service contracts and the Cisco guarantee through its lifecycle and is eligible for Partner and Go To Market programs and financing via Cisco Capital.
Better Customer Experience
Notice that the solution, the 860VAE Series ISR is just a means to orchestrate a successful business outcome for the MSP customers. It would have been impossible to introduce a product first and then retrofit it into customers’ business objectives. For an MSP, it is impossible to make a decision solely based on price, speed or size alone. All those are important, but when the yardstick that they are held to is changing from sheer ‘quality of access’ to ‘quality of experience’. Unless MSPs look at the sum of all parts, the products, services, solutions and architectures that will further the experience they are able to provide to their end customers, Braveheart will be needed to intervene at the Branch!
Talk to us on how we can help you achieve your desired business outcomes. Go ahead, pave that solid route to your desired business outcomes with Cisco’s rich portfolio of Integrated Services Routers .