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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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With Targeted Professional Services, Service Providers Can Tap Small and Medium-Sized Business’s Demand for Cloud

uwe1-e1341940327203By Uwe Lambrette and Evgenia Ryabchikova,eryabchi IBSG Service Provider

Cloud is no longer a nascent market. The explosive growth of public-cloud providers —coupled with the relevance of the network in the delivery of cloud and IT services — has led many service providers (SPs) to treat this game-changing transition as a natural extension of their core business. While some SP cloud efforts have fallen short in customer demand and adoption, Cisco’s Internet Business Solutions Group (IBSG) believes there are significant opportunities for SPs in the cloud. To succeed, SPs need to tackle the cloud market in conjunction with a professional-services offer because many enterprises and small and medium-sized businesses (SMBs) do not have all the skills to design, build, migrate, and operate their own cloud solutions.

Based on 15 market interviews in Europe and emerging markets, as well as deep-dive project engagements, Cisco IBSG has explored why professional services are needed, what they should look like, and how they can be implemented. This FastFacts focuses on the SP opportunity to target cloud professional services to SMBs.

SMBs Have Specific Needs for Cloud-Oriented Professional Services Read More »

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Cisco’s New Small Business Portfolio—Fortifying the Future

The number of mobile-connected devices has broken the 1 billion mark. That’s not too surprising, given that as we grow more reliant on our devices and mobility, we also become more reliant on the Internet to get things done, take care of customers, and expand our businesses. In fact, we see a future that is defined by what we call the Internet of Everything (IoE), bringing together people, processes, data, and things to make networked connections more relevant and valuable than ever before. Yet Cisco estimates that about 99.4 percent of what could be connected by the Internet is currently unconnected. That’s pretty staggering. Imagine how even a fraction of that could affect your business—by connecting employees when they’re mobile and connecting customers and partners to keep business processes and sales in progress.

Cisco’s latest offerings are designed to capitalize on connectivity, helping to fuel small business success and pave the way for future growth.

Lief Keopsel recently discussed how the growing mobile population calls for a new approach. Cisco’s expanding small business portfolio helps customers find the right technology to meet their evolving needs—such as increasing overall productivity, bolstering responsiveness, and beating the competition. But we haven’t stopped there. We’ve recently added additional routers and wireless access points.

Ultimately, we’re developing a portfolio that helps small businesses perform to their maximum potential through offerings that span security, connectivity, and collaboration.

Security Is a Competitive Advantage
Through all this, whether you’re increasing productivity or enabling collaboration, you really have to keep security at the forefront. It’s what gives you the edge. If you missed the recent blog post featuring David Lawrence from Smart Technology Enablers talking about the Cisco ISA500 Series, please listen in. David describes how the Cisco ISA500 Series helps customers safeguard against outside threats while allowing employees to securely access information remotely.

Connectivity Is Key to Productivity
Check out how our newly launched products deliver greater capabilities with built-in intelligence to provide more options for getting things done and creating a more customer-centric business model, regardless of location.

Collaboration Improves Business Effectiveness
Bringing together people is a key part of our value proposition. We’re helping small businesses respond to customers more quickly and cultivate stronger customer engagement and loyalty. All while lowering the cost of doing business.

We understand that making the right technology decision is critical. And to that point, we’re proud of the recognition we’ve received from Miercom. Linda Beaton’s post on February 8 highlights  a recent study by Miercom. This report favorably compared the Cisco SF500, SG500, and SG500X switches with similar products offered by HP, D-Link, and Netgear.

To learn more about the Cisco Small Business products referenced here, please visit our website. Or to learn more about our Cisco Services, click here. If you’re a Cisco partner, check out our Partner Launch page to help seize new market opportunities and add value to your customers.

How are these changes affecting you? And, how can we help to strengthen our partnership?

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Big Changes Are Coming For Cisco SMB

As the Director of SMB Sales within Cisco’s Worldwide Partner Led Organization, I get a first-hand view of Cisco’s role in the SMB space. Each month, I’ll share my thoughts on Cisco’s SMB strategy and give you a glimpse into some of the changes that are ahead for Cisco and its partners selling into this hugely important market.

SMB will represent a $25 billion market by 2016, and these customers Read More »

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Cisco’s New Small Business Portfolio—Helping Partners Unleash the Possibilities of the Network

January 24, 2013 at 8:19 am PST

Our partners know that in today’s environment small and medium-sized businesses need to reduce costs, focus on new markets, and improve sales effectiveness. They can accomplish this by increasing their productivity. And we can help by introducing our partners to Cisco’s new small business portfolio, which helps small business customers tap into the value of the network, while maximizing their investment.

These new products and services allow workers to collaborate securely—whether onsite or mobile. This is especially important as the mobile worker population is expected to reach 1.3 billion by 2015, and 71 percent of small businesses now function as work-from-anywhere businesses (according to IDC’s Worldwide Mobile Worker Population 2011–2015 Forecast).

In addition to security, technologies that are easy to use and manage are critical in this market, where dedicated IT departments typically don’t exist. Implementing technologies that fit within tight budgets are also a must.

In response to these challenges, Cisco introduced a new family of small business technologies, which support the requirements of small businesses looking to gain a competitive advantage—including new security, collaboration, and mobility capabilities. Read More »

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