Liu Zhongdong, the president of Ruijie Networks, bought a smartphone from Xiaomi. Lots of friends asked him curiously if the phone works well and he answered,It has all the features I need.

Liu shows his appreciation to this enterprise for the innovation that it brings to the traditional industry with Internet Thinking by buying its smartphone. Early this year, Liu wrote a letter to Ruijie staffs, and in the letter he wrote,Today we are facing a upheaval raised by Internet technology, and how to handle it determines whether an enterprise creates miracles or fails.”


Internet Thinking

What impresses Liu deeply is that Internet enterprises nowadays pay special attention to client perception—it is far beyond the traditional enterprises and it makes a huge impact on them.In fact, the customer-centric concept has been discussed for years, but we have never achieved it well,he said.

2 days ago, Liu wanted to purchase a product and he expressed his needs to the manufacturer’s representative. However, the representative rejected his request and refused to satisfy his personal requirements. “In the past, manufacturers usually reject the customers in this situation, as a result customers’ needs have been repressed. However, enterprises nowadays respond differently. They collect the requirements and respond quickly to satisfy customers’ needs, which is amazing.”

Inspired by the Internet Thinking, Ruijie Networks has been trying to evolve into a customer-centric business in the past three years. “Internet technology helps us solve the problem of distance when interacting with our customers. In the past no matter how hard we tried, we could hardly meet several customers a day. But nowadays, Internet enables us to make voice or video calls to customers so that we can listen to our customers’ needs with all our hearts,”said Liu.   

This year Ruijie launched a enterprise-class project to listen to our customers.We realize that when the whole enterprise starts to build a customer-centric systemwe lack the exact methodology. We need to find a method to get true customer feedback, with which we can promote continuous internal development,said Liu Hongyu, the vice president of Ruijie who is in charge of this project,Later, we learned from NPS(Net Promoter Score), which has been adopted by many advanced enterprises nowadays.

Ruijie only asks customers a question using NPS—— would you like to recommend Ruijie products and services to others? Although it is a short question, it is much more effective in collecting customersfeedback than traditional methods such as telephone follow-up ,or asking customers tons of questions. If a customer gives a score of 10 or 9, it shows high customer satisfaction towards Ruijie. If the score is low, the enterprise should be alerted.

Currently there is an iconRuijie listens to your voiceon Ruijies website.We will continue to post our products and services on our website to collect NPS from clients. If the NPS of a certain product is not high enough, our product developers will analyze the cause, and this will prompt them to improve their work,said Liu Hongyu.

Listening to customers brings changes to Ruijie’s product innovation process in a deeper level. “Today we are no longer satisfied with the passive way of collecting clients’ requirements by receiving requests from them and screening their needs. We require our colleagues to walk into our customers’ scenario to point out the problems which they cannot see themselves and find a solution to solve them,”said Liu.


Uniting All Forces

The intention of meeting between Liu and Wang Endong, the CEO of Inspur Electronic Information Industry Co., Ltd. is to gain mutual support in the market. However, this meeting eventually promoted the strategic cooperation between the two enterprises.

In the meeting, we had a common thought to launch joint solutions because data centers nowadays require integrated solution of network, servers and storage technology,said Liu. Later, they gathered the R&D teams of both sides together and exchanged ideas.We realize that in many specific application scenarios, networks can solve the problems which servers can’t. If we integrate them together, we can create a wide range of unprecedented solutions. This is the opportunity for our cooperation.Recently, both sides have launched several joint solutions.I believe that the cooperation in solutions is the most valuable cooperation,said Liu.

In the 2014 Ruijie Partner Conference, Liu emphasized the idea of united forces.In the past, we often asked ourselves when cooperating with channels — how much do they contribute to the case? How much should we give them in return? Nothing seems wrong, but it is not a culture of cooperation,said Liu,Since the year before, we have changed our perspective. We believe that if we can’t help our partners and customers succeed, we won’t succeed either. Therefore, we have put a lot of effort such as spending time to understand what our partners truly need and setting high profit margins for the channels— this is truly not our concern. We will find solutions to help our partners win the projects and achieve customer satisfaction. All these give our partners a trustworthy impression. This is the idea of reversed sowing 

In 2013, Ruijie’s sales income has increased by 40%, of which 91% of the business is from partners, and they helped us expand into new markets.


