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India to be among top 5 markets for Cisco by 2025

Telecom gear maker Cisco is bullish about India’s business prospects where rapid digitisation across sectors and 5G play are fuelling robust growth, a top executive said on Monday, adding India is well on its way to be counted among top five markets for the company globally by 2025.

On the new regulations in offing in India’s telecom and IT sectors, Daisy Chittilapilly, President, Cisco India and SAARC, told PTI that guardrails are important and “needed” as connectivity improves, digital touches lives of more and more people, and new areas such as AI emerge.

The guardrails are in fact good for the industry and Cisco is supportive of any regulation and law that drives towards establishing such guardrails, she said, lauding the extensive industry-wide consultations being undertaken by the government, as new rules are drafted in tech and telecom sectors.

The company believes that the Indian market will be resilient for the next decade in terms of growth.

Chittilapilly said India has been a top-performing market in APJC (Asia Pacific, Japan and China) and well on the way to becoming a top five market globally.

“India is currently a top 10 country for Cisco, and our ambition is to get into the top 5 by 2025. We are on a good trajectory to be there,” Chittilapilly said.

The company continues to see robust growth in India powered by digitisation across sectors. “Every sector you can think about is adopting technology at a scale we have never seen before. We believe India will be resilient for the next decade in terms of growth. There may be volatility, but long-term forecast is one of growth for India…,” she said.

While people are more cautious and spends are being scrutinised, there is no postponement or reduction in IT spends.

“The forecast is consistent and robust across hardware, software, services…cloud, SAAS…worldwide too,” the Cisco India top honcho said.

There is a realisation post-COVID that tech debt is not a good formula for long-term success of any enterprise or organisation.

“So caution is up, but spends and budget have remained unwavering and we don’t see any negative trends in the growth forecast. And we in India are doing quite well. It is one of the fastest-growing markets for APJC (Asia Pacific Japan China) and Cisco Worldwide,” she said.

The growth in India is being led by digitisation across sectors, massive connectivity programmes, 5G roll-out and tech adoption by SMEs — all of which augur well for tech players and certainly Cisco, she said.

Also, global ambition of Indian enterprises is driving faster adoption of tech as these companies look to diversify footprint and leverage technology to up their game.

“There is digitisation of India, mass roll-out of connectivity programmes, 5G, digitisation in sectors like transportation, utilities, agriculture and others. Also, Indian enterprises are global in ambition and outlook, and for many a significant part of the revenue is coming from outside India. As they look to be leaders in their space, it calls for a certain degree of level-playing field in technology that they want to adopt,” Chittilapilly said.

SMBs are an “amazing story in India” and adding to the growth momentum of the market.

“For us we see very democratic growth across public-private enterprise as well as SMB, which is best way for digital India to happen. That means possibilities of digital divide are lesser and lesser,” she noted.

Globally too, the company’s latest quarterly results have shown that all the important metrics are doing well.

On the new laws in India like the proposed telecom bill and digital personal data protection legislation that are on the anvil, she said, Cisco’s philosophy is all about being compliant to laws in the markets it operates in. Regulations and guardrails are a part of the equation, according to her.

“We believe we need guardrails. As new areas emerge, data privacy, security, artificial intelligence, as telecom connectivity improves and it touches everybody in India, you need guardrails. Guardrails are good for the industry to have a common set of standards and benchmarks to operate against. So we are supportive of any regulation and law that drives towards establishing that guardrail and common parameters of operation for all of us,” Chittilapilly said.

Lauding the consultation on various draft bills, she said, the government’s extensive dialogue with the industry “is a welcome and forward looking position”.

“It is a welcome move from the government to be able to define things which have been in vague space for a long time in India,” she said.

When these bills become law, “we will find a way to be compliant and operate”, Chittilapilly pointed out.

“That is the cost of doing business in any country and geopolitical situation in the world is such that, in every country there are a set of regulations that the country wants everyone, who does business in that market, to abide by,” she said. PTI

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