In an era where the digital landscape is evolving at an unprecedented pace, Managed Service Providers (MSPs) are facing the challenge of keeping up with complex networking demands while ensuring top-notch service delivery. Enter the Cisco Managed Campus—a revolutionary Network-as-a-Service (NaaS) solution provided through the powerful Cisco Catalyst platform. This offering is not just a response to the growing needs of modern businesses and their increasingly remote workforces; it’s a leap forward, redefining the very fabric of managed networking services. 

But what exactly is a Managed Campus, and why is it pivotal for MSPs to integrate such services into their portfolio? In this deep dive, we will explore the multifaceted benefits of the Cisco Managed Campus, examine its role in addressing industry challenges such as skill shortages and complex IT environments, and reveal how MSPs can unlock a competitive edge by harnessing the power of Cisco’s transformative solution.  

What is Managed Campus?

The Cisco Managed Campus offering enables MSPs in providing a comprehensive NaaS solution through the Cisco Catalyst Center platform, helping them deliver reliable and secure networking with easy management to support the expanding needs of modern businesses and their remote workforce. To support the full lifecycle of a digital campus transformation, the solution is comprised of networking hardware, software, and security services in an integrated, managed services offer designed to simplify the management and operation of a network infrastructure for customers. 

Why should MSPs offer managed networking services?

MSPs are well-positioned to benefit from providing managed networking services, driven by industry challenges such as skill shortages, cost constraints, and complex IT demands. A Canalys report indicates a strong annual growth rate of 12.7% in the IT managed services sector, driven by demands for cybersecurity and cloud infrastructure, especially in digitally transforming sectors such as education, healthcare, retail, and manufacturing. This has led to a substantial growth forecast for networking infrastructure. Leveraging the Cisco Managed Campus offering, MSPs can tap into the NaaS market, providing enhanced customer value through comprehensive service packages that address their clients’ changing requirements and ensure a competitive advantage in this expanding market.

In a separate market analysis by another leading market research firm, they have predicted that the managed services market, specifically for Cisco’s target hardware and software platforms, will grow from $89 billion in 2022 to about $161 billion by 2027. This growth presents a significant opportunity for MSPs to offer bundled, value-added services and comprehensive packages that align with the evolving business needs of their customers.

Managed Campus brings numerous benefits to a pervasive problem

A recent market study has found that $60 billion is spent each year on network operations, including labor and tools, to maintain network functionality. Despite advancements in digital transformation, 95% of network changes are typically still performed manually. This manual intervention results in approximately 75% of operational expenditure (OpEx) being used for making changes and troubleshooting issues. Moreover, due to the manual nature of these operations, human error is responsible for 70% of network policy violations, which can lead to vulnerabilities in the infrastructure and heightened risk to the business.

A contemporary and more efficient strategy involves using modern tools and automation provided by a managed campus solution to overcome the common challenges in network administration and operations. These solutions can help MSPs streamline their processes and offer a range of benefits to their customers:

  • Simplified and Centralized Management – Managed Campus solutions offer a streamlined approach to network management by using a cloud-based platform for centralized control. This allows for easier configuration, monitoring, and troubleshooting of the entire network from a single dashboard, even across multiple sites, which can be done remotely and reduces the need for on-site IT staff.
  • Automation and Scalability – Managed Campus solutions facilitate network growth by being highly scalable, which allows organizations to add new devices and access points with ease and without the need for extensive reconfiguration. Additionally, these solutions support automation, which helps MSPs to efficiently handle a growing number of devices and clients. The use of templates and policies also helps in streamlining network configuration and provisioning, leading to quick deployment and uniform network setups.
  • Security – Managed Campus solutions come with comprehensive security features to safeguard the network and its data, including integrated firewalls, intrusion detection and prevention systems, and advanced threat protection against cyber threats. They also offer security policy management by integrating with Cisco’s Identity Services Engine (ISE) to establish and implement security policies network-wide, improve access control, facilitate threat mitigation, and make network segmentation and zero-trust security models easier to apply, thereby enhancing overall security and minimizing risk.
  • Cost Efficiency – Managed Campus solutions can help MSPs lower the total cost of owning and operating the network infrastructure. Savings come from needing fewer dedicated IT staff for network management and from operational efficiencies achieved through cloud management and automation, leading to significant cost reductions.
  • Analytics/Visibility/AI-Driven Insights – Managed Campus solutions include assurance and analytics features that deliver in-depth insights into network performance, user experience, and anomaly detection, aiding in proactive issue resolution. They also offer visibility and AI-driven insights into network components, user devices, and applications, which enhances network management and troubleshooting. The use of artificial intelligence and machine learning generates actionable insights, enabling MSPs to foresee and prevent potential issues before they affect the network.

