New Cisco collaboration solution addresses low end of midmarket

LOS ANGELESCisco Systems thinks it will have a hit on its hand in Canada with the Business Edition 6000S, a collaboration solution-in-a-box designed to address the lower end of the midmarket that is dominant in Canada.

Cisco took the wraps off the BE6000S at its Collaboration Summit event on Tuesday. Pat Romzek, vice-president of collaboration sales with Cisco, said it’s the latest step in Cisco’s move to build on its leadership in the enterprise space by building purpose-built solutions for the midmarket, which it defines as organizations with 20-1000 seats.

“Smaller business employ lots of people. Much of the job growth is coming from smaller businesses, and collaboration is a top priority for them,” said Romzek. “There’s a high demand for capability, but they have limited resources for deployment.”

Cisco sees a $5.3 billion opportunity for collaboration solutions worldwide in the midmarket in 2015, growing at three-to-four-times the enterprise market. And it sees an underserved gap in the midmarket, with customers forced to choose between one-dimensional solutions that can’t integrate and enterprise solutions retrofitted for the midmarket. Cisco’s approach is to design from the ground-up for the midmarket.

Cisco launched its first solution into the midmarket three years ago, and the BE6000S will help it reach even smaller businesses. The BE6000S is a collaboration platform built into an integrated Cisco router that delivers voice, video, instant messaging, presence and paging capabilities to businesses as small as 25 users and up to 100 users.

“We’re really excited about this, and we think it’s going to help us continue our growth in the midmarket by bringing rich capabilities down to even smaller businesses,” said Romzek.

The BE6000S is designed to be easy to install and support, with new tools such as simple management wizards designed to make the solution supportable by a smaller IT staff. There’s also an easier migration path to higher capacity BE6000 platforms as companies grow.

With its focus on the lower end of the midmarket, the BE6000S should be an ideal fit for the Canadian market said Ian Gallagher, general manager for collaboration with Cisco Canada.

“The market segment we have in Canada is largely dominated by small and medium-sized companies, so I think this platform, which goes down to 25 users, addresses a huge part of our opportunity,” said Gallagher. “It needs to be full-featured in this segment, and simple. Simplified ordering and instillation is key for us to lower complexity for both partners and customers. We’re quite excited about it.”

Cisco has also launched a number of pre-configuration tools that should lead to both cheaper and quicker deployments for midmarket customers.

“Cookie-cutter installs with preconfigured images mean Cisco can ship the preconfigured product and reduce partner deployment time by 30 per cent,” said Romzek.

Donna Cooney, director of partner development for collaboration at Cisco Canada, added the BE6000 could mean significant productivity gains to Canadian businesses.

“The opportunity to bring something to the smaller market is something they’ve been looking for,” said Cooney. “Canada has driven the productivity ratio amongst organizations looking to do more with less. Technology is a true asset to those businesses, and partners are helping them realize more opportunities with technology.”

Romzek added that collaboration technology can be a major catalyst for growth for midsized companies.

“Cisco today is underlining our commitment to provide the midmarket with feature-rich collaboration technology that is right-sized for the right price, giving customers the best in class technology regardless of their size,” said Romzek.

Global availability is expected in early 2015.

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Jeff Jedras
Jeff Jedras
As an assistant editor at IT World Canada, Jeff Jedras contributes primarily to CDN and, covering the reseller channel and the small and medium-sized business space.

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