With all the talk about companies “going digital,” it may surprise some to hear that according to a McKinsey Global Institute report, European and U.S. companies captured only a small percentage of the potential from digitization (17% and 18%, respectively) in 2016. One explanation for the low adoption (or underutilization) of new technologies is that for the vast majority of companies (i.e., SMBs), investing in a new data center, networking, collaboration, and security hardware and software is cost prohibitive. Most IT solution providers will concur that there’s a lot of small businesses using consumer-grade equipment, or they’re using legacy enterprise-grade equipment that’s no longer supported by the manufacturer.
Cisco has recognized this trend, and that’s why despite being known for so many years as a hardware company, it’s making the transition into a software company. Not only that, but it’s changing its sales model from capex (pay upfront) to opex (a subscription model). This shift in its go-to-market strategy is summarized by the Cisco Simple IT philosophy, and here’s what partners need to know about it.
Why Cisco Simple IT?
In addition to the business challenges mentioned above, we’re seeing more devices being added to the network—from smart thermostats to smart doors, smart watches and a variety of sensors and devices. The result is companies are opening themselves up to a new level or risk that they don’t even realize. Imagine a hacker breaking into a business network via an unsecured smart thermostat and gaining access and control of video surveillance cameras, smart doors, sensitive customer information, intellectual property and more. “Cisco Simple IT takes Cisco’s enterprise-grade technologies across four architectures—security, networking, data center and collaboration—and makes it easier for partners to bundle, configure and sell solutions at an attractive price point for SMBs,” says Robert Young, Cisco technology consultant, advanced solutions, Ingram Micro.
What are the components of Cisco Simple IT?
Although Cisco Simple IT encompasses Cisco’s four technology architectures, it’s not a new product offering. “You can’t order two Cisco Simple IT licenses for your customer,” quips Young. “Cisco Simple IT is about the way Cisco is cloud-enabling its products and integrating them. Whether you’re looking at Cisco Umbrella for security, Cisco Meraki for networking, Cisco HyperFlex in the data center or Webex Teams for collaboration, the setup time for each one is about 15 minutes, and they’re all offered as a per-user subscription-based annuity. This model also creates fewer situations requiring a hardware rip-and-replace.”
Key benefits of Cisco Simple IT
In addition to replacing large capital expenses with manageable monthly subscription payments, end users gain better security, productivity and operational efficiencies. “For example, customers gain layer 7 application visibility and control,” says Young. “A coffee shop could control bandwidth usage on its guest wireless network by blocking access to bandwidth-hogging sites like Spotify or YouTube. Or it could offer a certain amount of bandwidth for free and charge a fee for those who need more bandwidth. The allocation of bandwidth and payment acceptance would all be handled by Meraki without the coffee shop owner having to manually do anything. Cisco Simple IT makes it easier for Ingram Micro Cisco partners to help their customers make a digital transformation. The partners become trusted business advisors and business owners focus on running their businesses, which is the way technology is supposed to work.”
To learn more about Cisco Simple IT or to see Cisco technologies in action at Ingram Micro’s Business Transformation Center in Buffalo, N.Y., contact Michael Mason, Cisco engineer, Ingram Micro, at firstname.lastname@example.org.