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Cisco aims for more managed, professional services revenue for partners

Cisco's services business brings in billions of dollars in revenue, and the company is expanding services offerings and looking to partners to help sell them.

LAS VEGAS -- Selling Cisco services has been big business for the vendor and upward of 90% of its partners -- to the tune of $2.5 billion in revenue from Smart Services technical support alone. Moving up from these foundation services to the broader portfolio of Smart Services, such as Cloud Discovery Services, Connected Mobile Experience, Data Virtualization and Collaboration Services, Cisco brings in $12 billion through its partners in services. Moving toward what Cisco calls the Internet of Everything, the services opportunity has nowhere to go but up.

Yesterday at Cisco Partner Summit 2014 here, the company announced a Data Virtualization Specialization for partners that ties to Cisco's acquisition of Composite Software last July. At the time of the acquisition, the company said, "Composite will expand Cisco's portfolio of Smart Services and extend our next-generation services platform by connecting data and infrastructure."

And, about a week ago, Cisco announced a new security service -- Managed Threat Defense -- that ties to the company's October acquisition of Sourcefire. More details about the new services will be announced in mid to late April, according to the company.

"We're starting to see partners build their skills -- around managed services and collaborative professional services -- in the new hot customer spending spaces such as mobile, collaboration and security, for example," said Mike Riegel, vice president of services marketing at Cisco.

Partners can offer collaborative professional services by using Cisco's best practices and implementation models to build out their own internal professional teams or bring in Cisco professional services.

Not all partners offer all services. The various services correspond to partners' practice areas. For example, an infrastructure partner with deep network expertise would logically focus on Smart Services; a partner that focuses on Cisco's Unified Computing System (UCS) would more likely focus on data center services.

With the expanded areas of services offering, such as data virtualization, security, mobile and cloud, Cisco believes it is setting up its partners to ultimately drive the IoE.

"This is what partners are interested in … how we help them get into new spaces and grow their business with both existing customers as well as new customers," Riegel said.

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