Cisco pursues aggressive strategy

Incumbent Cisco Australia and New Zealand managing director Gary Jackson makes no apologies for his company's aggressive strategy and admits to winning deals with products below list price.

Recently Cisco's competitors, particularly Cabletron, have spoken out at Cisco's practice of cutting prices in order to secure contracts.

"We will do everything in our power not to lose anything," Jackson said. "I make no apologies for that. "Yes, there are plenty of deals we do that are definitely not at list price.

"I defy any of my competitors to look you, me or anybody else in the eye and say: 'But of course we never do that ourselves'. It is an extremely aggressive and competitive marketplace. And that isn't restricted to the networking industry," he said.

Jackson takes over as Asia/Pacific director for Cisco's service provider line of business from the middle of next month, replacing Bill Nuti, who is now president of Europe for Cisco. Jackson has spent almost three years at the helm of Cisco Australia/New Zealand.

"I have this view that every two and a half to three years you should be tackling something different, preferably within the company you're at if you're enjoying yourself," Jackson explained.

"I don't think it's easy to continue to drive a team enthusiastically if you're doing the same thing for long periods." Jackson leaves Cisco's Australian operations with a team he is tremendously proud of and some significant wins under his belt, including AAPT, PowerTel and Qantas Enterprise.

Additionally, Jackson has steered Cisco to considerable success with local telecommunications companies. He said the company had shifted its focus to the telcos, which now comprise 30 per cent of Cisco's revenues, compared with 11 per cent two years ago.

"We've nearly tripled our revenues over the two and a half years and we've established number one market share in almost all of our key market positions," Jackson said.

He said the Asian role was a "really good opportunity", and Cisco's service provider business was the most significant line within the company. He will be responsible for increasing Cisco's business with the region's telcos and ISPs, aiming to be number one over competitors Lucent and Nortel within the next two to four years.

"Sometimes in your career you look around and say: 'I feel like I'm at home', and that's how I feel at Cisco," Jackson said. "I wouldn't even remotely consider a move." Jackson joined Cisco in 1997 after stints with Sybase and Microsoft.

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