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Cisco Expands Offers to Small Businesses

Cisco expanded its Designed for Business with new offers and promotions for partners.

Lynn Haber

March 3, 2020

4 Min Read
Small Business
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Cisco on Tuesday updated its “Designed for Business” portfolio that targets small and midsize business customers, with offers that bring together the power of machine learning, AI and cloud-driven solutions.

Introduced at Cisco Partner Summit in November, Cisco’s Designed for Business portfolio is a new brand for the vendor and one designed to help partners win small business customers with market specific technology that’s priced right, and easy to use and manage. Since that time, Cisco seems to have expanded its language from “small” to SMB customers, defining these organizations as having up to 250 employees. Regardless, the company is determined to shed its image as a vendor for large enterprise customers only.

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Cisco’s Dhritiman Dasgupta

”Everything [in Designed for Business] is fulfilled by the partner,” Dhritiman Dasgupta, chief marketing officer, small business segment at Cisco, told Channel Futures. “We’ve been very deliberate in the use case we’re going after and all of the training and enablement materials talks to that so partners can have more targeted discussions.”

There are three elements in today’s announcement:

1. The company is introducing its first-ever “buy” button on Cisco.com. This move is designed to drive a new user experience that simplifies the buying process and connects small business customers to a Cisco partner to buy directly on the website. The vendor also offers faster access to technical and sales specialists that’s in 24 languages, globally, through live chat or callback in 15 minutes or less.

2. Cisco added a few new products under the Designed for Business portfolio. First is the Cisco Business Wireless Mobile App that provides a simple way for an individual or company to configure and manage networks in any location from a smartphone. The new app is available in the Apple App Store (iOS) or on Google Play (Android).

Cisco also announced two new Meraki products, a Wi-Fi 6 access point and cloud managed smart camera. The Meraki Wi-Fi 6 access point simplifies network management, improved network performance, reliability and security. This is the vendor’s first Wi-Fi 6 access point for small businesses.

The Meraki cloud-managed Smart Cameras are powered to deliver business insights on areas ranging from foot traffic to identifying which displays are attracting attention to parking utilization, as well as to help mitigate risks. These new cameras include high-quality video, wireless connectivity, on-appliance storage and built-in advanced analytics, eliminating costs involved in sending traffic to a data center. They offer a 360-degree view through a fisheye camera, and one unit can cover an entire premise efficiently.

3. Cisco also is offering new networking promotions and offers. One promotion includes a free access point when purchasing a switch; another offer is around the purchase of an access point that includes free mesh-based extenders. A third offer targets distributors and partners: buy three switches and the fourth one is free.

Cisco also has a data center offer: the HyperFlex Edge, a hyperconverged solution that is one node and is managed from …

… the cloud.

“This is our first data-center offering in the small business space,” said Dasgupta. “It’s for verticals that are processing a lot of data, and sending the data to the cloud and back is going to be expensive — think gaming or medical imaging. Or compliance, where the data cannot leave the organization. We’re being very deliberate about how we’re positioning these offers.”

These offers target a go-to-market strategy based on specific use cases around three stages of growth, according to Dasgupta.

“The first phase when a company has 20 or so people and no IT. The second phase is when the company grows to 30-40 people and the CEO decides to invest in a dedicated IT person who is [vendor] certified,” he said. “But this person is still servicing laptops, fixing projectors, is addressing network issues, wireless, and security. The third phase, the company is, say, a technology startup, and has grown to 120-150 employees; now the IT equation changes from being a cost center to making a difference in terms of whether the company will make it or now,” he said. “There’s a lot more focus on what IT brings to the table and we see companies at this point heavily focusing on IT.”

Participating partners are chosen based on a multitude of factors including (but not limited to): countries prioritized with wallet opportunity in small business; existing e-commerce presence; joint marketing agreement with Cisco; have pricespider technology (Buy Now button) embedded; have an agreement to provide reporting or tag site for accurate tracking and reporting on click to buy referrals; and processes to maintain and update Click and Buy SKUs on their platform, according to the company.

In a recent blog, Marc Surplus, vice president, partner strategy, planning and programs with the Global Partner Organization at Cisco, outlines three reasons to grow your small and midsize customers with Cisco: the Perform Plus rebate program; streamlined deal registration; and Partner Help Pro, which is coming soon.

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About the Author(s)

Lynn Haber

Content Director Lynn Haber follows channel news from partners, vendors, distributors and industry watchers. If I miss some coverage, don’t hesitate to email me and pass it along. Always up for chatting with partners. Say hi if you see me at a conference!

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