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Eric Krapf
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Eric Krapf | March 17, 2008 |

 
   

Aspirations and Perspiration

Aspirations and Perspiration I had a chance to spend a few minutes with Chris Thompson, Senior Director, Solutions Marketing at Cisco. We crammed a wide range of topics into a half-hour chat, of which I'll talk more as we go along, But the topic that made the deepest impression on me was Chris's discussion of how the state of the economy may affect the industry.

I had a chance to spend a few minutes with Chris Thompson, Senior Director, Solutions Marketing at Cisco. We crammed a wide range of topics into a half-hour chat, of which I'll talk more as we go along, But the topic that made the deepest impression on me was Chris's discussion of how the state of the economy may affect the industry.

I had a chance to spend a few minutes with Chris Thompson, Senior Director, Solutions Marketing at Cisco. We crammed a wide range of topics into a half-hour chat, of which I'll talk more as we go along, But the topic that made the deepest impression on me was Chris's discussion of how the state of the economy may affect the industry.Here's an interesting take on the whole "software-vs.-hardware" debate, at least for the short-term of the current downturn: Chris noted that as companies that employ lots of knowledge workers--like, oh, say, financial services companies--as these firms lay off large numbers of people, what are they going to do with all of the software licenses they bought? "You can bet there's somebody at Citibank who's very worried about how they shave their maintenance costs."

Which gets us to the issue of spending during a recession. Chris Thompson drew me a little picture of a curve that demonstrated buying behavior in communications, which he developed when he was with Gartner. It's basically an upside-down bell curve, with Recession and Expansion at the high ends and a valley in between. Chris said that purchasing is higher during recessionary and expansionary times than the inflection periods in between--albeit the purchasing is of a different character and with different purpose depending on whether you're in a recession or expansion.

Basically, during expansions you can do "aspirational" purchases like, well, much of what we're hearing as part of the UC noise. But during a recession, you do "perspirational" buying, i.e., the buying that runs your business. During a recession, Chris said, "You know what you need to do," and you do it.

So Chris's point was, the vendor in the enterprise communications space who can convince you that their product really will save you hard dollars now--that vendor can and will stand a chance of getting your business.



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