by Lee Kwang-jae, Reporterfirstname.lastname@example.org
"Only when elements such as the education system, the best infra, corporate leadership, and strong government direction, could we firmly secure corporate or national competitiveness. Such elements become the basis for productivity improvements. In particular, in the interest of productivity improvements, a change in the IT environment is indispensable."
So said John Chambers, president and CEO of Cisco Systems. "For the sake of maximizing productivity, corporations must invest for the long-term looking 10 years in advance because improvements in GDP, IT and national competitiveness exist in direct one-to-one relationships with each other."
Mr. Chambers' visit to Korea last month was designed to encourage local staff, to grasp the present situation of the Korean IT industry, and to exchange opinions with domestic industry leaders regarding the direction of the global network industry. In this vein, Mr. Chambers gave a lecture entitled to an audience of members the Korea Chamber of Commerce & Industry (KCCI) entitled "The Power to Align Business Strategies and IT Strategies." He emphasized that companies must focus on building an intelligent, integrated network infrastructure, while reengineering business processes and integrating applications to maximize IT investments, increase productivity and enhance competitiveness.
During the lecture, Mr. Chambers asserted emphatically, "Only when network infra construction, business processor integration as well as reengineering is tailored to the network environment, effective IT investment that maximizes productivity as well as competitiveness can be attained."
He said industry job creation in the coming years will be among smaller companies worldwide, including Korea. Accordingly, the CEO stated that Cisco plans to enlarge the scope of the company's leasing and installment sales business toward companies of all sizes, but that the largest productivity increase will be realized among smaller companies.
As part of this strategy, Mr. Chambers announced that Cisco Systems would make US$50 million available in financing to small and medium sized companies adopt and deploy advanced Cisco networking equipment. In other words, Cisco Systems is committing itself to boosting the business productivity and efficiency of Korean smaller companies through the provision of this funding. The fund will be operated by Cisco Systems Capital Korea, which provides leasing and other financial services to Korean customers.
Mr. Chambers said, "Since Cisco arrived in Korea, we have provided $250 million in lease, loan and installment payment financing to Korean service providers and large enterprise customers." However, to allow smaller companies to seize the lead in the future through deploying advanced networks, the company is extending this type of service to the value of $50 million to Korean small and medium enterprises that are handicapped in their ability to acquire leading edge equipment because of difficulties engendered by the current business recession.
He observed that Korea's smaller companies wanting to upgrade their network equipment regularly in the interests of improving productivity and competitiveness will be able to significantly cut down on their initial IT investment expenses by taking advantage of this financing opportunity provided by Cisco.
In conclusion, he emphasized, "Cisco will maintain its interest in, and support of the Korea market even though Korea's security situation has recently emerged as a subject of discussion." He added that the Korean IT market will likely to undergo continuous growth because the strength of government support is far greater compared to other countries in terms of education or provision of IT infra.