Smarter Contracting for Cisco SmartNet

Spend Matters welcomes another guest post from NPI, a spend management consultancy, focused on delivering savings in the areas of IT, telecom, transportation and energy.

If you're like millions of other Cisco customers, you probably use their SmartNet support offering. But, did you know most SmartNet users are paying 15-20 percent more than they should for support?

Thanks to increased traffic volumes and security issues, network infrastructure needs evolve at a faster pace than other technology categories like, for example, software. For that reason, 90 percent of SmartNet users opt to renew their contracts every year. As a result, they're subject to annual rate increases and forego the opportunity to maximize discounting.

If you're one of these customers, try signing a three-year agreement to lock your rate in and protect yourself against annual rate increases. It requires due diligence during the term of the support contract to ensure it reflects your evolving network support needs, but the savings can easily be in the 15-20 percent range.

Another option to consider is third-party support. There are a growing number of certified and non-certified third-party providers, and they can deliver tremendous savings. Non-certified providers, which are not affiliated with Cisco, can reduce your support costs by a whopping 50 percent -- and you can split your support between Cisco and third parties if you'd like.

For customers who still want to have Cisco's in-house support team available to them, consider a certified third-party support provider. These providers typically handle tier one and tier two support concerns, but can kick higher-level support requests to Cisco's inside expertise. This "hybrid" option can save an average of 20 percent compared to SmartNet.

Lastly, make sure your incumbent Cisco reseller is being competitive. Most companies enjoy strong relationships with their vendors, but that doesn't mean that they shouldn't keep them on their toes. To ensure your reseller is giving you the maximum discounting available, benchmark their pricing and terms against their competitors.

-- Jeff Muscarella, EVP of IT, NPI

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