When it comes to mobility, Cisco wants partners to sell much more than your run-of-the-mill mobile device management system. Instead, the company is urging providers to build a full mobility practice that also involves mobile application delivery and specialized customer services.
Specifically, the company is pushing an ecosystem of technologies called the Cisco Unified Workspace that combines mobile device management, policy and secure access control, optimized mobile collaboration applications and enhanced mobile virtual desktop. The goal is to offer employees access to any enterprise application, from any location, on any device, along with mobile customer-support services.
With Unified Workspace, mobile users can access Cisco WebEx and Jabber, as well as the full Cisco Virtualization Experience Infrastructure (VXI), which combines virtual desktop, video and audio conferencing.
"When you introduce virtual desktop [and mobility], you have people untethered from their desktops and offices to work in ways they've never worked before. When you introduce collaboration, you have the potential to speed up process in the business by increasing productivity and profitability," said Richard Bernard, the national practice lead for advanced systems with Cisco partner ePlus Technology. "You're creating an office of the future."
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The Unified Workspace is comprised of three Cisco Smart Solutions: The BYOD Smart Solution, Cisco VXI and the Remote Expert Smart Solution.
The BYOD Smart Solution offers management and control of personal devices, as well as network planning and design services that take into consideration wireless access point and controller placement, as well as device on-boarding policy and secure access. Cisco's VXI Smart Solution combines desktop virtualization and collaboration capabilities, optimizing these applications for delivery on any mobile device or branch office regardless of location. The Remote Expert Smart Solution provides virtual face-to-face interaction with a consultant to address end user issues or questions, even when that user is at home or on the road.
Selling the Cisco Unified Workspace
Cisco partners have the option of selling the Unified Workspace as a complete solution or integrating it into their own solution offerings.
For Bernard and his team, going with Cisco's Unified Workspace rather than a third-party vendor was a no-brainer since ePlus already sells the necessary data center support in Cisco's UCS to support complex solutions, such as VDI.
"There are very few solutions that can actually build a scalable server model or data center platform [for VDI and mobility]. You have to secure it, have a robust network to deliver it, and [be able to] bring in additional features like mobility and UC," Bernard said. "I was working with a Cisco UCS specialist, and it turned out Cisco was already a mile down the road on the same kind of ideas...Cisco will support the complete package, including the storage element, Citrix and VMware components."
For partners to successfully sell the Unified Workspace, Cisco provides support and training. "Cisco has tested all the components together and created detailed design docs, technical support and training across all the Cisco and non-Cisco components, so partners can be confident in what they are recommending to customers," said Joel Conover, senior director of enterprise marketing with Cisco.
Partner involvement doesn't stop after implementation of the Unified Workspace, but continues with support and even managed services. "Our partners can design, deploy, integrate and offer managed services around the Unified Workspace," said Richard McLeod, senior director of collaboration sales worldwide channels with Cisco. "This is intended to drive new services opportunities for our partners."
For ePlus, selling the overall Unified Workspace solution lends itself to customer confidence. "Cisco has a proven model that we can leverage and adopt instead of trying to develop it ourselves. This establishes our credibility when we go to clients. It takes a lot of worry and fear out of the equation, helps accelerate the sales cycle and the customer embracing the solution," Bernard said.