The expanded alliance comes soon after the pair announced that they would jointly develop unified communications platforms to customers.
The extended service collaboration builds on the joint support success that IBM and Cisco say they have seen in the US, and means that IBM customers who purchase Cisco networking technology solutions will now get a globally consistent level of IT infrastructure support, said the pair.
"This is a significant evolution in our Global Services Alliance," said Karl Meulema, Cisco vice president for services marketing and channels.
"Providing a collaborative maintenance service offering means our mutual customers will no longer need to choose between Cisco networking skills or IBM multi-vendor systems integrator capabilities. Instead customers get the collective expertise of both companies, combining the best of both worlds," he said.
Robert Kritzer, vice-president for the IBM-Cisco Strategic Alliance at IBM Global Technology Services, said, "We have been working together on these service offerings in the US for the past three years. Our relationship with Cisco allows us to provide our customers with a single resource to seamlessly and rapidly integrate business processes, industry knowledge, information technologies and the intelligence of the network."
IBM will market and sell this services offering under the ‘IBM managed maintenance solution for Cisco products’ brand, while collaboratively delivering the service with Cisco.
IBM will provide the customer with consolidated call management for all networking devices and will retain responsibility for resolving customer issues.
Technical support will be provided via IBM Technical Support Centres by experienced network specialists, trained by Cisco, who have access to IBM's technical support resource base.
Cisco will provide, through IBM, such benefits as worldwide 24x7 service escalation to the Cisco Technical Assistance Center, special customer access to cisco.com, ongoing operating system updates, advance hardware replacement, and tools and best practices to address network issues.
Related article: IBM and Cisco team up to develop unified comms platform
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