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New Cisco & ConnectWise Partnership Strengthens Managed Services in SMB Market

It's a win-win for ConnectWise and Cisco as they leverage each other's strengths to promote managed services in the SMB market.

Cisco and ConnectWise have entered into a symbiotic partnership geared toward getting more Cisco solutions into the hands of MSPs with a new platform called ConnectWise Unite with Cisco, announced Wednesday at Cisco’s Partner Summit 2017.

Unite brings Meraki, Cisco Umbrella, Cisco Spark, and Stealthwatch Cloud together in a single portal that allows MSPs to more easily manage Cisco’s security, unified communications, and multicloud networking solutions.

“This changes the game. This is about telephony. This is about collaboration. This is about cloud networking. This is about security,” ConnectWise CEO Arnie Bellini said during a closed Q&A session. “This is a very comprehensive solution that opens up lots of new doors—and revenue.”

The new platform has a dual purpose: It helps Cisco partners that want to build a managed services practice to have a standalone, single pane of glass solution to simplify the process of managing, monitoring, and billing customers; and it makes Cisco’s enterprise solutions accessible to the SMB market, where many ConnectWise MSPs live.

Cisco is doubling down on the SMB market, which accounts for half of the world’s tech spend and is the fastest growing global managed services market segment. CEO Chuck Robbins said last week’s announcement of Cisco’s intention to purchase BroadSoft is further evidence that it’s “very serious” about the market. BroadSoft’s average channel partner has fewer than 50 lines, he said.

It’s a win-win for both companies. Cisco wants to see as many partners as possible move into managed services in order to drive recurring revenue and customer loyalty, giving it a solid foothold in the lucrative SMB space. For its part, ConnectWise will benefit from its partners being able to bundle Cisco solutions rather than having to individually deploy, integrate, and manage each offering.

“We looked around and said if we go into [managed services]…we have to be prudent on processes and get the tools needed to run this at the highest possible efficiency,” said Jens Haviken, VP of services and solutions at Dustin Group. “We chose ConnectWise three years ago. They’re better at innovation than we are if we tried to do it ourselves, and now we get the Cisco part as well.”

ConnectWise is offering a free trial of the Unite portal to partners in North America and EMEA through January 1, 2018, with a global rollout planned over the next 12 months . Partners that register for the trial will receive access to enablement content beginning November 13, 2017.

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