Feature Articles

PLDT x Cisco: Energizing enterprises of all sizes

By Lionell Go Macahilig - 5 Apr 2017

PLDT x Cisco: Energizing enterprises of all sizes

pldt, cisco, smes, enterprises, isp, meraki, eric alberto, irving tan, jovy hernandez, nico alcoseba, jojo gendrano, enrique rodriguez, bpo, banking, retail, government, lgu, networking, cyber security, visibility

Small size, big problems

Small and medium enterprises (SMEs) today are facing challenges that are quite similar to those that are encountered in large enterprises. For example, in an SME office, Wi-Fi access is available to all employees, but eventually, Internet connection becomes slow. The management might start blaming the Internet service provider (ISP), but because it has no visibility, it will never know that someone in the office is downloading torrents and hogging the entire bandwidth.

A worse scenario, these torrents and accesses to unknown sites may pave way for cyberthreats to attack the SME network. Most SMEs today simply buy a Wi-Fi access point from anywhere and deploy Wi-Fi by themselves without taking into account analytics, security, and visibility. However, traditionally, having these additional capabilities are associated with high costs, making them accessible only to large enterprises.

PLDT and Cisco to the rescue

Addressing the concerns that were mentioned, PLDT and Cisco forged an alliance that empowers the SME sector by democratizing these previously large enterprise-exclusive capabilities to them. The partnership with Cisco allows PLDT to bring differentiated solutions to both large enterprises and SMEs, enabling them to become more competitive not only domestically, but also in wider groups of markets and in entering the digital world of e-commerce.   

pldt, cisco, smes, enterprises, isp, meraki, eric alberto, irving tan, jovy hernandez, nico alcoseba, jojo gendrano, enrique rodriguez, bpo, banking, retail, government, lgu, networking, cyber security, visibility

“For particular lines of technology, we take the best of breed solutions for enterprises and Cisco does provide some very detailed lines of technology that are proven to be the best of the breed in the world. This partnership allows us to differentiate as a provider of managed services to enterprises. So there are specific lines of solutions such as Meraki. Cisco’s hardware and software solutions are not only world-class, but are also leading in the world and are comparable to none,” said Eric Alberto, Chief Revenue Officer, PLDT-Smart.

“First and foremost, I think that the partnership is a special one. What is special about it is the co-creation that we build together, that unique blend that Cisco and PLDT is offering to the market. In any case, we focus on the value that we can deliver to the customer. We have portfolios that specifically cater to the SME market and large enterprise market. We also have joint offerings with PLDT for customers who want to leverage cloud-based, on-premise, or hybrid solutions. I can say that we have a broad portfolio of offerings that meet specific customer needs and price points,” Irving Tan, President for Enterprise and Commercial, Cisco APAC and Japan.

pldt, cisco, smes, enterprises, isp, meraki, eric alberto, irving tan, jovy hernandez, nico alcoseba, jojo gendrano, enrique rodriguez, bpo, banking, retail, government, lgu, networking, cyber security, visibility

The geography that Cisco covers in Asia-Pacific including Japan covers emerging markets and it has successful models that it introduced particularly to SMEs. Together, the combined synergy of PLDT’s network, brick-and-mortar platforms, data centers, relationships with the enterprise market, sales and engineering teams, and the software and hardware solutions that Cisco has, the partnership offers tailored formulas to all enterprise segments.    

“If you have noticed the role that we have for the enterprise, we are really an enabling partner. Frankly, they can buy their own boxes just to be transparent. But that is an expense on their part. They’ll need an IT personnel to handle it. So what PLDT did is it partnered with Cisco so that we can give our customers, SMEs, these solutions on a monthly OPEX (operating expense) rate. If you take a look at the price point, there is a national tendency for us to inquire about the price. But one thing that is missing in the equation is that, you take a look at the price then compare it to the savings that the customer will get or the amount of new revenues that they will be able to get, then you have the complete equation. As long as the price point will be able to show that they will save more or get more revenues, then that will definitely make more sense,” Jovy Hernandez, Senior Vice President and Head, PLDT and Smart Enterprise Business Groups, remarked.

pldt, cisco, smes, enterprises, isp, meraki, eric alberto, irving tan, jovy hernandez, nico alcoseba, jojo gendrano, enrique rodriguez, bpo, banking, retail, government, lgu, networking, cyber security, visibility

Cutting down on cost and time

The array of solutions brought about by the partnership between PLDT and Cisco does not only address the question of value in terms of cost perspective. It is also bringing efficiency in terms of delivery to enterprises. Harnessing the capabilities of the cloud and SDN (software-defined network), enterprises can significantly cut down on the time spent in deploying connectivity and data access among different networks.

