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News & Articles

October 10, 2018 |

Tech Data and Cisco Partner on Pre-Assembled Small Office Solutions

Called Branch Interconnect and Clinic Interconnect, the two new offerings combine networking, security, and collaboration products from Cisco with outsourced, white-labeled managed services from Tech Data.

Tech Data Corp. and Cisco Systems Inc. have jointly introduced two bundled networking, security, and collaboration solutions for small office environments.

Called Branch Interconnect and Clinic Interconnect, both offerings combine products from Cisco, of San Jose, Calif., with outsourced, white-labeled managed services from Tech Data.

The new systems made their debut in conjunction with the fall 2018 meeting of Tech Data’s TechSelect partner community, which is underway now in San Antonio.

Pre-assembled and ready for use out of the box, Branch Interconnect features cloud-managed networking gear from Cisco Meraki along with Cisco’s Meraki Advanced Security, Umbrella Open DNS, Advanced Malware Protection (AMP), AMP for Endpoints, and Cloud Email Security solutions. Cisco Webex Teams and Cisco Webex Board contribute collaboration functionality.

A web-based, single sign-on management dashboard created by Tech Data enables monitoring, troubleshooting, alerting, ticketing, and billing of the entire environment through a single pane of glass.†”It’s is a great drop in, automated solution for things such as law offices and retail stores,” says Phillip Privett, vice president of Cisco Solutions at Tech Data.

Designed for use at doctor’s offices, Clinic Interconnect comes with all of the same components as Branch Interconnect plus secure API gateways that let users exchange medical data with electronic medical record solutions and third-party care providers.†That last feature draws on pre-integrated support from Boston-based Accreon Inc.’s Accreon Cloud Exchange Service and Optum Data Exchange, from Optum Inc., of Eden Prairie, Minn.

According to Privett, the complete package provides abilities not available previously in a single offering.†”There are components of that available in the market and a lot of custom solutions, but this is I think the first time that by partnering with Cisco, Tech Data, and Accreon we’ve been able to pull all that together in a single solution that’s quickly deployable,” Privett says.

Tech Data backs both solutions with remote management services, which it delivers on behalf of resellers under their brand. According to Privett, that makes the systems easy entry points to managed services for channel pros new to that model.†”This enables them to give a white label MSP experience without them having to develop the core infrastructure required to manage it,” he says.

The two new systems also provide monthly annuities as well as one-time implementation fees and incremental revenue during refresh cycles. Resellers can use either solution as the starting point for a broader conversation with their customer about customization and add-on opportunities as well.†Neither offering, Privett emphasizes, includes critical ingredients of a complete IT environment, including on-premises servers and line-of-business software.†”It expands into data center architecture or it expands into application packages to run a retail shop or a bakery or a legal firm,” he says.

Both solutions come with $2,000 of prepaid managed services support and are eligible for financing through the new Tech-as-a-Service for Advanced Solutions program that Tech Data announced today. That program allows end users to convert IT solutions into operating expenses by purchasing them via monthly subscription fees rather than upfront lump sum payments.

“The invoicing actually can come directly from us to the end user or to the partner and then they can go to the end user,” Privett notes. “If we do it direct, we’re doing it in their name.”

There are no prerequisites for selling the new systems, but Privett advises partners interested in offering them to complete Tech Data’s three-part Cisco enablement training program, which takes roughly six hours.†”They need to be aware of all the Cisco product sets,” he says, noting that training specific to Branch Interconnect and Clinic Interconnect is now available as well.

Developing the new solutions was a collaborative effort that Cisco and Tech Data began close to a year ago, reports Privett, who says the two companies have no plans at present to create additional Interconnect systems together.

We think that Clinic Interconnect and Branch Interconnect fill the bill for now, he says. I think we’ll expand on the capabilities maybe more than a new offering, but we’re always looking at new offerings.”

Tech Data competitor SYNNEX Corp., of Fremont, Calif., which bought the North and Latin American operations of Cisco distributor Westcon-Comstor last year, recently began listing Cisco products in its core ordering systems. In August, it added Cisco’s Umbrella internet gateway, Webex Teams collaboration tool, and CMX location-based mobile analytics system to its CLOUDSolv online solutions marketplace as well. According to Privett, however, Branch Interconnect and Clinic Interconnect are examples of why Tech Data remains a better choice for Cisco resellers.

“That’s not the kind of things you see necessarily coming out of all of the distribution model,” he says. “I think we’re very innovative and we’re going to continue to be that way. We’re going to try to provide the best support a customer can desire for Cisco and I think our growth and our presence with Cisco shows that.”

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