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Cisco's E Commerce Connection Essay

698 words - 3 pages

In 2001, Cisco sold more than $17 billion of a total $19 billion worth of routers, switches, and other network interconnect devices over the Web. Cisco's Web site (www.cisco.com) has evolved over several years, beginning with technical support for customers and developing into one of the world's largest e-commerce sites. Today, Cisco offers nearly a dozen Internet-based applications to both end-use customers and reseller partners.Cisco began providing Internet support in 1991. Software downloads, defect tracking, and technical advice were the first applications. In 1994, Cisco put its system on the Web and named its site Cisco Connection Online. By 1998, Cisco's customers and reseller partners were logging onto Cisco's Web site about one million times a month to receive technical assistance, check orders, or download software. The on-line service has been so well received that over 90% of all customer service inquiries are delivered on-line, as are 90% of software updates.Cisco builds virtually all its products to order, so there are very few off-the-shelf products. Before the Cisco Web site, ordering a product was lengthy and complicated. Cisco began deploying e-commerce tools in 1995, and by 1996, the Internet Product Center allowed users to purchase any Cisco product over the Web. In 1999, the same customer's engineer could sit down at a PC, configure a product on-line, immediately detect any errors, and route the order to Cisco's procurement department. Cisco's large customers take advantage of immediate and automatic access to Cisco's on-line ordering, configuration, and technical support tools. But, because of their large purchasing volumes, these large customers sought a faster alternative to Cisco's Web site. Therefore, an alternative program was launched in 1997 that interactively links the customer's and Cisco's computer systems over the Internet. In this way the configuration of the new system and the price is validated at the customer's own PC before the order is placed.With on-line pricing and configuration tools, about 98% of the large orders go through Cisco's system, saving time for both Cisco and its customers. Lead times were reduced, down from 4 to 10 days to only 2 to 3 days, and customers'...

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