Admittedly, for most of the market, the question of whether to go with Cisco (News - Alert) or an alternative vendor in terms of SMARTnet maintenance isn't much of a question at all, since Cisco occupies about 90 percent of the market. However, with a bad economy still in the offing and many companies reconsidering their budgets, alternative vendors of SMARTnet maintenance are starting to offer their own appeal.
While the fact that many alternative vendors are much, much less expensive than Cisco isn't lost on most companies, alternative vendors also provide a variety of other points that make them worth considering over the current leader, including their versatility, response times and overall value.
Some have recommended getting a contract with guaranteed and spelled-out response times, even with Cisco, as many have reported delays of a full day or more thanks to Cisco's policy of routing all technical requests through customer service. Additionally, while Cisco claims to be the only SMARTnet supplier that can supply full SMARTnet support, like OS updates, Cisco's own authorized reseller program allows alternative vendors to supply most of the same updates that Cisco itself can, and recent lawsuits against Cisco have removed many of the blocks in terms of supplying hardware support to users that don't have a SMARTnet contract. Some say that Cisco will even put pressure on organizations to buy new hardware, citing end-of-life concerns, something that many alternative vendors won't do.
SMARTnet itself, meanwhile, provides a lot of valuable features, so it's small wonder that many firms are interested in what they offer. SMARTnet service includes direct access to the Cisco Technical Assistance Center, a wide array of self-help support online, and Cisco's Smart Call Home feature that provides diagnostic tracking--as well as immediate alerts--on network devices, regular operating system updates, a variety of automated tools, document access services and even hardware replacement services.
An alternative vendor like XS International can offer much the same services that Cisco can offer, and at lower prices. XS International has its own line of new and legacy enterprise hardware available, featuring many of the major brands like Dell (News - Alert) and HP, as well as that one TAC call, cross-platform environment management, worldwide support, and support for even the end-of-life equipment that Cisco will, by some reports, look askance at. Better, XS International even offers 20 years of experience, making them a fine choice for those looking for support.
Alternative vendors have, in many cases, most of the same offerings as SMARTnet, and sometimes with better service and lower prices. While alternative vendors won't prove to be for everyone--as evidenced by the fact that most of the market is with Cisco--considering an alternative vendor may prove to be a good idea in the long run.
Want to learn more about the latest in communications and technology? Then be sure to attend ITEXPO West 2012, taking place Oct. 2-5, in Austin, TX. ITEXPO (News - Alert) offers an educational program to help corporate decision makers select the right IP-based voice, video, fax and unified communications solutions to improve their operations. It's also where service providers learn how to profitably roll out the services their subscribers are clamoring for – and where resellers can learn about new growth opportunities. For more information on registering for ITEXPO click here.
Stay in touch with everything happening at ITEXPO. Follow us on Twitter.
Edited by Rachel Ramsey