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The Asian Development Bank is confident that we will see the rise of an Asian century – a dominance of Asian business, politics and culture across the globe. Even the projected economic slowdown is not clouding the optimism of businesses over here. Many whom I speak to are enthusiastically planning for the future and have their minds set on riding the digital wave.

A key driver of Asia’s economic growth is SMBs and mid-market businesses. They account for 70 percent of Asia’s total employment and 50 percent of GDP. Despite that, many are limited in their efforts to transform their businesses and take advantage of the opportunities brought upon by the digital era. 

What’s stopping them? First, the amount of investment needed to implement the right technology that will help SMBs compete in a digital economy. Even if that investment exists, some technologies are complex and add burdens of time and cost into already strained operating models. Then, there are also workforce challenges. Not every business has the capacity and employer brand to compete for the best talent to implement these solutions.

STARTing on a different note: Simple, Secure and Smart

And really, that shouldn’t be the case. I believe the benefits of digitization should be easily attainable to any organization and, as a technology company, it is our job to make it simple for them to participate in the digital economy.

This is why we are launching Cisco START in Asia-Pacific - after a successful launch in Japan. Cisco START is a competitive priced suite of products and solutions, specifically designed to help these businesses build their digital foundation and drive Asia’s digital leadership. Cisco START is simple, secure and smart. It takes minutes to deploy, it allows for centralized and real-time management of the IT assets and, very importantly, it protects SMBs from day 1. We treat security like insurance. No business should operate without it and now we made it very simple and affordable for SMBs and mid-market enterprises to start on that good note.

 

Cisco START Portfolio

Cisco START comprises a portfolio of networking solutions, including wireless, switching and routing, as well as collaboration solutions, unified computing systems and embedded security across the entire portfolio.  Everything SMBs and mid-market enterprises need to boost operations efficiency and productivity, while reducing Total Cost of Ownership (TCO).

Now, let me share some of the technology highlights in Cisco START and briefly explain what they can do for the SMB and mid-market business: 

  • Cisco Catalyst 2960-L switches: this is a brand new catalyst series of switch, and the best on the market!  Take an 8 port or 16 port model as an example here - it is a small, quit, slim and sturdy design that powers a range of both office and IoT devices. It can be managed over the web GUI, Bluetooth, which helps SMBs simplify IT operations.
  • Find IT Network Manager: Managing IT is never easy. The challenge is either not knowing what is happening on the network, or having to go through too many tools to fix it. Find IT takes care of that. It’s a smart and simple application that allows you to set up and manage everything on your entire network with a single user friendly dashboard. This allows businesses to focus on what really matters to the business rather than spending copious amounts of time in maintenance.
  • Collaboration solutions: Cisco START also comes with Cisco’s phones, video end points and world-class next-generation meetings capabilities, which includes Jabber, WebEx and Spark Room services. One of the most defining aspects of the digital economy will be the ability to work and collaborate with your teams anywhere, anytime. With these collaboration tools, Cisco is taking down the walls that often stand in the way of productivity and teamwork.
  • Security: Whether you are a company of 5 people or 500, the risk of suffering a data breach or ransomware remains the same. That is why Cisco START offers a security-first approach. Cisco START’s security portfolio includes AMP, Anyconnect, OpenDNS and next generation firewall ASA5506-X, which form Cisco’s security solutions.

The Future is Bright for Asia’s SMBs and Midmarkets

By making enterprise-level technology available – right sized and right priced – Cisco START is going to change the playing field, allowing SMBs and midmarkets to be more innovative, faster, collaborative and ambitious. It opens up new opportunities for reimaging business models and delivering more value. When that happens, Asia’s economic leadership will be inevitable. Aren’t you excited just thinking about the possibilities?