May 21 SMARTnet Cost Reduction in Response to Cisco’s Restrictive Policies
SMARTnet cost reduction – are such strategies even possible any longer? For many IT infrastructure and networking professionals, the move by Cisco Systems to brand their licensing policy “Smart Licensing” has seemed a bit ironic. For those naturally inclined toward cynicism, it was downright obvious. Cisco very well could call it “Clever as a Fox Licensing.” Call it what you will, but I am aware of a number of companies who find the policy infuriating. For those of you who don’t know what I’m getting at, it is as simple as this: Cisco recognized what they must have considered a problem, and being a large and powerful company they set out to solve this problem. In this blog, I will discuss the nature of Cisco’s “solution” to their problem, how their solution shifted that problem to the consumer, and how an independent support company is presenting the marketplace with a high-value remedy to Cisco’s “solution,” while providing SMARTnet cost reduction in the process.
This is the nature of the problem that Cisco had: the equipment they designed and sold worked extremely well, was extremely stable and lasted a long time. Here’s why Cisco considered this a problem, many clients found traditional SMARTnet maintenance to be really expensive and rarely used. They began to question the value received. Making things worse (for Cisco) was the growing popularity of Third Party Maintenance (TPM) for network equipment. The basic value of TPM service is rooted in high-quality and cost-saving service derived from advance preparedness, technical expertise and efficient processes. Given that Cisco’s support services were estimated to bring the company around 90% profitability, it’s no wonder that these TPM support providers could offer SMARTnet cost reduction, and still have an attractive business model. So, of course, Cisco had to do something.
An article written by XSi’s Grant Patten, “What Cisco and Traditional TPMs Don’t Want You to Know: Why We Need a Better Maintenance Solution,” explains this entire situation in great detail. But basically Cisco tried to make it almost impossible for its customers to either self-support or work with an independent support provider. Under Cisco’s new rules, nearly all components and/or entire units are registered to the original purchaser. While a license transfer is possible, it is often prohibitively expensive and the process was made intentionally tedious. The combination of this restrictive policy, and the punitively expensive transfer gimmick pretty well solved Cisco’s problem, and the HUGELY profitable business model was restored – at the customer’s direct expense.
But there is really good news! There is a solution designed to work within the framework imposed by Cisco that brings back the possibility of SMARTnet cost reduction while STILL achieving compliance. You can check out the details of the program, Cisco Lifecycle & Asset Assurance, by clicking that link. But the basics are this, XSi enables clients to save in two ways: SMARTnet cost reduction via traditional Third Party Maintenance techniques, and by enabling clients to buy a much lower level of SLA entitlement from Cisco – while retaining the critical parts delivery SLA, as provided by XSi, that the client requires.
It is a very thoroughly thought-out program that can provide impressive overall SMARTnet cost reduction. Anyone who is frustrated (or worse) at what has been occurring with Cisco the last couple of years really should look into this program. You will be glad you did!
Care to Read What Gartner Says About Independent Hardware Maintenance?
Click Here to read our bi-annual newsletter and access the latest Gartner report about Independent Hardware Maintenance for data center and networking assets.
About the Author
Brent joined XSi in 2020, bringing with him 30 years of marketing expertise, mostly IT and healthcare. Early in his career, he worked for a few of the country’s leading brand development firms in the Twin Cities, but landed firmly in IT and Independent Hardware Maintenance in 2002. During his IT Maintenance career, he worked at four IT maintainers (Qualtech/QSGI, Top Gun Technology, SMS/Curvature, SSCS), helping two of them from their origins to a recognized and successful business entity. In all instances, he managed the marketing departments, was the primary liaison with industry analysts (e.g. Gartner, IDC) and oversaw all marketing objectives, strategies and tactics. His greatest strengths have been in brand or market positioning and building a solid digital presence. His interests include: prairie restoration and habitat improvement projects, pollinator education, movies, music, craft beer, cooking, cast iron cookware restoration, youth education, fishing, hunting and BWCA camping