Continuing its commitment to the small and medium-sized business (SMB) marketplace, Cisco has announced a suite of new additions and updates to the Cisco Smart Business Communications System (SBCS). Extensions to the portfolio include technical services, the tripling of unified communications capabilities up to 48 users, and the addition of four new Ethernet switches. Cisco also announced that its SMB channel initiative, Select Certification, has grown to nearly 1,000 channel partners worldwide over the last two months.
Cisco is expanding the SBCS solution set as follows:
Cisco Unified Communications 500 Series adds 32- and 48-user systems. The initial release of the Unified Communications 500 Series addressed the unified communications needs of small businesses with eight to 16 users. These two new platforms allow small businesses to support up to 48 phones per location.
Cisco SMARTnet Service for SBCS is Cisco’s award-winning technical support service program, offering multilevel service options and access to an extensive range of technical resources. Sold by a Cisco channel partner, customers get direct, anytime access to Cisco engineers for configuration assistance, problem diagnosis and recommendations through 24-hour telephone or Web-based support. The offering also includes software assurance with application and Operating System software updates and upgrades.
Cisco Catalyst Express Ethernet Switches provide flexibility of configuration to meet different networking requirements. The four new switches offer 24 10/100 access ports with Power over Ethernet (PoE); 4 10/100 access ports with PoE and 20 access ports10/100; 24 ports of Gigabit Ethernet; or 24 10/100 access ports.
Cisco Mobility Express: Cisco has added ease-of-deployment features for the Cisco 521 Wireless Express Access Point and Cisco 526 Wireless Express Mobility Controller. They include an easy-to-set-up guest access portal; automatic policy configuration for voice, data and guest access; simplified security set-up with preset low-, medium-, and high-security options; and integration with Cisco Configuration Assistant.
The Cisco Smart Business Communications System provides voice, data, video, security and wireless capabilities, while integrating with existing desktop applications such as calendar, email, and customer relationship management programs. Designed for the unique needs of small businesses, the system is comprised of hardware products, integrated unified communications applications and system-management tools designed to complement each other and provide communications building blocks. With the assistance of a Cisco Certified Channel Partner, the all-in-one communications solution is easy to install, use and upgrade.
Cisco is actively building the global capacity and capabilities of channel partners that support small-business customers. It recently launched Cisco Select Certification, a new entry-level designation specifically for SMB-focused channel partners. With a goal of adding 5,000 Select Certified Partners over the next 12 months, Cisco is aggressively recruiting and training channel partners around the world. The initiative is rapidly building momentum, adding approximately 100 new partners per week.
Cisco is also helping partners expand their managed-services capabilities and improve customer service by adding new capabilities to Cisco Monitor Director. This proactive solutions-management tool allows Cisco channel partners to offer outsourced, multi-customer, 24-hour network management services. It now scales to enable monitoring up to 100 managed customers and provides support for any Simple Network Management Protocol (SNMP)-capable and IP-addressable device. The solution provides comprehensive, real-time monitoring, alerting and reporting to help partner troubleshoot and fix issues remotely.
Cisco Capital currently provides innovative financing solutions to SMB customers in 23 countries through its EasyLease financing platform. EasyLease programs include the “conserve i.t.” zero percent progress payment program for Cisco Unified Communications solutions in North America, and zero percent financing for Cisco Unified Communications solutions in Europe.