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Leveraging the SMB Market with Managed Service Offerings

October 17, 2013
at 6:14 am PST

This is the latest in a series of posts featuring partner success stories where partners share how they’re helping customers achieve their goals by using Cisco technology. This week we’re pleased to feature Scott Alexander, President of Wireless, Alexander Open Systems (AOS).

Effective customer service stems from anticipating and understanding a customer’s needs. Working with customers ranging from the State, Local Government and Education (SLED) verticals to the Small and Mid-sized Business (SMB) market, our company strives to meet the needs of a unique customer base.

Alexander Open Systems (AOS) covers a 10-state region spanning from North Dakota to Texas. With locations in northwest Arkansas and central Missouri, this midwestern locale generates a major component of business with the SMB market which often, in both budget and staff, requires unique positioning to take advantage of the offerings provided through our technology partners, including Cisco. Managed services have played a pivotal role in accommodating the needs of our customers on a scale that is most beneficial to their organization.

In 2011, our company chose to expand its service offerings to better meet the growing desire to leverage cloud services and cloud off-loading. Managed Service Offerings (MSOs) are an area of investment that we, as a company, are looking into as a means to grow business and expand technology portfolios with current customers. Through these offerings, we strive for customers to feel as if we are helping to manage their network as an extension of their local team, rather than a separate entity.

For instance, our wireless team has been able to utilize the new Cisco Meraki Managed Service Provider (MSP) Dashboard to access and monitor customer networks, presenting the opportunity to further expand our Cloud offerings. A Cisco Meraki Cloud branded offering will allow our customers to access their data at all times— not just while in the office, relieving burden on IT staff and freeing them to focus on other business. The Dashboard supports an offering that is easily scalable with plug and play levels of service, from expanding within a facility to adding a new location.

Other customer benefits to a Cisco Meraki Cloud MSO include 24/7 support, minimized costs, minimized resources, predictable monthly fee and rapid deployment. This offering will afford consultative partners like us a greater insight to architect infrastructures in accommodation of BYOD, eliminating any concern or need for entire infrastructure overhauls.

Through Partner Support Services with Cisco, we have implemented MSOs that enable heightened levels of customer service. One such offering allows us to provide customers with our own Technical Assistance, replacing Cisco Tier 0-2 support with 24/7 access to our own Network Operations Center. The solution’s proactive service delivery ensures contract renewals are completed before end-of-support is reached, all from a convenient central point of access. Another of our Cisco-backed services offers hardware and software warranty backstop services, with Tier 1 troubleshooting.

For our customers, MSOs are both logical and beneficial— and we’re interested to learn how other companies may or may not be using similar offerings to grow business in their own customer markets. What has your experience been? Please share with me in the comments.

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