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Midmarket Push at Partner Summit: New Cloud Managed Services and Catalyst Switch

Co-Author: Sanjit Biswas, VP and GM, Cisco’s Cloud Networking Group 

Since our acquisition of Meraki in late 2012, you have heard us talking about the midmarket and new opportunities for channel partners and customers. I’m pleased to say that today, at the Cisco Partner Summit in Boston, we have some exciting updates for you. Specifically, we’ll focus on our Made for Midmarket portfolio which includes a range of new product offerings, services and solutions designed for midsize customers.

As part of Cisco’s newly formed Cloud Networking Group, we are unveiling our complete cloud managed networking portfolio specifically focused for midmarket deployments, consisting of security appliances, switches and wireless LANs.

Get Your Heads in the Cloud – Services and Revenue Opportunities

New for partners today we are introducing the Cisco Meraki Managed Services Dashboard – bringing together a number of features for Managed Service Providers (MSP) to offer cloud-managed networking as a service to their customers. This MSP dashboard features specific tools, analytics and monitoring capabilities and is built to allow our service providers to manage end-customer networks easily from a central location while still maintaining separation and security of each customer network.

Key Highlights of the Managed Services Dashboard

  • MSP Portal – Service providers can easily monitor the health of end-customer networks from a centralized location.
  • Manage your Brand: MSPs can customize the logo on the dashboard to promote their own brand with end-customers. Cisco will work directly with the MSP to customize the content.
  • Support Ticketing: Easy for MSPs to create, monitor and respond to support cases with Cisco staff.
  • Remote Live Tools: A complete set of tools that make remote monitoring of the network significantly easier – a perfect fit for Helpdesk or Network Operations Center (NOC) staff.
  • Partner Benefits: Using the new MSP dashboard, partners can increase profits through managed services, enable existing MSPs to profitably grow their midmarket offering and allow traditional VARs to quickly introduce managed service offerings.

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Steps to Optimizing Your Network – Design & Hardware Strategy

In my last post, I discussed the importance of a strong network foundation.  Let’s get a little deeper into this now. The strategies depicted in the diagram below have been developed over nearly two decades of Cisco Services experience in the field.  These outline what MUST be addressed in order to successfully and fully optimize your investment.  Omission of any one will induce risk into the project.  I will highlight this as we pass through the strategies.

Optimized Strategy Design 2

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The Swisscom Story: “Cisco Services Always Listened to Us”

May 13, 2013 at 7:00 am PST

By Adrian Flückiger, Head of Cloud Infrastructure Services – Corporate Business, SwisscomAdrianFluckiger

 

At Swisscom, we’ve encountered a challenge that should be familiar to telcoms everywhere. As more of our customers shift from landlines to mobile devices, and as the mobile market becomes more competitive and complex, we’re finding it necessary to create new revenue streams by offering a broader range of services. Two years ago, we confronted that challenge head-on with the introduction of a comprehensive cloud offering—our Dynamic Computing Service.

We developed our own customer-facing portal for this cloud offering, but we ran into serious limitations almost right away. The billing and fulfillment processes were insufficiently automated, and customers had very little transparency into the management of their cloud data. The simple fact is this: by attempting to create our own cloud infrastructure with no external assistance, we were stealing focus from our own areas of specialization. We needed a vendor with deep experience in deploying and optimizing cloud solutions. So we asked Cisco and two other top cloud vendors to engage in an intensive proof-of-concept to demonstrate their capabilities.

We assumed that some of our use cases would be too challenging for an external vendor, but Cisco proved otherwise. They delivered a truly dynamic, customizable solution to meet our complex needs. The result? We now offer a standardized catalog of 26 different cloud-based services, all managed through Cisco Intelligent Automation for Cloud (IAC) software.