Cisco Catalyst Center, a core component of the Managed Campus offering, is a robust platform for network management and orchestration, providing MSPs with various tools to make network management simpler, more efficient, and cost-effective. It can be implemented as either a dedicated hardware appliance or as a virtual appliance, whether on-premises or in the cloud.

By utilizing the capabilities of Catalyst Center, which emphasizes automation, intelligence, and security, MSPs can deliver comprehensive network services. This allows them to achieve higher network uptime and offer superior quality of service to their clients. The features of Catalyst Center make it an attractive option for MSPs aiming to enhance their managed services and provide cutting-edge network management solutions.

Cisco’s Catalyst Center platform yields compelling and tangible benefits

Cisco Catalyst Center can bring significant operational benefits by streamlining and automating common network tasks. Here are some examples that directly address the common use cases:

  • Faster Deployment and Provisioning – Through automation and predefined templates, the time needed to configure and deploy network devices can be reduced by up to 80%, speeding up onboarding activities and delivering value faster. Additionally, it’s possible to provision thousands of network devices within minutes, a task that would take hours or days with manual configuration.
  • Improved Operational Efficiency – By simplifying and centralizing management tasks, there can be an estimated improvement in operational efficiency ranging from 45-65%. Additionally, the use of AI-driven insights and guided remediation from Catalyst Center can result in up to a 70% reduction in the time spent on troubleshooting.
  • Enhanced Security and Compliance – Fast detection and resolution of security threats can result in a 48% reduction in the impact of security breaches. Implementing policy enforcement and segmentation can aid in achieving full compliance with corporate and regulatory policies.
  • Reduced Network Downtime – Proactive issue identification can result in a 75% decrease in unplanned downtime and enable up to an 80% reduction in the time required for detecting and resolving issues.

How do MSPs benefit by offering Network-as-a-Service / Managed Campus as a Managed Service offering?

Beyond the practical features and functions of the Cisco Catalyst platform, MSPs have several compelling business incentives to create managed services around Cisco’s Managed Campus offering:

  • High Market Demand – The growing complexity of IT systems and the essential need for consistent network performance have led to an increased market demand for managed services. Companies, especially those with limited IT resources, are seeking MSPs to manage their network infrastructure efficiently.
  • Streamlined Operations through Automation – Cisco’s Managed Campus solutions provide automation tools that can enhance network operations efficiency. MSPs can utilize these capabilities to minimize the labor and costs associated with network management, which can translate into improved profit margins.
  • Diversified Service Portfolio – By leveraging Cisco’s Managed Campus, MSPs can expand their offerings to include tailor-made configurations, in-depth analytics, cybersecurity enhancements, and compliance services. These additional options can elevate client satisfaction and open new revenue opportunities for MSPs.
  • Scalability and Adaptability – The scalable nature of Cisco’s Managed Campus solutions ensures MSPs can adjust to their clients’ expansion needs with ease. This adaptability enables MSPs to cater to various client sizes and types, from small firms to sizable corporations.
  • Steady Revenue Stream – Offering managed services via Cisco’s Managed Campus facilitates a transition for MSPs to a subscription-based business model, moving away from one-time transactions. This shift results in a more consistent and reliable revenue stream as customers pay regularly for ongoing network management and support.

The growing trend of digital transformation is driving companies to update their network infrastructures due to increased reliance on cloud services, the expansion of IoT devices, and the rise of edge computing, which all place significant demands on the network. Along with these technological shifts, the continuous escalation of cybersecurity threats necessitates improved network security solutions. Networks have also become more complex, making automation and insightful network analytics essential. Consequently, there is a rising opportunity for MSPs to offer comprehensive managed services that encompass network design, deployment, updates, monitoring, maintenance, security, optimization, and compliance. MSPs that leverage Cisco Managed Campus to develop their service offerings can tap into this expanding market and enhance their service portfolio’s strength and uniqueness.

Cisco Partner-Enabled Managed Services offering and benefits

If you’re a Cisco partner interested in the Cisco Managed Campus offer and how to profit from it, sign up for the upcoming Managed Services Voice of the Engineer event. For those looking to become a Cisco partner, more information is available through Cisco’s Partner Program and the Cisco Partner-Enabled Managed Services section.


Register for the Managed Services Voice of the Engineer session to learn more


Learn more about Cisco Catalyst Center.

Check out more of my blog posts for insights into Managed Services opportunities available to Managed Service Providers.


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Nathaniel Hang

Solutions Architect

Americas Partner Organization