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Cloud and Advanced Services Are Service Providers’ Keys To Tapping the Fragmented $200 Billion Small and Medium Business Market

neerkumakevsuhBy Neeraj Kumar and Kevin Suh, Cisco Consulting Services

The small and medium sized-business (SMB) commercial-services market is important for all types of service providers (SPs). SMBs account for more than half of total U.S. commercial-services spending, according to AMR Research/Gartner. And, the portion of the U.S. SMB commercial-services market that service providers could capture is expected to grow to more than $200 billion by 2015, according to analysis by Cisco Consulting Services (CCS) and industry research analysts.

To capture this opportunity, service providers need a deeper understanding of who the SMB customers are and what they buy, as well as how they purchase these commercial services. To better understand SMBs’ detailed service delivery needs and expectations, Cisco Consulting Services (CCS), surveyed 761 U.S. SMBs with five to 1,000 employees in 2012. The study revealed that although this is a big and complex market, there are specific opportunities for SPs in cloud and advanced services.

Complex, Diverse Market, with Varying Expectations

The SMB market is complex — spanning Read More »

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Paradise Just Got a Little Better

When you think of the Caribbean, you may think vacation. But for Curaçao Technology Exchange (CTEX), business thrives in paradise.

Curaçao is growing in importance in the international finance and commerce industry, which is why the island needed the ability to support booming business. Built in a carefully planned location, CTEX chose the island of Curaçao to house the Caribbean’s first—and only—tier IV data center.

The lack of technology in the area has been a hindrance to business. Building this new, top-of-the-line data center will enable world-class collocation, security management, archival, disaster recovery, and managed services—allowing customers to rely on CTEX for high-end IT services in ways previously unattainable in the region.

“The location, connectivity, and laws make Curaçao one of the safest locations in the world to house critical information assets.”

 – Anthony DeLima, Chairman and CEO, CTEX

 Learn more about how Cisco is help CTEX provide bigger and better IT services from the article featured in Unleashing IT: World-class technology services in paradise.

 

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BYOD Spells Opportunity for Service Providers

There’s no doubt that BYOD—“bring your own device”—is a huge and growing phenomenon throughout the world. Recent research by the Cisco® Internet Business Solutions Group (IBSG) looked at BYOD and its economic impact in six countries: the United States, United Kingdom, Germany, China, India, and Brazil. In these countries alone, the number of BYOD devices is expected to more than double by 2016, to 405 million.

Clearly, introducing all those personal smartphones, tablets, and laptops into the workplace is causing complexity and uncertainty for many businesses. There is a strong appetite for BYOD, but our research shows that implementation has been largely reactive, resulting in a patchwork of ad-hoc capabilities and policies. Without a comprehensive approach, most companies are not realizing the potential value of BYOD—especially small or midsize businesses that do not have the IT resources or sophistication to manage all that complexity.

Enter the service provider (SP). BYOD opens the door to a number of SP opportunities: Read More »

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Transform the Way Your School Collaborates with New Service Models

After more than 15 years of working in the telecommunications and IT industries, I’ve seen firsthand how people use technology to make a difference and change lives. While there are innovative uses of technology across all industries, nothing continues to impress me more than how collaboration technologies are reinventing education.

As we’ve seen time and time again technologies like video and mobile devices are enhancing 21st century learning. But no matter what technology schools and educators are using, the delivery of services matters. Thanks to the cloud, schools can deploy advanced collaboration technologies with increased financial and operational flexibility.

With Cisco Hosted Collaboration Solution (HCS), organizations can implement unified communication applications while saving money by switching from a capital expenditure model to an operational expenditure model. The flexibility of the cloud enables customers to accelerate rollouts, improve business agility, lower maintenance and utility costs all while continuously delivering services.

Take for example Perspectives Charter Schools, which serves more than 2,300 students across several Chicago communities. When Perspectives Charter Schools made the shift from an on-premise unified communications system to a cloud collaboration solution they lowered monthly costs, simplified system maintenance and improved administrative efficiency. With Cisco HCS, Perspectives’ monthly bill is now 25 percent less than their previous monthly costs for phone lines, maintenance, software support contracts and repairs. But while the total cost of ownership for communications has dropped, the quality of services hasn’t. The schools have added new collaboration capabilities such as voicemail-to-email and single number reach help make staff members more accessible.

