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Business News/ Companies / People/  Biggest needle mover during covid are SMBs: Cisco India's Daisy Chittilapilly

Biggest needle mover during covid are SMBs: Cisco India's Daisy Chittilapilly

Cisco has introduced affordable Webex licensing for education customers, which cost a fraction of the commercial offering
  • The company has worked with startups to create solutions like ICU monitoring carts, while connecting health workers and doctors during Covid
  • Daisy Chittilapilly, Managing Director, Digital Transformation Office, Cisco India and SAARCPremium
    Daisy Chittilapilly, Managing Director, Digital Transformation Office, Cisco India and SAARC

    What started as a necessity has become a new way of life. The covid-led shift from a physical work model to a virtual one driven by online networking and collaboration is gaining more ground. At the forefront of some of these transitions are companies like Cisco. In a Q&A with Mint, Daisy Chittilapilly, managing director, Digital Transformation Office, Cisco India and SAARC dwells on how they enabled some of the transitions for different sectors.

    How did Cisco handle the sudden shift to work from home and demand for remote working tools after the virus outbreak?

    In the first month of the pandemic, we enabled about 600 companies and over 5 lakh employees to work from home. We realised that this is not going to be just about existing customers. Many will need them in a hurry. So we put out 90-day trial across the entire portfolio of Cisco products from Webex to security solutions so they could be freely available to everyone and anyone in the Indian market.

    We saw exponential growth in the number of first-time customers. In case of Webex, at last count, we have almost 4 million trial licenses which have been downloaded. More than 50% of them came on board after the lockdown.

    Where did the highest adoption come from?

    Over 55% of the customers who signed up were small and medium businesses while another 20% were individuals. So the biggest needle mover for us has been small and medium business. Big enterprises did whatever was required, but they did have a head start. They had been using a lot of our technology, but the biggest shift in consumption has certainly come from the bottom of the pyramid.

    How did Cisco tailor its products to meet the requirements in other sectors like education which was also forced to shift to remote working/learning?

    What would work very well in an enterprise collaboration platform is not what perhaps education needs. And therefore we introduced a different version of Webex for classrooms. It was curated for education space and was more intuitive to use for students. The other thing which we have done after virus outbreak is from an affordability point of view. We have brought out more affordable licensing for education customers, which are available at a fraction of the cost at which commercial customers are buying it.

    In what way did Cisco help health organisations overcome the challenges of covid-19?

    We have an internal accelerator or incubator. We used it to bring some of the startups to market during covid-19 in a very meaningful way. We collaborated with them to create solutions like ICU monitoring carts. A lot of the health organizations at the forefront of fighting the pandemic had to handle training and combating [the virus] at the same time. In Gujarat we had over 80 hospitals with 4,000 doctors who used our products for both connecting and collaborating. In Bangalore, Rajiv Gandhi University of Health Sciences, a nodal task force to combat the pandemic, connected doctors, nurses, paramedics and thousands of extended front line workers virtually.

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    Abhijit Ahaskar
    Abhijit writes on tech policy, gaming, security, AI, robotics, electronics and startups. He has been in the media industry for over 12 years.
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    Updated: 03 Nov 2020, 10:35 AM IST
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