By Mark Havens, VP, Sales & Marketing, SSCS

For those whose Cisco support agreements coincide with Cisco’s fiscal year, today is a very good day to begin your analysis. If your agreement is not slated for renewal until calendar year-end, I would suggest beginning your examination 60-90 days in advance.Cisco Costs

Why is such an analysis even important? We find, more than ever, that companies are engaging in multiple tactics to improve IT cost optimization. In fact, many companies that have never gone through such an analysis of their Cisco support agreements often discover significant numbers of their asset portfolio that are not benefiting from expensive Cisco support.

Here’s an example: If assets are not benefiting from software support or software maintenance because they have reached “stable state,” why would you pay rates that include such support? Companies that are willing to analyze their asset base and consider the growing credibility of the independent hardware support industry are often surprised by the magnitude of the potential cost savings.

How does one get started?

Ultimately, you’ll need an analysis of all your Cisco assets, identifying which assets should stay with Cisco support, which ones are eligible for independent hardware support and, finally, which ones are “borderline” and worthy of a strategic discussion. We have a Cisco Solutions Team that can help you with the heavy lifting – and a few nuggets of equally helpful education. With their support, they will help you by reviewing, categorizing your asset list and then reviewing their findings with you. They will even provide noble, unbiased guidance about those “borderline” assets. Several from this team worked for a decade or more on Cisco’s TAC desk – they know the “ins and outs.” These good people make it all easier than it might sound.

When our clients realize the monies they are paying for Cisco support, compared to the few times they access Cisco’s TAC for software support/troubleshooting, curiosity is piqued and they readily embrace information relating to support alternatives – like independent hardware support.

Network admins are most concerned with stability and resiliency. These admins have already invested efforts to build stability around their hardware assets. They often ask themselves, “Why should I change/upgrade when my environment is stable and I can keep expanding my stable environment?” Additionally, the cost of additional expansion switches are dirt cheap today, compared to when they were purchased 3-4 years ago.

Like you and your team, our guys really like to solve “puzzles.” Your Cisco support strategy is not a complicated puzzle, but you’ll appreciate their process and their logic as you work together to analyze your current asset base, your current support plan and cost, then collaborate with you to ensure stability while driving down your operational expenses. We truly welcome your call!

Mark Havens, VP, Sales & Marketing, SSCS

This year will be Mark’s 23rd year with SSCS Global IT Services. Beginning in sales, he was promoted to Vice President, Sales & Marketing, now responsible for all global sales activities, brand recognition, inbound/outbound marketing and primary messaging. In his previous employment in management with Ritz Carlton, Mark was highly influenced by their industry-leading customer service program, as influenced by the standards of the Malcolm Baldridge quality awards.

In his spare time, Mark is engaged is numerous activities with his daughter, plays the bass guitar and is a vocalist with a band and his church choir.

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