Cisco is not concerned about the future of e-commerce — it’s making and saving money now, to the tune of $US2 billion a year, entirely over the Internet.
Cisco’s chief financial officer, Brian Butler, says Cisco conducts 36% of its business over the Internet worldwide. Australia does 40% of this business, while in New Zealand an astonishing 70% of Cisco’s business is transacted over the Net.
Butler sees these figures as only the beginning. “We have adapted our financial systems to take into account the differing tax regimes around the world and are fully GST compliant,” says Butler.
Cisco’s Web site, Cisco Connection Online (CCO), www.cisco.com, is designed with several layers of interaction to allow customers, employees or resellers access to Cisco’s intranet. Once logged on, a customer can select and purchase equipment or services, track an existing order through the system, check account details and even link to the company that will courier the final product to check on its progress.
Cisco Australasia managing director Gary Jackson firmly believes that the sharing of information can only result in a more efficient business model. “Sharing our knowledge and extending our reach to those in business is our goal,” says Jackson.
Butler is happy to see money not only being made over the Internet, but also being saved. He quotes the number of actions recorded by the CCO as evidence of customer contacts that would otherwise have been made over the phone.
“In September we recorded a total of 260,000 inquiries with a further 100,000 actual orders being taken. If we weren’t on line, that would have meant taking more than 350,000 phone calls.”
Butler believes the saving in toll-free calls alone means the service pays for itself, but adding the savings made in staffing, office space and equipment brings the figure up to around $US250 million.
Rather than detracting from traditional reseller channels, Jackson feels the CCO offers them added benefits. Supply and support are still directed through reseller channels.
Jackson has no plans to license or sell the software behind the Cisco CCO concept.