Cisco Tweaks Fixed-Price Professional Services Model
Cisco Systems (NASDAQ: CSCO) has expanded its fixed-price professional services model–a little-publicized but well-received portfolio the vendor first unpacked in 2009 for Unified Computing System (UCS) deployments—by adding products and solutions and reducing some complexity associated with the process.
According to Cisco, with fixed priced professional services the equation is straightforward: A predefined set of activities and deliverables shows customers upfront what they’re getting, so there’s no reinvent-the-wheel statement of work involved but instead a simplified fixed service description. The vendor, building from its experience, has designed templates and tools available to partners to ensure the project goes as predicted. And, Cisco has prepared, in advance, proven, tested designs and test plans readily customized to suit a customer’s environment.
The latest tweaks to the system involve widening the range of Cisco technologies and solutions available for fixed price professional services. Specifically, the lineup now includes:
- Data Center: Nexus data center switches, UCS, Fibre Channel over Ethernet switches, and desktop virtualization
- Borderless Networks: Cisco ISE (Identify Services Engine), IPv6, Security and others
- Collaboration: Webex and TelePresence
Attached to each Cisco fixed-price professional service is a single part number for ordering, which means they can be ordered on the same purchase order as products.
To some customers and channel partners, the complexity of professional services deployments isn’t far removed from the dread of a dentist visit–a sentiment Cisco shares, at least to a degree. Hence, the fixed-price menu.
“I can hear you say: ‘Oh No! Complexity. Now I need to work a Statement of Work. I need help to get my project on time, can’t this get easier? I need to get my legal contracts team involved. Why can’t you just tell me a price?” wrote Stephen Speirs, a Cisco advanced services product manager, in a blog post. “The good news is, where appropriate to your requirements, this complexity has been substantially reduced, with Fixed Price services from Cisco, available now for many of our most popular products and solutions,” he said.
Just about a year ago, Cisco brought into public view its “Services Rules of Engagement,” defining openly for the first time the roles and responsibilities of its professional services organization and channel partners. It was, and still is, an important framework, considering the $50 billion up for grabs in Cisco-related professional services opportunities worldwide.