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Cisco arms channel with Plus as-a-service offering

Vendor will launch its as-a-service option in the UK around the middle of the year

Cisco is getting its channel ready to support its as-a-service offering as it responds to greater customer demands for subscription-based consumption models.

The vendor used its Live! event to unveil Cisco Plus, which will give customers the chance to pay for its product portfolio via flexible payment models.

In a statement sent to MicroScope, the firm not only revealed it was gearing its partners up, but pointed to their feedback as one of the major reasons for the offering.

“We are building Cisco Plus alongside our partners and working with them in the process,” said the firm. “Cisco Plus as a concept that came about as partners have been asking for more outcome-based products and services from Cisco to meet customers where they are. Moving to as-a-service IT will make our partners even more essential.”

The firm is kicking off the Plus offering around the mid-year mark, with Cisco Plus as hybrid cloud, which includes the firm’s datacentre compute, networking and storage portfolio in addition to third-party storage and software.

The expectation is that the vendor’s gold partners will play a key role in driving and delivering Cisco Plus. Partners can offer customers the option to pay 0-100% up front, with order delivery expected in 14 days. The UK is one of the first batch of countries to get the services, along with the US, Australia, Canada, Germany and the Netherlands.

“Every business is unique with its own challenges today, but what we have in common is the need to simplify everything,” said Todd Nightingale, senior vice-president and general manager, enterprise networking and cloud at Cisco.

“Cisco is leading the industry in its approach with Cisco Plus. Together with our partners, we intend to offer the majority of our technology portfolio to be cloud-delivered, cloud-managed and offered as-a-service.”

The firm shared some reactions from the channel, with Juan Orlandini, chief architect, cloud + datacentre transformation at Insight, saying the offering did plug a gap in the market.

“There has always been a ‘yin and yang’ in how to operationalise and finance IT infrastructure,” he said. “Cisco Plus is the matching pair to a cloud operating model. Delivering Cisco Plus across the majority of Cisco’s portfolio helps us at Insight to further deliver the transformation to a cloud operating model that our clients want.”

As well as giving the channel Cisco Plus, the general theme of Live was around the concept of hybrid working.

The firm is strongly in the “working life will not be the same after Covid” camp, with Wendy Mars, Cisco’s EMEAR president, sharing her views about the future.

“Conversations that we have had with customers, independent of the geography they are in or the sector in which they operate, it is very much a message of the future of work being hybrid,” she said. “We have all learned a huge amount over the last year.

“Organisations right now are thinking through about how to have a situation where they can cater for both home- and office-based staff.”

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