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So what do we *not* do in Cisco Data Center Services?

April 27, 2012 - 12 Comments

Recently I blogged on the rise of UCS and my own perspectives joining Cisco Data Center Services around the launch of Cisco UCS back in March 2009.  I then posed a quick poll on the Cisco Data Center Facebook page, with a number of options, asking which of these options did we in Cisco Data Center Services *not* offer to our customers today. Thanks to all who took the time to answer the poll.  So let’s look at the summary of our services I presented in my previous blog (diagram below), and let’s discuss what you said via the poll.

Cisco Data Center Services Portfolio Evolution 2008-2012

Cisco Data Center Services Portfolio Evolution 2008-2012


Looking at the Facebook Poll question – which for the record I captured in the following diagram …..

What do We *Not Do*? - Facebook poll results

What do We *Not Do*? – Facebook poll results

…. from this I created the pie chart below to show the distribution of answers – a larger spread than I expected to be honest.

Poll Results Spread

Poll Results Spread – only one is the correct answer!!!!!

Anyway, I hear you ask, “What is the answer”? I’ve used the following diagram to illustrate this.  In Cisco Data Center Services, we are not an outsourcer.  By this, I mean we do not offer to run your full data center, and take ownership for your assets as part of a long term contract.  So “Fully Outsourced Managed Data Center” is the one area of data center services in this poll question that we do not offer today.

The Answer!

The Answer!

Why not perhaps you ask?  Well, there are some companies out there – such as Accenture and CSC – who do this already very well.  They are major customers and partners of Cisco’s.  And many of our service provider customers also offer such services, very well, and are also Cisco customers too – huge customers of ours in many cases.  And unlike some of our equipment vendor competitors, such as our friends in Palo Alto, purveyors of the mythical “good enough” network, who do offer such services, we at Cisco don’t compete with our service provider customers!

This poll illustrates a challenge we have in Cisco Data Center Services, if I am honest – we have grown so fast, that some of you won’t realise what a breadth of data center services we offer.  Some areas are very specialist.  For example in Facilities Design, unlike our competitors who have made (small) acquisitions in this area, we chose to partner (as we often do in Cisco) with industry leaders CH2M HILL across EMEA for example.  And some areas – such as Data Center Operations Enhancement Services – are a relatively recent addition.  So I hope this article sheds some light on the wide breadth of expertise we can bring to bear to help our customers transform their data center – expertise that at least parallels and in areas most definitely exceeds that of competitors who have been in this marketplace for longer than we have.

To summarise then, thanks once again for reading my blog, and if you would like to know more about how we help customers transform their data centers, please have a read at my previous blogs and our Data Center Services site on


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  1. Thanks for sharing the process you followed to get your research and opinion. Very interesting to see how you used Facebook. It would be interesting to know how the views captured from people using Facebook differ to results captured using other mediums?

    • Hi Robert

      Thanks for your question, indeed a very pertinent question. First, my “research” here was a quiz about a previous blog. This quiz was really targeted at those who had read this article (, so it wasn’t what I would class as formal research.

      I have to say, I personally view Facebook polls as being generally unscientific. They don’t (usually) follow a rigorous market research methodology. However, they are probably more insightful than say me obtaining a few opinions about the office. On the latter, how many business decisions are taken by soliciting a few opinions about the office – and personal opinions at that – rather than sampling a group of customers – more that most will admit I bet.

      For my quiz on my previous blog, Facebook polls are useful – since they are targeted at the exact audience my blog was. They are terrific for engaging more directly with our blog readers – we really do value your opinions and insights.

      If you look at another of my previous blogs, I did use a Facebook poll for a more formal question. See . I received 70+ answers to this question. Way better than a few informal views if I polled a few of my colleagues. But not as good as say a 500+ customer survey where you also examine the response demographics so that you get an idea if your have valid responses (I ran one of these surveys 2 or 3 years back, see

      So in summary, Facebook polls IMHO are a use addition to soliciting feedback from your readers or customers. I would never claim they are scientific, however they are a quick way of testing the temperature on an issue, and could indeed help you decide if a question or issue is worth investigating more formally. And in any case, as I’ve found via my blogs, the answers do give you insights that can make you question your own views and biases, so this can only be a good thing!

      Thanks again Robert for the question, good question without doubt!

  2. Thats one of the best parts about Cisco is how respectful they’re to their customers by not competing with them, and from the sounds of this blog post it looks like they’re even helping them get more customers.

    • Thanks Eric. Indeed we do invest in helping our customers increase both their number of end customers, and also help increase their customer satisfaction for them. If we understand the needs of our customers’ customers, we will be able to help our customers all the more – that is indeed our philosophy. Great observation, Eric, thanks.

  3. Thank you Stephen for your patience with my comments. I have had regular interactions with Cisco’s support, HTTS and NOS etc in my previous role hacking MPLS based services in Switzerland since 2000. I am a grateful beneficiary of their wide range of expertise.

    Currently, we are also backed up by a very able group of award winning support colleagues. However, as you have pointed out, the “scaling” factor has not really been challenged…yet 🙂

    Great stuff! Thanks a lot!


  4. Thanks a lot Stephen! I work for Riverbed Professional Services. And our PS process works very similarly…except our roles are perhaps more stretched (POC to post-sales)…but then again we are not nearly the size of Cisco 😉


    • Yes, know what you mean (by being stretched). Back in the 90s, I joined a startup as employee number 4 … I was called on to do everything from coffee maker to sales to technical support …. with my day job being software development.

      One thing I have learned about Cisco since I was acquired into Cisco in 2000, Cisco are masters of scaling the organization, products and processes. And Cisco Services, and our Technical Services organization in particular, are the real gurus in scaling, to ensure Cisco’s customers get the best possible support – as witnessed by the many awards our services organization wins (e.g.

      Thanks again for your questions, Santanu, good questions that have helped me tell more of the story!

  5. Many thanks for the clarity Stephen! Yes, I am well aware of the role of Cisco’s TAC servicse (worked for a almost a decade with close Cisco partners..). Was just wondering about issues which essentially the TAC cannot resolve or certify (design specific, for example). The overall role of Professional Services does seem to be similar to the one that I am involved in.

    Thanks a lot for that!


    • Another good question, Santanu. There are a number of avenues, and yes, there is a role.

      In the case of issues TAC cannot resolve (initially! – issues get solved one way or another, in true One Cisco approach), typically they will escalate to the respective R&D organization for support. All teams in the development organization support TAC in these cases, and usually have specific escalation teams dedicated to solving escalated customer issues when they come up. Just normal business here really.

      For customers who need a “mission critical support approach, we offer “Focused Technical Support” [] (and HTTS, High Touch Technical Support for service provider) services.

      For a design issue as you mention, as developed say by our professional services teams for a customer, many of our customers take our Network Optimization Services (NOS) or, for Data Center customers, our Data Center Optimization Services (see for example, and – and these services have options for customers to receive specialist, customer specific design and troubleshooting support on-site with our design consultants.

      So all in all, the customer issues always get solved, one way or another!

      Who do you work for, out of interest? (if you can tell me of course!)


  6. Interesting read. So, if I understand correctly, most post implementation operations and troubleshooting are managed by partners…is this assumption correct? Or do you come into play in, say, an escalated environment as well?

    Would you also get involved in a Pre-Sales cycle, such as a POC, by any chance?