Cisco officials are looking to reassert the company's position in the networking space, accusing rivals and critics of advocating "good enough" networks.
which has seen its networking business come under increasing pressure in recent
months from rivals, such as Hewlett-Packard and Juniper Networks, is hitting
back with a marketing campaign that touts its broad product portfolio as
significantly better than "good enough."
Cisco kicked off the campaign
April 25 with the
release of a press statement, video and white paper outlining why, in the
current business climate, enterprises need a complete networking solution. The
company continued the message with a Webcast April 27 in which Cisco executives
and a partner said that with such trends as cloud computing and the
consumerization of IT, the idea that networking is a commodity makes no sense.
"It's not a
commodity in our mind," said Bob Cagnazzi, CEO of Cisco partner BlueWater
Communications Group. "It's not a commodity in our clients' mind. ... It is
continues to dominate the networking space, with some analyst firms putting its
market share at more than 65 percent. However, in recent years, other vendors,
including HP, Juniper and Avaya, have begun to chip away at that dominance,
through a combination of in-house innovation and acquisitions, such as HP's $2.7
billion purchase of 3Com last year.
One of the
areas where they attacked Cisco has been in price, arguing that Cisco products
were far too expensive. They also cautioned against vendor lock-in when
choosing a Cisco solution. Some analyst firms, such as Gartner, also have
argued against the need for a single-vendor solution, saying that companies
that have added a second vendor into a Cisco environment had not seen any
detrimental financial or operational effects.
during the Webcast, Mike Rau, vice president and CTO of Cisco's Borderless
Networks unit, argued for the benefits that come with the deep integration
between the company's various products. In addition, the network management and
security offerings offered by Cisco give enterprises a greater of control and
confidence in the products, Rau said.
If a business
uses best-of-breed products from multiple vendors, they'll only get a fraction
of the benefits that can come from a total Cisco infrastructure, he said.
are going to be important as the business world evolves, said Rob Lloyd,
executive vice president of worldwide operations at Cisco. Video, cloud
computing and the number of consumer devices being brought into the workplace
will continue to grow, putting more pressure on the network, Lloyd said.
disputed the contention that Cisco deals in proprietary products. The company
has a $5 billion research and development budget, he said, and a lot of
innovation comes out of it. However, Cisco also pushes to have many of these
innovations made into industry standards, Rau said, pointing to Fibre
Channel-over-Ethernet as an example.
Communications' Cagnazzi said that for a wide range of industries, such as
financial services, the network is a critical piece of the infrastructure.
is not good enough when any downtime can mean millions of dollars to them," he
efforts come as the $40 billion company tries to find its footing after several
difficult quarters that have seen disappointing earnings, harsh criticism from
analysts and journalists, a loss of some executives and struggles in some of
its key businesses, including its core switches and routers.
resulted in CEO John Chambers in early April telling the company's 73,000
employees in an internal memo that the company had lost some credibility
in the industry by failing
to execute on what he said is a solid roadmap. Chambers promised changes, the
first of which was felt a week later when the company shuttered its Flip
video camera business and
revamped its consumer products business.