Cisco’s Smart Net Total Care can be a life saver — but it’ll take work

Cisco's Smart Net Total Care can be a life saver -- but it'll take work

Editors note: Due to popular demand, this blog post has been refreshed with an additional webinar event titled 3 Actions to Consider from Cisco Support Contract Changes on June 14th, 2016. Click here to register.

You might have heard about Cisco’s newly branded Smart Net Total Care service — a merger of its existing SMARTnet support and a suite of “smart” tools, designed to maximize self-service control, insight and security of all your network devices.

But what you probably haven’t heard is just how challenging it can be for organizations to take advantage of these new smart services, even if they are are already entitled to it as previous SMARTnet subscribers.

 

So what? Well, as a recent Softchoice’s study revealed, network administration is rife with vulnerabilities, inefficiencies and security risk. In fact, we found that more than 60 percent of businesses have end-of-support devices operating in networks, placing them at a much higher risk of security breaches, lost productivity due to longer network outages, and higher replacement costs down the road.

Obviously network errors are costly, as the study suggests. And the new Smart Net Total Care service is something organizations could use to prevent those burdens. So getting up to speed on the challenges, and knowing how to unlock the new features, is crucial.

Good news:

Cisco clients now have access to a new set of “smart” network analytics to better address security & product alerts, coverage & lifecycle management.

Bad news:

Most Cisco clients aren’t aware of the new “smart” capabilities and/or how to begin unlocking the value in the enterprise.

Understanding the Good News

Enhancements are almost always a good thing but you’re probably wondering how the new analytics capabilities works. To start, smart collector software is deployed in the environment called “The Cisco Common Services Platform Collector (CSPC)”. Once the CSPC is correctly deployed, it gathers device support information for Cisco products, including serial numbers, installed memory, product IDs (PIDs), and more. This data is synced with the Cisco databases to provide access to rich analytics.

What Smart Net Total Care means to you?

Traditional SMARTnet capabilities for support (such as advanced hardware replacement) carry forward, which are now enhanced through:

  • Visibility to Security and Product Alerts – identifies relevant alerts for your devices while surfacing affected devices for Cisco published product alerts and security advisories.
  • Improved Coverage Management – provides automated installed base and contract management functionality to help you streamline the process of ensuring proper coverage for your Cisco devices.
  • Enhanced Lifecycle Management – maintains up-to-date installed base data in Smart Net Total Care can provide dramatic efficiencies over manual methods while also reducing the risk of errors

Top Considerations for Unlocking the Smart in the Enterprise

Even with rich data and analytics the applied operational execution is where most organizations fall short. New methods for evaluating risks to the enterprise and planning for the future require careful consideration to positively impact the network health overall. As you look to enable smart in the enterprise consider the following tips:

  • Enabling Smart Collectors – Fully understand your configuration requirements and options related to enable full network visibility. This is where a partner (like Softchoice) or Cisco directly (for a fee) can assist. Recognize early on, that enabling smart collectors may not be as easy as simply flipping a light switch.
  • Integrate Data into Operational Processes – Adapting existing operational process and ITIL standards is key to making effective use of the data. This may be the most common stumbling block for organizations looking to adopt Smart capabilities in the network.
  • Not all Data is Equal – You will gain access to an overwhelming amount of data. However, you will need to evaluate what’s important to your organization and what to act upon. Otherwise, it may simply become another well-intentioned monitoring software purchase just sitting on the shelf.

Get notified of our upcoming webinar on June 14th, 2016

Softchoice has been working hand-in-hand with Cisco team for over 2 years to provide a simplified path for unlocking the smart capabilities in our client’s environments. In the next week, we will be sending invitations to join Softchoice’s senior service advisors , Michelle Hewick and Robert High for an Everything you need to know about Smart Net Total Care webinar focused on top considerations for new Smart Net Total Care capabilities. We’ve been working hand-in-hand with the Cisco team to provide a simplified path for unlocking these smart capabilities in your environments – including the findings from over hundreds of client engagements delivered by a Service Advisor.

Don’t forget about our upcoming webinar event 3 Actions to Consider from Cisco Support Contract Changes on June 14th, 2016. Click here to register.

 

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About Richard Carson

Richard is the Services Marketing Manager, North America for Softchoice, and shares stories that shape tomorrow’s IT landscape.