Cisco touts partner managed services

Cisco touts partner managed services

Local integrators respond favourably to the networking giant's plans to standardised and recognise partner managed services globally

Local Cisco partners have given the networking giant's managed services program a thumbs up, claiming it bring consistency and assurance at a global level.

Regional channel manager, Jeff Sheard, said the Managed Services Channel Program (MSCP) program would be very similar to the global version, which was launched recently.

"We have a number of partners with managed services offerings. We're looking to build on that," he said. "This program gives us a vehicle to offer what we think is a very compelling opportunity to the rest of our partner base. It gives them another string to their bow."

Sheard said the program would give partners a chance to build an annuity-based revenue stream.

"We know there are customers out there that want a fully managed service in relation to their IT&T needs, in particular with their communications - data, voice and video," Sheard said.

The program aims to provide global consistency, financial rewards, marketing and branding for managed service providers to deliver technology as a service. MSCP was developed to accelerate the adoption of IP-based managed services. It also aims to provide a benchmark of quality managed services for users.

The vendor claims MSCP and Cisco Powered Programs will enable the managed service provider community to build offerings based on its unified communications, security and mobility.

Touchbase local business leader, Andrew Fisher, said it had been invited into the program and was excited to be involved.

"We are just getting our head around it here now. In my belief, it was a big hole in Cisco's ability to go to market consistently at a global level and provide assurance. They have now filled that hole," he said. "Needs are growing in that space and there aren't a lot of partners out there [looking for a globally consistent message]. There's probably only a handful in the world today that are asking that question, but it's nice to hear that Cisco is listening."

Fisher said Touchbase was required to have a number of Cisco certifications in order to be eligible for the program and had gone through an auditing process.

"We had to jump through a number of hoops," he said. "As with every Cisco program, it requires a lot of work. Anyone who has ever been involved would understand the effort required in order to be granted access - it's not just based on an invitation and a signed contract."

Fisher said one of the biggest benefits of the program was the ability to provide consistent global pricing.

"Cisco has very strict rules about where you can purchase product from and at what price. This is dependant on your footprint and your investment in any particular country. This [program] allows us to circumvent those boundaries," he said.

"If we are providing a unified communications rollout for a major bank across 50 countries, we can now provide that in a country where we had no presence for a competitive price and also maintain a high level of technical assurance. Previously, we would require the involvement of a third party and in some cases it is just not practical."

NetStar Networks marketing director, Oliver Descouedres, said it had also been invited to the program and had been through the auditing process.

"It was a fairly rigorous assessment of our technical ability to monitor and support networks as well as our ability to deploy various advanced technologies," he said.

Descouedres said NetStar had a number of multinational customers that sometimes wanted it to deploy Cisco equipment in other countries.

"It was very hard to do that. This program means we can deploy a manage service anywhere in the world without having to be concerned about Cisco rules and regulations around what we can and can't do in each individual country," he said.

Data#3 general manager, Laurence Baynham, said he was aware of the program and was keen to find out more.

"Some of our offerings are managed services. It's early days but I think a few partners will look at it," he said.

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