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The network needs to be fast, run all of the latest applications, adeptly handle video, not to mention offer stability and security. Oh, and the network should also be scalable and serve users’ needs.

Whew. Needless to say, we expect a lot from the network. And so do customers.

With all these features on customers’ network wish lists, all too often acquisition costs are the only consideration when planning for the future. But Bob Cagnazzi, CEO of Cisco Master Partner BlueWater Communications Group, says that’s a big mistake.

BlueWater provides a lifecycle suite of services around the network, including: collaboration, video, virtualization, and cloud computing for a range of clients in the tri-state New York area. We caught up with Bob on a recent trip to California to get his thoughts on why it’s important for customers to understand both short- and long-term costs associated with the network.

What questions does Bob ask his customers when they’re planning for the future of their networks?

Are you considering cost vs. performance?
Acquisition costs are just one part of the overall network-planning equation. The network isn’t disposable, so don’t look at acquisition costs as the only factor. Bob tells customers that the network is a long-term investment.

What about ongoing support?
Look for a large install base and educated community. If a client looks at the expense of training their own IT pros today and when there’s turnover — being able to find someone with the skills to replace that person is crucial.

Are there lots of skilled partners?
Should a customer need to, how easy is it to find another partner with same skill set? With Cisco, Bob says, there are so many highly qualified partners.

If you want to learn more, watch a webcast replay in which Bob talks to Cisco EVP Rob Lloyd and VP Mike Rau about the seven most misleading myths of the “good enough” network.

What questions do you ask customers when they’re planning long-term network costs?

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