The “We’re Listening” blog continues to look at actions taking place across Cisco to improve your experience working with us. In this post, Jim Fuller, Senior Director of Technical Services focused on entitlement, joins us to talk about improvements to services accessibility.  

By Guest Contributor Jim Fuller

Imagine you’re in the back seat of a taxi—the driver is in complete control.  You have little to no control on speed or route, limited visibility, and no power.  Now, imagine you’re the driver—you control speed and course, have full visibility, and it’s your hands on the wheel—you are empowered.  That’s what I’m going to talk about—improvements we’re making to simplify customers and partners’ ability to take the driver’s seat. 

Companies leverage Cisco Services to ensure their networks are reliable, secure, and versatile. To help customers and partners manage their networks more efficiently, Cisco has focused efforts to streamline the “entitlement” process, making sure you have access to the services you’re entitled to, quickly and easily. You’ve told us this can be frustrating—that without the ability to effectively administer your support agreements, by contract, you risk:
  • Logging unauthorized and excessive service requests, which could impact partner discounts and rebates
  • Exposing sensitive data to unauthorized employees (imagine you’re a partner or service provider who supports three different auto manufacturers—you don’t want individual company data being accessible by anyone except those for whom it is intended. Cisco makes this control easy for you)

To maintain visibility into your account and centralize control, Cisco provides the Cisco Services Access Management Tool. This tool allows you—our customers and partners—to more effectively manage all of your service contracts, designating those individuals within your enterprise who are authorized to access Cisco support.

Addressing Your Top Services Access Management Concerns

Knowing that entitlement is one of your primary concerns, we’ve taken action to collect and assess your current requirements.  In August and September 2012, we conducted a survey to obtain detailed customer and partner feedback on access-related pain points.  Overwhelmingly, your top issues with respect to service access management centered on:

  • Tool performance and usability, such as slow loading time
  • Error-prone user-contract associations

After analyzing the survey data, we implemented immediate fixes to improve tool performance. You now experience dramatically shortened page load times for the Services Access Management Tool homepage—in fact, there is an 80% decrease in load times compared to pre-release timeframes. This fix is a quick win in the tool’s longer-term evolution. Since the survey, we further engaged our customers and partners to validate improvement areas, while also exploring tool design and usability improvements. One of our customers, a large financial services provider, shared:

“The Services Access Management Tool has been beneficial and of high importance. We are constantly in the tool reviewing, modifying profiles, and providing information to the Cisco TAC, logistic teams, and others.  I feel the tool is one of the better tools rolled out by Cisco, easy to use and user friendly. I look forward to seeing and hearing about future improvements.”

More Improvements to the Services Access Management Tool Are Underway

We engaged industry leaders in the area of User Centric Design to conduct UI workshops with customers and partners, helping to redefine the Cisco Service access experience. UI enhancements will provide simplified access to Cisco Services, from a single tool.  Moreover, user-centric workflows will allow partners to provide access to their end customers with fewer clicks, while providing better visibility and access control over their contracts.

That said, this work just scratches the surface.  Future enhancements will continue to allow you to better administer agreements and user consumption, simplifying effort and reducing time required to manage your access.

You’ll hear more about entitlement improvements in future communications—how we’re addressing performance, usability, contract associations, return materials authorizations, tool consolidation, and more. As always, we welcome your feedback. Please reach out by e-mailing ciscolistens@cisco.com.




Curt Hill

Senior Vice President

Customer Assurance