About this blog

News and analysis of developments in the enterprise communication industry and market with primary focus on Europe.

The author aims to tap into ideas, insights and thoughts of the readers to get varied perspectives.

Views expressed in this blog are solely the author's opinion and in no way reflect those of his employer.

Tuesday, February 27, 2007

When to stop milking the cow?

Today I met with the Head of Strategy, Siemens Enterprise at my offices. Not technically. Although we were supposed to have the meeting in our offices, since all the conference rooms were booked, we descended to a bar nearby which we assumed would be empty at 9AM. To our surprise, we had company. Lots of people were having meetings, suggesting a serious shortage of office space in the Victoria area of London. Fortunately my guests liked the arrangement. They even collected the visiting card from the concierge of the hotel to which the bar is attached.

That was a sidetrack. Getting to the point. Siemens Enterprise is in a unique position. They have historically enjoyed a position of strength when TDM signals ruled the voice world. They were like a rajah, with a very huge entourage of direct sales force keeping their installed base happy. While their friends (or do we say foes in the market) such as Alcatel and Nortel slowly adjusted to newer market forces by moving indirect, Siemens Enterprise defied the writing on the wall and continued with their direct sales at the cost of falling margins. Till 2004, close to 90% of their revenues were attributed to direct sales. However, we have to give them their due credit. While the market pressure forced giants such as Ericsson and Nortel succumb, Siemens kept going, thanks to their strong portfolio. Today they stand at a juncture.

Its is known that the future is indirect, is hosted and is most likely to be a software based service. The brilliant engineers at Siemens' have built the product that will take them to the future. Yet, they can't stop milking their cash cows (legacy infrastructure). The big question before them is- When and how do we switch?

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