Cisco’s India growth to be driven by government orders

NEW DELHI:U.S.-based networking giant Cisco expects India’s public sector to be one of the fastest growing verticals for the company, driven by the government’s focus on programmes such as Digital India and increasing spends by the state governments on adoption of technology.

GROWTH STORY: The company's overall business in India grew by 18 % during the quarter year-on-year. File photo

“Business with government is extremely important,” Puneet Gupta, Managing Director (Enterprise and Public Sector Sales), Cisco India & SAARC said in an interview. “Cisco’s vision and strategy is to align with the national agenda of Digital India, Make in India and Smart cities. It is not just a feel good story…It is a massive business opportunity from our stand point.”

He added that the business with government has done “exceptionally well” over the last four years, driven in part by “unprecedented” business that the company is doing with the state governments.

“I have never in my career seen business grow in the way our business is growing with the state governments…States are taking a lot more decisions, spending a lot more money. About 5-6 years back it used to be a lot more about the mega projects in the Central government. Now it is a lot more distributed…,” Mr Gupta said.

Provident fund
Cisco is currently working of projects like centralisation of the provident fund application for all employees with the Central Government, beside it has collaborated with several state governments like Andhra Pradesh, Madhya Pradesh and Rajasthan, for Smart City projects.

“Our investments in the states will go definitely go up. We can’t work with the state government sitting in Delhi… While many states in India are still in early stages of development of their Smart Cities, Cisco is working with them through the planning stages to facilitate digital transition,” Mr Gupta said.

Globally, public sector business for the company grew six per cent in January-March quarter. In India, public sector is already one of the top three verticals for the company. The networking giant’s overall business in India grew by 18 per cent during the quarter year-on-year.

Asked about changes in the government sector over the past few years, Mr Gupta said in today’s environment dealing with the government was not as big a challenge as it was a few years ago.

“Firstly, there is a change in the government executives. Their understanding of what role technology can play; the importance of technology in governance… I think that shift has been very significant over that past few years. Today, executives in the government are very aware. Sometimes their understanding of technology is even better than industry folks… The role that the government executives are playing really makes things a lot easier from our stand point.”

Better decision-making
The entire decision-making process in the government is getting better, he said. “Technology has its own nuances. There are a lot of changes that happen with time. Government has become much better and smarter at making decision which really helps.”

“In the past 5-6 years, there was always this view that are we making enough progress? What we have heard in the last few days with the government completing two years, it is very evident that the progress is a lot stronger than what it used to be earlier. And there is no doubt that over the next three years we should see fair amount of work happening,” Mr Gupta added.

India’s challenges from governance stand point will be more than any other nationtion, he said.