Professional services, Consultancy Services, Advanced Services -- call them what you will. I can hear you say: “On No! Complexity”. “Now I need to work a Statement of Work”. “I need help to get my project on time, can’t this get easier?” “I need to get my legal contracts team involved.” “Why can’t you just tell me a price?”
Common reactions from some of you who will engage any (and I mean any, not just Cisco!) professional services organization (for example, Cisco Services or one of our many partners) to help bring additional experience, expertise and resources to your projects. The good news is, where appropriate to your requirements, this complexity has been substantially reduced, with Fixed Price services from Cisco, available now for many of our most popular products and solutions.
I will confess: this is not new – in fact we (quietly) first released such Fixed Price services back in 2009, to support the Cisco Unified Computing System deployments! – and if we’re honest, we’ve not talked much about them and how successful they’ve become, with many, many customers taking advantage of these quick-to-engage expert services.
These services have really made it easier for customers and partners to do business with Cisco, delivering a number of significant advantages to our customers and partners, as illustrated below.
Easier to Do Business With
If you’ve followed John Chambers over the past year or two, you’ll have head him talk on a regular basis about the focus we’ve generated around in making it easier for customers and partners to do business with Cisco. Witness also IDC’s research note on Cisco’s EMEAR Partner Strategy: Key Role for Services – where our focus in Cisco Services in making life easier for partners is a prevalent theme. Our Fixed Price services have really helped customer quickly engage the consultancy expertise they need to help them accelerate their projects.
Here are some of the characteristics of this class of professional services offerings that make life easier for you.
(1) Fixed price: Clear and upfront.
(2) Fixed scope: You know what you are getting, with a predefined set of activities and deliverables. There is, therefore, no need to construct a complex SoW (Statement of Work) – we’ve replaced this with a straightforward, fixed service description (as illustrated in the diagram)
(3) Proven delivery methodology: With each of these services, we’ve worked out what we will do, how long it will take, and put in place many deliverable templates and tools to ensure the project delivery is like clockwork. In most cases, we’ve invested more up front in ensuring predictable and successful delivery that we’ll spend with you. For example, in advance, we’ve prepared and proven (tested) template designs and test plans, ready for adoption and customization into your environment, where appropriate. So if you engage us for say a 4 week Fixed Price service, you’ll typically be receiving substantial advance preparatory work, already done and dusted, ready to go for you. In other words, our consultants are not starting from scratch when they arrive on site with you.
(4) Simple single part number for ordering: and you can order these services directly alongside product orders, at the same time, in the same purchase order. And from any Cisco 1-Tier or 2-Tier partner – so customers can benefit from Cisco consultancy expertise regardless of where you buy our products from.
(5) Broad range of technologies and solutions supported: With support far broader than my own area of Data Center Services, we have fixed price services across a range of assessment, pilot, design and implementation phases of your deployment life cycle for:
- Data Center: Cisco Nexus data center switches, Cisco Unified Computing System, Fibre Channel over Ethernet switches, and complex solutions such as Desktop Virtualization pilots.
- Borderless Networks: for example Cisco ISE (Identify Services Engine), IPv6 and Security
- Collaboration: Cisco Webex and Cisco TelePresence
(6) There are several more advantages, illustrated in the first diagram in this blog, above.
Is there a catch?
Is there a catch? In a way – I’ll be honest – there is. These services are Fixed Price and Fixed Scope.
The catch? Fixed price and fixed scope!
Sure, if you have specific requirements, we can do exactly what you need. However this does require that we note down and agree in a legal contractual format what we will deliver, and what role you play in this delivery. This does mean that we need to move to a formal Statement of Work (SoW) to capture your requirements, and this then needs to be priced specific to your precise requirements. However – as many of our customer who do this find – because you’ve found a fixed price offer that almost meets your needs, the extra work required to turn this into a customer SoW becomes a much quicker and simpler process.
Concluding then, each Fixed Prices service represents up-front investment in your deployment success, and an upfront investment in making Cisco easier to do business with. Get in touch with me or your local Cisco Services solution specialist and we can tell you more!