“Meet George Jetson.” Those words prompt me to start singing the catchy theme song of The Jetson’s. This iconic American cartoon showed a utopian vision of the future. It was housing in the sky, 3 day work weeks, and amazing conveniences. My favorite was when Rosey the robot maid pushed a button and out popped dinner.
While we may not have realized that future yet, we do have some ideas of what might be coming.
What if networks could be managed with the touch of a button? That’s the vision of most businesses who use a WAN (Wide Area Networks) to link up their office locations and remote workers. They want more flexibility and faster access to new features and capabilities, and to be able to see and manage the health and security of their networks.
A new Cisco study led by Chris Osika, senior director, Service Provider Business, shows this isn’t a utopian vision for networking… it is real today with virtual managed services.
What is virtual managed services (VMS)?
According to the study, most traditional managed network and security services control the placement of customer premises equipment (CPE) on-site. This can include routers, firewalls, and other hardware components.
The CPE is essential to all the functions that businesses need, like a router for network connectivity, a firewall device for security, and so on. VMS moves much of this capability into the cloud.
Like all virtual services, this new approach to business functions makes the enterprise faster and better able to respond to their own customers’ needs. It does this without compromising security or restricting the custom features of network services. The benefits extend to the businesses, their customers, and service providers as well.
Think about how it might work in a bank today. Typically if a new capability is deployed across branch offices, trucks need to roll, deliver equipment, and each site needs it installed. And, each office may have a different set-up. The process is lengthy and complex. With virtual managed services, banks could add a new feature as simply as adding an app to an iPhone.
“This is the level of ease we believe is realistic,” said Osika.
Customers want more:
Customers are telling us, they will also consider switching to another service provider, if the one they currently use does not deliver superior VMS functionality.
Osika added that even more concerning is as part of that managed services switch, customers said they would switch their connectivity as well.
“Service Providers have a great deal to lose if they don’t make the switch to virtual managed services,” he said.
The study targeted hundreds of decision makers using network and managed services in enterprises across 6 countries and 17 verticals. And, these decision makers have given us a picture of how they want to reshape their businesses.
- 81% are interested in a “VMS-like” service
- 78% are ready to move within a year to a VMS solution
- 31% would adopt VMS “right away”
It is clear they want virtual managed services. And service providers who offer these services stand to gain the most. Service providers can do it themselves or partner with a company like Cisco to provide as a managed service. There are lots of choices in how to package and deliver virtual services. But there is no choice in whether or not to offer these services. Your customers expect it.
A majority of U.S. respondents, for instance (75 percent) said they would switch from their current provider if they don’t offer virtual managed services, according to Osika, as quoted in Telecom Lead.
So what do you do now?
While our future may not include living in the sky, we do know businesses are demanding amazing conveniences – not unlike the ones we used to watch during Saturday morning cartoons.
Read the full article on Telecom Lead here.
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