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Cisco betting future on India, says CEO John Chambers

Thomas K Thomas
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John Chambers
John Chambers

John T. Chambers, Chairman and CEO of technology major Cisco, currently on a visit to India has printed his visiting cards in Hindi.

But that’s not all that he is doing to emphasise the importance of India in his global strategy to make Cisco the number one IT company.

Chambers met the Prime Minister, the IT and Communications Minister and the Commerce Minister among other top Government functionaries in an effort to look for private- public partnership opportunities.

“I am betting my future on India. We have already made significant investments in setting up our research & development here. We will have 30 per cent of our talent base from India and going forward we want to partner the Government in enabling socially relevant projects such as in education and healthcare,” Chambers said.

New game plan

Globally, Cisco has been strong in the switching and router space but with technology shifting towards new areas such as cloud, mobility and big data analytics, the company has embarked on a transformation game plan towards IT services and solutions. Apart from the enterprise segment, the company is using these capabilities to get deals from the Governments, one of the biggest consumers of IT.

“We have done a lot of work with Governments in countries like Russia and Israel. In India, our engagement has not been satisfactory till now. We want to change that,” Chambers said.

During his meeting with Government functionaries, Chambers discussed the blue-print for providing ICT master plan for the Delhi-Mumbai Industrial Corridor project. Cisco is preparing plans for Shendra Industrial Park in Maharashtra, Dholera Special Investment Region in Gujarat, Manesar Bawal Investment Region in Haryana and Khushkhera Bhiwadi Neemrana Investment Region in Rajasthan.

Under the plan, these cities would have self-sustainable habitats with minimal pollution levels, maximum recycling, optimised energy supplies and efficient public transportation.

Broadband solutions

It is also launching low-cost broadband solutions in India as a sounding board for products aimed at emerging markets.

“We see India as a litmus test for our emerging market strategy. If we can be successful here, we can be successful anywhere,” Jeff White, the newly appointed head of Cisco’s India operations, recently told Business Line.

While Cisco has already developed two products including a set top box in India, the new broadband platform is aimed at bringing technology at lower price points.

Chambers also does not rule out the possibility of an Indian succeeding him. Chambers, who is over 63 years old, is already thinking about it and there are two Indians who could make the cut including Padamsree Warrior, currently the Chief Technology & Strategy Officer and Pankaj Patel, Executive Vice-President and Chief Development Officer. “We want to make Cisco a truly globalised company,” said Chambers.

thomas.thomas@thehindu.co.in

(This article was published on April 17, 2013)
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