Cisco: Business Value Proposition and ROI Tools

Cisco Systems, Inc. is the worldwide leader in networking equipment for the Internet, with over 20 years’ experience bringing Internet Protocol-based (IP) networking to business, education, government, and home networks.

Business problem
In 2005, Cisco was launching a new series of products in an ambitious new initiative called the Application-Oriented Network (AON). With the AON product line, for the first time Cisco was embedding application messaging functionality, normally the realm of middleware software, directly into the network. As this was a new area for Cisco, the AON team sought assistance in crisply articulating the business value proposition of AON and building a series of ROI tools to estimate this value for a prospective customer.

Callan Consulting started by performing a situation assessment, interviewing experts knowledgeable about application messaging and the business value of embedding it into the IP network. Callan Consulting worked with Cisco to identify several viable use cases for AON technology, including general application messaging, RFID deployment, and branch office application hosting.

Based on the information gathered in the situation assessment, Callan Consulting built three separate ROI models, one for each use case, and validated them with additional expert interviews. These validation interviews were performed both with internal Cisco experts and with early adopter AON customers. In addition, Ed developed a set of additional sales tools to describe the value proposition covered in these models, including a customer-facing white paper and a sales presentation.

The AON marketing team rolled out the new tools to the sales team in late 2005, and they were well received. Callan Consulting supported this roll-out, performing training sessions for the sales team and even participating in Cisco briefings on the AON value proposition to major industry analysts.