Cisco targets agencies' overall needs

Officials at Cisco Systems Inc. said today they are stepping up efforts to market a concept they call "breakthrough productivity" to the government. The concept emphasizes the overall business needs of agencies rather than individual transactions.

The network technology developer is trying to integrate several different government business lines internally, mirroring the government's emphasis on collaboration and consolidation, said Greg Akers, senior vice president and chief technology officer at Cisco's global government solutions group. Akers and others were speaking at a Cisco education day in Vienna, Va.

"They have to collaborate in ways they've never thought about before," Akers said of agencies, which are driven by the President's Management Agenda.

Breakthrough productivity refers to the integration of processes, applications, services and systems, said Scott Spehar, a Cisco vice president overseeing federal sales. He presented the concept as the logical successor to best-of-breed implementations and end-to-end networks.

Rather than focusing on individual needs, as best-of-breed does, or relying on a single primary vendor, as end-to-end implementations do, Cisco advocates using an intelligent information network to connect various aspects of an agency's IT structure.

"The idea of taking existing business practices and just overlaying new technologies is not going to get it done," he said.

Cisco first began targeting the government market in 1993, Akers said. Its primary focus has always been on defense, space and security applications.

The government is a challenging customer, Akers said, but a rewarding one.

"The government customer has a need to deploy technology in many different places and in many different ways that the commercial world will never encounter," he said.

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