Cisco (News - Alert) SMARTnet is a technical support service that can give your IT staff direct, anytime access to field engineers and Cisco.com resources to help ensure the fast, expert response and accountability required to resolve critical network issues. For some, however, Cisco SMARTnet may not be the ideal solution for a number of reasons. How do you choose an alternative Cisco SMARTnet vendor?
People may choose to not opt for Cisco SMARTnet for many reasons. Its price may be too expensive, there may not be cumbersome support, or not speaking to technician fast enough, there may be a language barrier due to Cisco’s outsourced Tier 1 support outside of the U.S or there is a lack of flexibility for monthly billing and adding or deleting items within the contract. Other main reasons entities turn to alternative vendors are because usable equipment has reached Cisco’s End-of-Support (EOS) and the service level agreements (SLAs) are not being met for legacy gear.
When Cisco settled an antitrust lawsuit with Multiven, an independent network maintenance company, who charged that Cisco forced customers to buy its SMARTnet service plan in order to get bug fixes and software updates, in August of 2010, it paved the way for all Cisco equipment users to buy Cisco SMARTnet Maintenance from independent maintenance organizations and escalated demand in the marketplace.
One alternative provider, XS International, offers support to Cisco SMARTnet and offers contract flexibilities, simple contract management with all support under a single agreement for multiple OEMs, multiple SLAs and global support, payment flexibilities, hardware and software support beyond Cisco EOL/EOS, cost reductions over Cisco’s deepest discounts and support on HP, IBM, Oracle (News - Alert)/Sun and Dell “branded” Cisco products.
In a recent blog post, XS International explored what entities should look for when turning to an alternative SMARTnet vendor. Here are eight factors to consider when choosing an alternative vendor.
- The extent of its Cisco Technical Assistance Center (TAC) - does the vendor employ a large number of W-2 Cisco Certified Engineers at its TAC at all levels of Cisco Certification including CCIE/CCSP/CCDP/CCNA/CCNP.
- Under one contract with one TAC number, can the vendor provide and manage original Cisco SMARTnet, warranty chain management, alternative SMARTnet for current and EOL/EOS equipment, support on HP, IBM, Oracle/Sun, and Dell (News - Alert) “branded” Cisco products and depot repair services?
- Its TAC must be able to facilitate the transfer of software patches and updates coming directly to you from Cisco via e-mail or download from your Cisco.com account.
- It should be able to provide coverage for “all” Cisco equipment including data, voice and unified communications, security, SAN hardware and software.
- Check to see its policy on replacement hardware. Does it send just a part or the complete unit (router or switch)?
- While most will provide payment flexibility, including monthly payment in arrears, this type of financial arrangement may not allow smaller maintainers enough financing to properly spare
- Contract Flexibilities (such as co-terminus adds and deletes in a prorated manner during the period of performance)
- For government customers, the vendor should have all its SMARTnet related SKU’s on its GSA (News - Alert) schedule.
To read more of the blog post and to learn more about XS International, visit its blog here.
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Edited by Brooke Neuman