But for Cisco's enterprise customers, choice and integration with other vendors remains a pressing issue.
Patricia M. Lawicki, vice president and CIO at Pacific Gas and Electric Company (PG&E), a Cisco customer since 1987, said that the company's technology plays a key part in helping PG&E restructure its IT operations after the California electricity crisis of 2000 and 2001 forced the company into bankruptcy.
Cisco's technology is helping PG&E with a major business transformation, including the phasing out of mainframe and first-generation client-server applications, a major deployment of technology from SAP, and overhauls of supply chain and customer service systems.
While PG&E is using the company's NAC appliance, Cisco's full NAC solution, which requires wholesale upgrades to its networking infrastructure, remains too expensive for PG&E to adopt, especially with the wealth of legacy Cisco hardware that would need to be replaced, Lawicki said.
A committed Cisco customer, PG&E still wants to be able to choose best-of-breed solutions -- particularly in areas like security -- and is pushing Cisco and its other suppliers to make that possible, she said.