From incumbent to instigator... How Cisco NZ plans to dominate Kiwi connectivity market

Geoff Lawrie, Country Manager, Cisco New Zealand outlines the vendor's bold plans for market domination in 2015, offering an expert insight into the complex nature of connectivity.

It seems in technology, both at home and overseas, usurpation is the name of the game.

The drill, it appears, is pretty standard across the board - dominate a market, prosper for years before slowly becoming complacent, leading to eventual demise and the emergence of those young show-off organisations, intent on providing better quality for half the price.

Established vendors such as Cisco fall into that category, the ageing dinosaur of the industry, clinging onto its market share like its future depends on it.

Yet this particular incumbent didn’t read the script, with stock reaching a seven-year high last week, fuelled by strong financials across the world.

“Cisco in New Zealand is a good news story,” says Geoff Lawrie, Country Manager, Cisco New Zealand.

While speaking as a veteran of the ICT industry may help generate a knack for detecting newsworthiness, Lawrie’s assessment stems from performance, one that has seen the Kiwi division record low double-digit growth across the business, ahead of both the company and industry averages.

“We’re driving business in New Zealand at a very satisfying rate and I believe that’s because of a number of factors,” explains Lawrie, entering his ninth year as Country Manager.

“For starters, the economy is very supportive of what we’re trying to achieve.

“New Zealand is a very mature and sophisticated market, especially for a smaller sized market, and it’s a market certainly in the ascendancy.”

Since taking the role in July 2006, Lawrie has double the overall turnover of the company’s operations in New Zealand, producing above-market growth during a volatile period for the tech market.

When measured against global achievements, IDC ranked Cisco number one in the New Zealand x86 blade server market at the end of December 2014, with a market share of 34.4 per cent, complimenting the company’s worldwide standing as the leading vendor within the networking space.

“Once I week I meet with my international peers who also operate in similar sized markets, and respectfully speaking, I wouldn’t swap New Zealand’s deck of cards with anybody,” he adds.

“From a Cisco perspective we have an incredibly broad portfolio which gives us an advantage because we’re moving towards a market place where it’s going to be harder to operate as a specialist niche player.

“And the fact that we operate broadly across cloud, security, mobile and networking has really played in our favour during the past few years.”

With around 650 partners across the country, 400 of which reseller and engage with Cisco products, Lawrie’s leadership has helped the global organisation formulate a local connection, helping the company measure the areas of high growth within the Kiwi marketplace.

“We’re seeing strong growth around security and mobility,” adds Lawrie, who has also worked in managerial roles for Microsoft and Unisys in New Zealand.

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