EXCLUSIVE: When it comes to change, here’s why Cisco NZ isn’t done yet

“It would be a mistake to ever say we’re done on that kind of stuff.”

“It would be a mistake to ever say we’re done on that kind of stuff.”

That’s the view of Geoff Lawrie, Country Manager, Cisco New Zealand, who when discussing the company’s dramatic transformation of late, insists the tech giant isn’t done yet.

“Over the last few years Cisco has invested a great deal in its own innovation model and we’re now bringing products to market quicker than before, which are much more closely connected to customers requirements,” says Lawrie, speaking exclusively to Reseller News.

As the dust settles on Cisco Live!, where thousands of technicians and partners descended on Melbourne, Lawrie’s comments echo those of Australia and New Zealand vice president Ken Boal, who admitted during the conference that the company “had a very healthy paranoia about becoming the next Kodak."

“We’ve become much better at creating products that are aligned with customer business models and outcomes,” Lawrie explains.

"We’ve developed a fast IT cycle which enables us to develop and deliver quickly and efficiently, which are two big cultural changes for the company.”

The new Cisco is a Cisco built on speed and innovation, with the company now smashing the $150 billion valuation mark, with stock jumping 10% in February alone.

“We see the network as the platform for delivering the kind of business outcomes that businesses are looking for, around areas such as security and the Internet of Everything,” adds Lawrie, providing a picture of the Cisco of 2015 and beyond.

“We’re in a good place because companies want to be better connected and explore IoE meaning the network business is in a good place to play in.”

According to Lawrie, key takeaways from Cisco Live! include the continuing dialogue around what Cisco calls the Internet of Everything, and the impacts it will have on the Kiwi economy and the industries operating within it.

“We are starting to see business models evolve around connecting up things to the internet,” Lawrie adds.

“Whether that be cars, machinery or whatever, the focus is also around the applications that make use of the information that is generated because of that.

“It’s hard to think of an industry that won’t be impacted so of course there is an opportunity for Cisco but on the flip side, it’s crucial to have the security conversation with businesses.

“Security and the IoE are closely connected because as you start to delve deeper and rely on the data that is produced as a result, security becomes a key factor.”

The Cisco line of thinking, as Lawrie notes, is that the obvious place to implement secure means is in and around the network, rather than attempting to build perimeters through firewalls.

Why? “Because security is such a large and complex undertaking, it has to be run through a network based approach.”

At present, New Zealand is performing as a better market across the board compared to Australia for the networking vendor, with the Kiwi division reaping the rewards of a noticeably more aggressive industry when it comes to technology spend.

Locally speaking, Lawrie says New Zealand is moving as quickly as any other market in the world when it comes to cloud adoption, citing the “progressive work” of the government as a contributing factor to Kiwi organisations taking their businesses, or at least certain aspects, to the skies.

“In every market government has a big responsibility for IT leadership,” Lawrie observes. “They are huge spenders when it comes to IT so how they smart they are with those IT dollars has a big impact on the local market.

“And across the country the government is very aggressive when exploring new models in terms of IT consumption.”

Underlining the growing interest in cloud, Lawrie believes there is a “growing understanding” that organisations are measuring the value of the investment in IT by the business outcomes that they drive.

“Businesses are looking to see a much clearer and direct payback for this,” he adds. “For example, businesses don’t invest in collaboration because they want flash video systems lying around, it’s because they want better employee productivity and a greater connection with their customers and they see video as a way to achieve that.

“That’s the relevance story.”

On the topic of relevance, Cisco is set to invest $US15 million in an Internet of Everything (IoE) Innovation Centre in Australia.

As reported by sister publication ARN, the Innovation Centre is aimed at catalysing and showcasing IoE innovation and development, bringing together customers, industry partners, start-ups, application developers, accelerators, government organisations and universities.

As explained by Lawrie, this is “very much a Australia and New Zealand initiative.”

“It’s a regional launch which covers A/NZ,” he adds. “The first part is being established in Australia but there is nothing in the way that is going to prevent New Zealand from participating and benefitting from it as there’s a lot of long-term benefits.

“Agriculture is certainly one of the areas expected to benefit, which is hugely relevant to New Zealand. As a result we expect to see spots of global leadership emerge from New Zealand around this.

“So much so that the Innovation Centre can help aid this development around connectivity.”

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