As you may have seen in my colleague Rowan Trollope’s blog, Cisco is kick starting a conversation about what’s changed in the collaboration market and what’s really important for IT decision makers to consider as they evaluate collaboration vendors and solutions. This is clearly important for Cisco customers, but it’s also a critical topic for our partners. As a Cisco partner, you want to guide your customers to the right collaboration decisions that will solve real customer problems and maximize value.
Following are a few key considerations for partners to look out for in today’s changing market:
- Technology flexibility: Companies now expect to support a wide variety of devices, so partners need to ensure customers have choice, flexibility, and agility when deploying collaboration solutions for mobile employees. If you aren’t careful, you can easily end up with a collaboration application that is optimized for only one operating system, limiting the value to your customer. Focus on collaboration providers who not only can help you create an effective BYOD strategy for customers, but also deliver greater interoperability and standards-based voice and video for every employee. The facts are that Cisco is device and platform-agnostic, and Microsoft is not. Which is best for your collaboration practice?
- Ease of problem resolution: Partners are often the first point of contact when customers have technology issues. When implementing disparate voice, video, and conferencing point products, remember that it will be up to you, as the partner, to navigate the maze of customer support and multivendor troubleshooting. This can mean a longer time to problem resolution and extra effort needed from your team. If you simplify your customers’ collaboration portfolio, it can save you significant cost, time and headaches, and let you focus on delivering real business value.
- Hidden cost of multivendor deployments: By relying on a long list of vendors just to patch together a single collaboration system, your cost of doing business will likely increase. You need to consider the ramifications of multiple training and certification requirements, order complexity, bill of materials management, and potential configuration issues. By moving your practice beyond mere deployment and support to a more strategic and focused approach to collaboration, you can free up resources to deliver higher profit services and greater business value.
Expand Your Partner Opportunity with Cisco Collaboration
Collaboration is about more than just applications and endpoints. When combined with an intelligent network, optimized data center and virtualized desktops, collaboration solutions enable people-centric collaboration capabilities on any device, anytime, anywhere on any operating system. Cisco provides a single, unified control point for both voice and video with the Cisco Unified Communications Manager. This helps you simplify IT management, improve the user experience and maximize your business relevance. It also makes you more profitable and lays the groundwork for your customers to bring together people, process, data, and things in new networked connections that are more valuable than ever before.
Cisco collaboration can help you deliver margin-rich services, competitive differentiation and greater customer value. Many of our solutions integrate with key business applications like those from Microsoft, SAP and salesforce.com, letting you protect your customers’ IT investments while increasing employee productivity and extending business-critical processes. This can open the door to new decision makers and help you tap incremental line-of-business budgets like sales, marketing, training and human resources. The more you leverage Cisco, the more you can deploy collaboration solutions that deliver greater value for your customers.
We have launched a Compete to Win the Workspace initiative that will help you sell more effectively against the competition. As a valued Cisco collaboration partner, we want to make sure your teams use our new case studies, scripted demos and white paper so you can get the greatest value out of Cisco collaboration.
The choice seems pretty clear: Cisco’s ability to easily empower your customers with collaboration anywhere on any device, or Microsoft’s “first and best on Windows” approach, and the risks and restrictions that come along with that choice. Where do you want to lead your customers and your practice?