Cisco, IBM Expand Service Alliance to 46 Countries

Cisco and IBM are expanding their long-standing partnership with the extension of their Global Services Alliance into 46 new countries.

The two partner firms collaborate on many initiatives and products. The expansion of this particular initiative suggests that it is going exactly as the companies planned, Charles King, principal with Pund-IT, told the E-Commerce Times.

Now’s the Time

“Clearly, the companies feel now is the time to explore new opportunities with this service,” he noted.

The Global Services Alliance provides product maintenance services for mutual customers through one contact. The typical users are IBM hardware customers that purchase Cisco networking technology solutions and vice versa.

“Providing a collaborative maintenance service offering means our mutual customers will no longer need to choose between Cisco networking skills or IBM multi-vendor systems integrator capabilities,” stated Karl Meulema, vice president of Cisco services marketing and channels.

Who Does What?

IBM markets this service offering under the name “IBM managed maintenance solution for Cisco products.” In this effort, IBM provides consolidated call management for all networking devices and is responsible for resolving customer issues. Technical support is provided via IBM Technical Support Centers by network specialists, trained by Cisco, who have access to IBM’s technical support resource base.

Through IBM, Cisco provides worldwide, 24×7 escalation to the Cisco Technical Assistance Center, access to Cisco.com, ongoing operating system updates, advance hardware replacement and tools, and best practices to address network issues.

Making Life Easier

The offering is not rocket science; indeed, it is basically a package of pre-existing services. However, integrating the service aspect does make life easier for clients, King noted. It also supports IBM’s changing strategic direction, he added.

“IBM has been shifting more and more over the past year or two to providing solutions rather than just bare bones hardware and then selling them packages of server products, storage hardware and network hardware that are designed to support specific business tasks,” he stated, adding that Cisco is a large part of that effort on the networking side.

“What a service offering like this is designed to do is make life easier for customers that buy this equipment. If a difficulty arises or a system upgrade needs to occur, all it takes — in theory at least — is one phone call to begin to solve,” King concluded.

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