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Cisco introduces Lifecycle Solutions

Networking giant wants partners to adopt a six-step services program to build up professional services

Cisco Systems has outlined its vision of Lifecycle Solutions in an attempt to be on the same page with partners on comprehensive services.According to Karl Meulema, vice- president of services marketing and channels customer advocacy for Cisco, the channel needs to build up its expertise in services.
About 82 per cent of Cisco’s worldwide services business is done through the channel.
Meulema cautioned that building up a professional services business can be risky.
However, he added that partners on average enjoy 17 per cent greater profitability when adding services.
“It is a deep dive to build up your expertise,” Meulema said.
Cisco Lifecycle Solutions was introduced to support partners in building up its professional services offerings.
This set of six service methods is aimed at the company’s advanced technologies portfolio. They are:
• Prepare: Develop a business case for making the technology change;
• Plan: Assess the existing customer environment;
• Design: Develop a design to meet technical requirements;
• Implement: Integrate devices without disrupting existing network or creating vulnerabilities;
• Operate: Maintain day-to-day network operations health; and
• Optimize: Continually improve system performance and functionality.
Ross Pellizzari, vice-president of channels for Cisco Systems Canada, believes that half of Cisco’s partners here understand the need for services.
“Unless you worked on enterprise operations you don’t know what needs to go on. Prepare, plan, design, implement, operate, and optimize services is critical to adopting all this new technology.
The path to more profits lie in services,” he said.
Meulema said Cisco plans to educate partners on Lifecycle services by transferring company knowledge to them. He believes by doing this VARs will be able to save on training costs.
“We are the only ones who have the expertise to show how the technology can be successful in a profitable way,” he said.
One partner that has already gone through with this process is NexInnovations of Mississauga, Ont., CDN’s No. 1 ranked solution provider.
Wendy Lucas, the company’s senior vice-president of sales and integrated solution, said it went through the Cisco knowledge transfer phase six months ago.
Services have enabled company revenues to grow substantially since 2004, Lucas said.
“Cisco came in and really looked at our business. They guided us on our investments parallel to customer investments.
“Not too many companies do it at this high level. It was a very holistic approach that benefited the company in our professional and technical services. It was excellent,” she added.
Lucas forecasts that NexInnovations will grow by 35 per cent in 2006 in overall internetworking and security revenues from last year because of services.
Currently, 75 per cent of new NexInnovations customers have asked for design and implementation type services.