Cisco Offers Two New Cloud Designations to Managed Services Partners

Cisco Systems Inc. recently opened two new cloud service designations through its Managed Services Channel Program (MSCP), one for private clouds and another for hosted collaborative solutions.

The new cloud designations enable channel partners to map and brand their cloud-based offerings, built on Cisco-validated architecture, more directly with the vendor, according to Todd Roth, Cisco director, MSCP.

Cisco's Private Cloud designation, referred to as Infrastructure-as-a-Service (IaaS), and its Hosted Collaborative Solution, termed Unified-Communications-as-a-Service (UCaaS) are open to certified partners in its managed services channel program who qualify for Cisco Powered status, Roth said, in a blog entry.

Partners must pass a third-party audit of their service design to use the Cisco Powered logo in their marketing collateral, he said.

"Any partner who is developing or deploying cloud or managed services can become MSCP certified," Roth said. "To attain the additional Cisco Powered brand designation, a partner will need to go through an additional audit step during the MSCP certification process," he said.

Roth said that to meet the cloud opportunity, channel partners will need to evolve their business models and expand their IT-as-a-service offerings for customers.

"In my view, partners will have to invest in two primary areas: Build out the people, processes and tools to manage and monitor these IT solutions from the data center or network operations center [and] begin offering third-party applications or services on top of these core network technologies," he said.

Roth suggested that partners who feel threatened by cloud computing will be well-suited to take a closer look.

"This is merely a change in consumption--customers want to buy the same technology, they just don't want to assume all the risk of deploying it on their own premises," he said.

"Partners that recognize this and are willing to absorb some risk with the capital outlay upfront to offer XaaS, [will] see an opportunity to enrich their advanced services practices while building retention with the customer through a longer term relationship," Roth said.

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