And they’re not the only ones…

Alamance-Burlington School System in North Carolina made the same shift from on-premise to the cloud for voice services and experienced much of the same benefits. With Cisco HCS they’ve lowered the overall cost of their voice system by eliminated the need for one connection for each school and freeing up the IT team. Not only are they saving money, they are also increasing collaboration. The switch to the cloud gave students and faculty access to more advanced collaboration capabilities such as video and instant messaging.

Alamance-Burlington School System and Perspectives Charter Schools’ use of Cisco HCS are classic examples of doing more with less. Powered by the cloud they can both deliver the advantages of Cisco’s collaboration solutions with the financial, operational and strategic benefits associated with the cloud.

Is your school ready to start benefiting from the cloud?

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Why Engage Expert IT Services for Mobility and BYOD?

March 14, 2013 at 1:29 pm PST

BYOD blogThree Reasons: More Productivity, Revenues, and Savings

How can you control the connections and user experiences—and security—of BYOD and other mobile devices that access your business network?  Maybe you or your IT staff have the expertise and time to do-it-yourself (DIY). Or, maybe not.

In my last blog,I outlined the benefits of mobility technologies and the hot bring-your-own-device (BYOD) trend that is shaping the future of how business is done. When you consider the amazing things that happen when we connect people, process, data, and things, it’s no surprise to see the demand accelerating from employees, business leaders, and customers for mobile device connectivity.

So, how do you take care of it all—including security? Is DIY really the answer? The devil is in the details.

In this blog, I’ll give you two real-life examples of an alternative to DIY that has a high value proposition: engaging expert IT services for planning, building, and managing mobility—and quickly getting full ROI. 

Example #1: Higher productivity, lower OpEx: A small business wanted to trim the large operating expense (OpEx) for its office space in the city by getting employees to work remotely. But the business also wanted to preserve its data security and employees’ feeling of working collaboratively. It decided to engage TekScape, a Cisco Premier Certified Partner, to come up with a solution.

TekScape specializes in “landscape technology”, its term for technology that facilitates more mobile and productive working environments. TekScape delivers and manages advanced IT solutions to help businesses increase employee productivity and reduce operating expenses. Its services include tailored design, implementation, and support of network integration, data center, unified collaboration, and mobility.

TekScape provided the 30-employee business with design and implementation services, as well as an ongoing managed service. The technology solution included Cisco collaboration and security products, and hosted communications services for mobile device apps and Cisco SMARTnet technical support service. To enhance the support, Cisco SMARTnet gives customers direct access to Cisco experts and online resources that can quickly resolve problems, lessen risk by detecting security issues, and keep customers’ IT staff up to date on technology advances and security threats. Solutions like this one position small businesses competitively for current and future mobility opportunities.

Following are the quantitative results:

  • Over 75 percent of the employees moved out of the office and now work from home or the site of their choice, using BYOD.
  • Their productivity immediately increased by 10 to 15 percent, due to less commuting, more flexible work hours, and the greater efficiency of participating in meetings in a videoconference format
  • The annual OpEx for office space shrank by more than $125,000
  • The business realized full ROI from its mobility products and services in less than a year

Example #2: Revenue and business continuity: A 200-employee business that provides medical records services had an ongoing contract with TekScape to monitor the performance of its network. The network equipment included a Cisco Unified Communications Manager platform and IP phones, and Cisco Compatible Extensions (CCX)for client devices.

When Hurricane Sandy hit the business’s building on a Monday, 30 feet of water flooded two floors beneath the business. All power, Internet, and phone services for the building were knocked out.

Early the next morning,TekScape engineers wearing water boots showed up at the customer’s business, ready to help it resume operations. They quickly assessed that the utilities’ restoration of power and communications services to the building would take days (if not weeks), a delay the business could not endure due to client contracts and compliance requirements.

So TekScape devised an interim BYOD communications network solution, using the customers’ existing network equipment. TekScape engineers carried the communications platform to a co-location center, where they configured it for remote contact center agents, softphones, point-to-point video, and Cisco Jabber. The 200 employees quickly resumed work from locations all over the city, using their tablets, laptops, PCs, and smartphones to connect securely via VPNs.

It turned out that full restoration of operations at the site of the business’s building took two months, a delay that would have cost the customer $5 million in lost revenues. 

The quantitative results: In less than a day, the customer realized full ROI from TekScape’s mobility services. And without them, the customer said, it would have gone out of business.      

How could your business use expert mobility services to increase its productivity, revenues, or savings on operating expenses? The ROI from engaging expert IT services for planning, building, and managing mobility can be big and fast.

So if you are thinking of an alternative to DIY, consider working with a Cisco Partner.  Find a partner today.

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