Cisco Systems, which has seen its networking business come under increasing pressure in recent months from rivals, such as Hewlett-Packard and Juniper Networks, is hitting back with a marketing campaign that touts its broad product portfolio as significantly better than "good enough."
Cisco kicked off the campaign April 25 with the release of a press statement, video and white paper outlining why, in the current business climate, enterprises need a complete networking solution. The company continued the message with a Webcast April 27 in which Cisco executives and a partner said that with such trends as cloud computing and the consumerization of IT, the idea that networking is a commodity makes no sense.
"It's not a commodity in our mind," said Bob Cagnazzi, CEO of Cisco partner BlueWater Communications Group. "It's not a commodity in our clients' mind. ... It is mission-critical."
Cisco continues to dominate the networking space, with some analyst firms putting its market share at more than 65 percent. However, in recent years, other vendors, including HP, Juniper and Avaya, have begun to chip away at that dominance, through a combination of in-house innovation and acquisitions, such as HP's $2.7 billion purchase of 3Com last year.
One of the areas where they attacked Cisco has been in price, arguing that Cisco products were far too expensive. They also cautioned against vendor lock-in when choosing a Cisco solution. Some analyst firms, such as Gartner, also have argued against the need for a single-vendor solution, saying that companies that have added a second vendor into a Cisco environment had not seen any detrimental financial or operational effects.
However, during the Webcast, Mike Rau, vice president and CTO of Cisco's Borderless Networks unit, argued for the benefits that come with the deep integration between the company's various products. In addition, the network management and security offerings offered by Cisco give enterprises a greater of control and confidence in the products, Rau said.
If a business uses best-of-breed products from multiple vendors, they'll only get a fraction of the benefits that can come from a total Cisco infrastructure, he said.
For more, read the eWEEK article: Cisco Pushes Back Against Networking Rivals, Critics.