“We now have interconnected three of our data centers and the direction is to connect all of them. It is part of our support to the government’s cloud-first policy. The benefit of having SDN in your data center, for example, all ten data centers can now be seen as one. We have a number of clients who put their data in two different locations, say in Pasig and in Makati. For now, the way for them to access that is through a physical line and the way to configure that is the usual 30- to 45-day period to have that network up and running. With SDN, it’s just a click. The month-long period becomes a few minutes,” said Nico Alcoseba, PLDT’s Vice President and Head of Disruptive Business Group.

pldt, cisco, smes, enterprises, isp, meraki, eric alberto, irving tan, jovy hernandez, nico alcoseba, jojo gendrano, enrique rodriguez, bpo, banking, retail, government, lgu, networking, cyber security, visibility

“To reinforce that statement, with the Wi-Fi solution that we offer, customers will be able to leverage the cloud. I mentioned the cloud because all of the intelligence and analytics are not contained to the access point itself, they are all based on the cloud. Because of the cloud, you can actually deploy features and functionalities much faster. With the Meraki access point that has cloud functionalities on it from the management perspective, it actually enables you to do that. Think of a scenario that you are actually sharing a PowerPoint, spreadsheet, or a Word file to a colleague. Right now the experience was you’ll email it to them and make a phone call. With the help of the cloud, you can actually work together, view the document on a laptop or a mobile phone, and the do the session inside the boardroom or even outside the office,” Jojo Gendrano, Vice President and Head of Core Business Solutions, PLDT Enterprise, added.

pldt, cisco, smes, enterprises, isp, meraki, eric alberto, irving tan, jovy hernandez, nico alcoseba, jojo gendrano, enrique rodriguez, bpo, banking, retail, government, lgu, networking, cyber security, visibility

Across the board, across the nation

The beauty of the array of solutions that PLDT and Cisco offer is its applicability to all, whether the enterprise is active in the field of banking, business process outsourcing (BPO), media, retail, or even the government.

“We also consult our customers. In fact, recently, we talked with some executives from a bank, a hospital, a campus university with 17 buildings, and a mall operator. When we discussed, the bank wants to have the capability to identify the customers who enter their premises. The mall operator wants to identify their visitors, know the other malls that they visited, and monitor the locators that they patronize, so that they can customize the offering value of their establishment. The hospital, on the other hand, wants to digitize their records, so that if they have another branch, they will no longer need to get your information again and customize what they want to do to you. So we discuss how they will use the technology and the services. But at the end of the discussions, I normally tell them that we’re talking about the same solution. It is the same stack of solutions and it is up to the customers to find value in their business in consuming these solutions and services from PLDT,” Enrique Rodriguez, Country Manager of Cisco Philippines, added.

pldt, cisco, smes, enterprises, isp, meraki, eric alberto, irving tan, jovy hernandez, nico alcoseba, jojo gendrano, enrique rodriguez, bpo, banking, retail, government, lgu, networking, cyber security, visibility

“If you look at the key verticals in the country, they still include BPO, which is experiencing a double-digit growth year-on-year and we actually have ambitious targets until 2022. We also have retailing, wherein some of the malls are opening here and more. If you take a look at the provinces, especially on the SME side, the last time that we visited Bohol, all of them are already demanding real connectivity for all of their units. So it is really happening across the nation, whether your industry is small or large. Government of course is another one and we have more progressive, young, and dynamic leaders even down to the local government units (LGUs). I just want to express a point that this is just the start, because Cisco and PLDT is collaborating together, putting our strengths together, and that is the commitment that our management teams have put up and that is the real message that we want to convey,” Hernandez concluded.