Cisco Targets Small Biz With New Products, $100M Investment

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Cisco Systems Thursday unveiled a $100 million global small business initiative that includes the launch of a new product portfolio aimed at customers with fewer than 100 employees.

The investment includes the creation of a dedicated sales team, marketing program and customized service and support, all targeted at small business customers.

Cisco's channel, including its certified, two-tier, DMR/retail and service provider partners, will be key to the vendor's small business push, said Andrew Sage, vice president of worldwide small business sales at Cisco, during a keynote presentation at the Cisco Channel Exchange press and analyst event in Lisbon, Portugal.

"Our channel will be a sustained competitive advantage for Cisco as we seek to grow our business in the 's' space," Sage said, referring to the small business market. In Cisco lingo, the small business market is classified as customers with fewer than 100 employees, while the SMB market is comprised of customers with under 250 employees. Sage said channel partners that choose to focus on small business customers will find opportunity for growth and profitability working with Cisco.

Key to the San Jose, Calif.-based vendor's pursuit of the small business space will be the launch within the next few months of a new product portfolio dubbed Cisco Small Business Pro. Currently, Cisco caters to "basic" small business clients at the low end with its Cisco Small Business and Linksys By Cisco lines and serves more sophisticated "elite" small business customers with its traditional Cisco portfolio. The new Cisco Small Business Pro family will target small businesses that fall in the middle, which the vendor describes as customers that are looking for ways to improve their businesses but aren't sure where to start, making them "open to guidance."

Cisco says the latter customer type makes up 48 percent of the small business market but represents 84 percent of that market's IT spend. The vendor estimates that the small business space represents a $10 billion opportunity for networking and communications products.


Next: Small Business Pro Products Coming Soon

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