Cisco Offers VARs New Cloud Service for Managed Service Sales to SMBs

Vendor to pump $75 million into Partner Led channel initiative in 2012.

December 22, 2011

D.H. Kass

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Cisco Systems Inc. said that it will offer a new cloud-based platform dubbed OnPlus for channel partners selling managed services to small- and medium-sized business (SMB) customers, a move the vendor said is tied to a $75 million investment in its Partner Led initiative for 2012 to pump up sales in that market segment.

The cloud offering includes network assessment, management and advisory services priced at $250 for a three-year subscription to OnPlus and an associated network agent appliance, the vendor said. Channel partners will be required to purchase separate subscriptions and appliances for each managed network, the company said.

Cisco said that the service, the price of which is discounted in a special introductory offer, is available now through distributors to channel partners in North America and subsequently will be extended to other geographies. The vendor also said that it is making available native applications for mobile devices based on Apple Computer Inc.’s iOS and Google Inc.’s Android operating systems at no cost.

Andrew Sage, Cisco vice president, Worldwide Partner Led, said that by helping channel partners to transition services offered to customers from reactive and tactical to proactive and strategic will boost profit by improving response time and efficiency.

“The role of VARs is rapidly shifting to a service oriented business,” he said. “Cisco is reinforcing our commitment to small business partners by enabling them to quickly create and expand their offerings in network management and advisory services.”

Cisco’s OnPlus Network Agent appliance, which plugs into a network switch or router, enables discovery and monitoring of any device with an IP address from any supplier, allows remote connectivity to manageable network device for troubleshooting and configuration, and

The vendor said that OnPlus tends to channel partners’ bottom line by upping the number of customers serviced without adding technical staff.

Level Platforms Inc., an Ontario, Canada-based provider of remote monitoring and management (RMM) software, said that it has integrated its platform with Cisco’s OnPlus service.

Dan Wensley, Level Platforms vice president, partner development and marketing said that the RMM provider’s “integration with Cisco's OnPlus service equips MSP’s with a unique service bringing additional benefits for our partners and their customers.”

Liberty Technology, a Griffin, GA-based Cisco channel partner, said that the new Cisco cloud offering will give it a more comprehensive view of its customers’ networks.

“We’ve used OnPlus in a number of scenarios from doing network surveys to quickly troubleshooting and identifying problems with customer’s networks, which has greatly saved us time and, of course, money,” said Ben Johnson, Liberty president.

TAGS: cloud computing,SMB,Cisco,managed services,channel partner,OnPlus,Partner Led

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