The key to the whole solution is the level of customization provided by Cisco Services. With their help, we’ve automated some of our most time-consuming processes, and we’ve gained greater visibility across the enterprise from a single portal. We can now provision servers in minutes rather than weeks. We can also offer our customers more flexible billing options, billing them on a day-to-day basis rather than monthly or quarterly. That level of flexibility and value is a major differentiator for us, because it really highlights both the quality and affordability of our services.

For me, the best thing about this whole process is that Cisco Services always listened to us. They were open to input. We learned a lot from each other, which is exactly as it should be.

To find out more about how Swisscom worked with Cisco Services to reduce costs while achieving greater agility, read the case study

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How Can Connected Mobile Experiences Help You?

You saw the double-announcement Thursday--Not only is MGM betting big on Cisco to transform the guest experience, but we at Cisco are taking the missive of helping our customers create connected mobile experiences to the next level with Web engagement.

At this point you’re probably thinking: How exactly does this apply to me?

Good thing we have three industry-specific webinars for your convenience.

Choose the industry that applies to you and take 30 minutes to see how Cisco Connected Mobile Experiences can help YOU engage your passengers, customers, guests, and more to boost revenue and build loyalties like never before.

Intrigued? Check us out at http://www.cisco.com/go/cmx or visit the announcement of the new web engagement platform to see how we can help you transform your business engagement model.

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Cbeyond: Taking Our SMB Cloud Offering to the Next Level

May 9, 2013 at 5:00 am PST

By Chris Ortbals, Senior Vice President, Product Management , Cbeyond Inc.ChrisOrtbals

 

At the company’s inception in 1999, Cbeyond saw the potential in using IP technology to deliver enterprise-class productivity enhancing communications services to small and medium-sized businesses (SMBs). Today, as a cloud and communications services provider, Cbeyond continues to live up to its brand promise as the technology ally to small and mid-sized businesses,

As Cbeyond witnessed the business value large enterprises were achieving from cloud computing, we sought to devise a new strategy and products that would  offer our SMB customers the same benefits in a secure, reliable and affordable way. Our competitors typically offer SMBs a commodity-grade or exclusively self-service type of cloud offering. However, we wanted to go further and provide a cloud service that would not only support end-to-end enterprise-grade production applications but also deliver a much superior experience for SMBs.

Our initial expansion into the cloud came with the 2010 acquisitions of MaximumASP, a hosting provider, and Aretta, a network-hosted VoIP provider.  We integrated and enhanced the technologies we acquired into TotalCloud, our flexible and highly customizable cloud services platform.

We’ve had a successful relationship with Cisco since 1999, when we launched the first Cisco-powered 100% IP network delivering services to SMBs. So naturally we considered partnering with Cisco as we made the move into the cloud services market.

In the search for the right partner, we did our due diligence and evaluated three vendors.  However, we found that only Cisco could help us deploy, provision, test and implement a cloud platform that not only met our requirements but that could also be launched within our aggressive timeframe.

Our TotalCloud Data Center, a service platform for public and private cloud solutions, is powered by Cisco technology, with Cisco Unified Computing System™, Cisco UCS Blade servers, and Cisco Nexus switches. This solution provides us with a repeatable, scalable architecture that can be used in our current and future data centers.

We collaborated with Cisco Services, for Data Center Optimization and Network Optimization Services since network performance is critical to running production applications in the cloud.

Other vendors would have pieced a cloud offering together from multiple sources so going with Cisco as a single vendor offered a clear advantage over using multiple vendors to accomplish the same task. Also,  many cloud platforms are built like an island with limited integration into other products used by a service provider, however the Cisco offering is the complete opposite. Cisco has architected its technology in partnership with us so that their technology not only supports how we want our business to operate but how we deliver services and value to our entire customer base.

And partnering with Cisco paid off. With the help of Cisco Services, Cbeyond’s time-to-market for our cloud offering was reduced by two months, and we were able to secure new revenue opportunities earlier than expected.

Read more in this new case study:  Services Provider Builds New Cloud Infrastructure for SMBs

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