I have been extremely vocal about the penetration (or the lack of it) of tablets into the enterprise. There has been a small albeit significant uptake for tablets in the enterprise but for the most part tablets are finding it hard to find a place in the otherwise technology heavy enterprise segment.
There are various reasons as to why tablet use has not picked up in the enterprise space including the obvious one, like tablets are not enterprise ready, there isn’t a strong use-case or that their position in the existing hardware ecosystem at enterprises is not well-defined.
However, there is one reason which is rather basic and makes the most sense- Lack Of Security.
For enterprises, information (data) is the biggest asset and no company can afford any compromises on that. With PC’s and LAN being the traditional modus operandi at majority of enterprises, the security aspect is handled aptly by tweaking firewalls and access filters. A tablet is structurally and functionally a disruption in the sense it allows for sharing of information. A mobile device which lets for exchange of data over a 3G connection or a Wi-FI connection – that’s a big nightmare for the information security guy in the enterprise.
One reason why the existing tablet makers haven’t forayed into the enterprise segment by handling the security aspect is largely a function of the existing state of tablet market. On one hand, there is iPad and then there are those Android based tablet manufacturers.
Well, I haven’t seen Apple really excited about the enterprise sales channel and Android being open source has its own challenges. One lesser discussed reason is that the majority of tablet makers have either been consumer based companies or have marketed their tablets primarily from a consumer standpoint.
Enter Cisco and you have an OEM which earns its bread and butter from Enterprise and Enterprise alone. Cisco is almost ubiquitous in the enterprise especially when it comes to Unified Communications (voice, data communications/networking).
Cius is Cisco’s entry into the ever increasing list of tablets. What’s more, Cisco is playing to its strengths and is focused on the untapped enterprise segment. Cisco is now launching its tablet- Cius in India and is targeting the tablet at the enterprise
I do not track the tablet space very well but I do manage to read about a new tablet being launched every other day. I do not remember anyone covering Cius’s launch and possibly because Cisco is not marketing it for the consumer segment.
They are looking to leverage their strengths and targeting their entire marketing / sales efforts towards the enterprise segment. To put things into perspective, Cisco already has about 700,000 users in the enterprise for a variety of its IP telephony and networking products.
That’s a large enough target base to sell to and going by how enterprise sales cycle work, Cisco stands to work towards causing a serious disruption by bringing entire department resources to use tablets. With Cisco’s experience in enterprise sales, it may not face the friction other tablet makers are expected to face if they try selling it to the enterprise.
With Cius, Cisco’s messaging is also very clear and ties perfectly with the enterprise. For one, they aren’t harping on the size of the appstore etc., but rather hinting at the enhanced security features on offer.
Also supporting Cisco’s cause is seamless integration with Cisco’s networking and communication infrastructure (wireless LANs) which is how Cisco can manage to control information flow and delivery a secure experience. Additionally, Cius is being positioned for improved productivity though it is yet to be seen if Cisco has tied up with any enterprise software vendors to provide tablet optimized versions of frequently used enterprise tools.
The positioning for Cius is definitely on the money but the technical specifications made me cringe a little. The seven-inch touchscreen tablet works on Intel Atom Processor and comes with 1GB RAM (expandable memory up to 32GB), dual cameras (front and back) and 3G/4G and WiFi support.
Atom is not the strongest processor out there and a 1GB RAM does not really speak “Heavy Duty Performance”. The pricing is a little steep as well at Rs 35,000 for the tablet and Rs 50,000 for the tablet with a docking station.
But I don’t see price being a major barrier especially in the enterprise segment if the tablet manages to deliver on its promise of security and improved productivity. Only time will tell but I have to say that Cisco could be a step ahead in pushing tablets into the enterprise.
What are your thoughts on Cisco’s tablet launch in India targeted specifically at the enterprise segment?
Will Cisco manage to leverage its existing install base and make tablets popular in the enterprise or will Cius face the same fate as the many tablet makers out there