Cisco unveils government sector expansion

Cisco Systems Inc. is expanding its Government Services unit to include its state and local, education, and health care services units. The new Public Sector Organization will begin operating Aug. 1, the start of Cisco's fiscal year.

Bruce Klein, formerly vice president of U.S. federal sales, will head the new group as Public Sector Organization vice president. Patrick Finn will succeed Klein as vice president of the federal group within the realignment.

The idea, Klein said, is to be able "to provide more focus and direction for the overall government customer."

The realignment, which has been on the drawing board for two years, is an attempt by Cisco to blend its various systems and solutions that were previously in separate silos and broaden its offerings. "We saw a lot of benefit in what we can deliver to the customer by being better coordinated from an organizational perspective," Klein said.

For instance, he said, a force protection solution developed for the Defense Department can also be applied on higher education campuses. "We're talking to Virginia Tech exactly about how that could help them avoid [a repetition of] the problems they had last year," Klein said.

Cisco has begun reassigning employees from its state and local, education, and publicly funded health care units into the new organization. Nobody is moving physically, he said.

Once fully staffed, the public-sector group will have about 1,500 employees, including a sales force, engineers and various managers. Previously the federal sector numbered about 400 employees, Klein said.

A shared-services group will assist with solutions creation and development, finance and legal issues, reseller channels, and marketing. "Within that shared-services organization, we've put the functions that we can leverage to cut across the entire public sector," Klein said.

The new arrangement also aligns with Cisco's partners, he added. "A lot of the partner community has already organized around a public sector go-to-market" arrangement, Klein said, citing Northrop Grumman Corp. and GTSI Inc.

Klein said he doesn't expect to receive any customer feedback until at least the end of the first quarter. "The whole idea is to get closer to customers, to be more domain experts for our customers and provide solutions that are either going to help save money or improve their capability."

About the Author

David Hubler is the former print managing editor for GCN and senior editor for Washington Technology. He is freelance writer living in Annandale, Va.

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