Imitation and Independent Development

128—this is the number of networks manufacturers which advertised in one domestic media in 2000, but today just a few could do it.

The lack of independently developed technology is the main reason why most of the manufacturers could not survive after the bubble burst. Looking back at the development path of Ruijie over the decade, Liu is grateful that he has made the right decision despite the path being a tough and difficult one. “Independent innovation must be a path leading an enterprise to grow sustainably towards a bright future,” he commented. Liu summarizes the following three valued inspirations along the tough and tortuous way.

The first is about unwavering determination. When the network industry just began, it had a low entry threshold. However, the bar of technology requirement kept rising as high-end products were gaining importance in the market. “At that time, our turnover was small but independent innovation meant lots of resources. Shall we go on to make high-end products?” said Liu. “If we didn’t, we could relax immediately. But we also knew that we would lose our competitive strengths.” That is why Ruijie has always insisted on independent innovation. Liu recalled at that time, they didn’t realize how tough and long that way could be. And based on the resources Ruijie had, they were very likely to fail. Today, we know that Ruijie’s bigotry and ignorance are blessings in disguise, contributing to today’s remarkable achievements. “Soon after the launch of our first high-end product, we had a sweet taste of success. It’s like opening a new window and found numerous opportunities that were not visible before. There are lots of new markets out there for us to explore.” he said.

·The second is a unified solution of software and hardware. When Ruijie first started research and development of switches, the higher education sector is their key entry market. They were fully devoted in the hardware development, leaving operation management software for their partners to provide. However, later Liu found that when sales representatives discussed solutions with customers, they would easily be convinced and buy switches without the need of further explanation and discussion. The unified hardware and software solution allowed Ruijie to gain a firm foundation in the higher education market. “This impressed me a lot,” said Liu. “Customers need an end-to-end network solution, not just the hardware. That’s when we started developing solutions customized to meet their needs.”

The final is independence, which Ruijie has found valuable in recent years. Like most of the domestic start-ups in China, Ruijie began their first step by following the mainstream. “We soon found that following the mainstream was not a sustainable strategy. Products of the leading vendors around the globe are very multifunctional. But some of the functions require huge devotion of R&D efforts but we even don’t know what kind of customers would need such features. Two years ago when we developed our own wireless products, we decided to listen to what our customers’ needs — they need networks with good signals, strong penetrability and optimal user experience. We have never imagined that the products are not only welcomed by our customers, but also become the standard in the industry.” In a wireless project bid of a famous college in China, Ruijie won it without much competition.   

“We start to realize that no request is too small. When a customer gave us a request some years ago, our engineers would ask ‘Have other mainstream vendors made it? If not, is it just a minor request?’ Today, we’ve changed our innovative mind. No request is too small. What we want is innovation originated from customer’s needs in the real settings. Once this kind of positive innovation atmosphere builds up in the company, it boosts the confidence of our engineers too,” said Liu. “Many of the companies in China only follow what others have done before. We can only go further by paving our very own path. That’s the only way out.”

Facing competition in the enterprise section from Huawei, another vendor with a strong focus on independent innovation, Liu said the market is an everlasting battlefield in which there are lots of mighty fine soldiers. What Ruijie should do is to make ourselves unique.

“We have collaborated with many enterprise customers for over ten years, the approach is very different. We know very clearly that what they need can be very scattered. It is very difficult to locate and solve problems from hundreds and thousands of customers, not to mention to promote the solutions to other clients,” said Liu. “So I’m not worried about it at all. We innovate based on our customers’ needs, which is an endless source of inspiration.”

In the coming year, Ruijie Networks is aiming at 40% growth and striving for more. In view of the present development status, Liu Zhongdong has never been more confident.