Much-Anticipated Cloud for Catalyst Initiative Announcement Kicks Off New Journey Previous item Top Three Cybersecurity... Next item TD SYNNEX INSPIRE 2022...

In case you missed the big news, at Cisco Live! 2022, Cisco announced the long-awaited Cloud for Catalyst initiative. Cisco’s Bill Hentschell, Director of Enterprise Networking and Meraki for the Global Partner Organization, said this initiative has been long overdue but emphasizes that this is just the start. “This is not the end of the journey. This is the beginning of a multi-year journey,” Hentschell said, “with the idea around unified platforms and unified licensing.” It has been almost 11 years since Cisco acquired Meraki, and partners and customers alike are clamoring for this connection.

As 80 percent of Cisco customers use both Meraki and Catalyst products, it’s easy to see why more connection and visibility between the platforms have been highly demanded. Although the full integration process will take time, the Cisco Live! announcement was meant to notify customers and partners of the journey’s kickoff. This first step is cloud monitoring for Catalyst, which allows customers more visibility through the Meraki dashboard. Customers can now monitor everything in one place, but resolving any issues still requires further steps. In the coming months, the capabilities will expand to cloud management for Catalyst, but this is not yet available.

Monitor mode, which is available now, provides Cisco with an additional step toward being a Managed Service Provider (MSP). Businesses continue to embrace service as the driving force behind their business models, and Cisco is no different. The visibility provided through the new cloud monitoring capabilities is an exciting step for MSP partners. “That visibility is so key in a managed service provider business because if you have visibility, you can keep operations down…and everything you’re doing is consolidated in a single pane of glass,” explained Amy Hodge, MSP Business Development Manager for Cisco.

As customers begin to realize the potential benefits offered through monitor mode, partners have the opportunity to complete assessments for them. This includes looking at what product customers currently have, what level of code it is, where exactly they’re at with technology capabilities, and what they need to upgrade. For Meraki cloud, 17.8.1 is the level of code needed, so some customers will need to upgrade their systems for everything to work. The good news for customers who aren’t sure if they want to try monitor mode is that no additional licensing will be required until June 2023, so they can test Meraki free of charge until then. The long-term goal is to create a simplified licensing model, but that will be something to look out for further down the line.

For now, partners can assess their current customers and help them upgrade so they can experience the cloud monitoring connection. Ruben Dedman, TD SYNNEX Technical Consulting Manager for Cisco’s DevNet, highlighted how the new capabilities being offered can really help partners stand out from the competition. “It gives you the ability to stay in consistent contact and create a relationship where you’re building and continuing to grow their network,” Dedman said. Hentschell followed up by explaining, “From a partner perspective, this is where you can differentiate and create even more customer stickiness.”

By customer stickiness, Hentschell means getting customers to completely invest in Cisco products. For example, a partner helped create this relationship with Panera Bread by creating the code that runs their kiosks and app. The customer will likely remain a Cisco customer for a long time due to the experience and the significant value they have received from this partner. With the Cloud for Catalyst initiative, Hentschell discussed how distribution partners can have a new net opportunity for customers, can create better linkage to deliver new business outcomes, and therefore, can increase profitability.

As always, with everything new and current, TD SYNNEX is here to help partners deliver the best experience for customers. “The value is there. A lot of our partners are seeing the value, and they’re jumping on it. We provide the services that help them adopt these tools and drive digital transformation within their companies,” shared Dedman. TD SYNNEX offers pieces of training as well as demos for those new to Meraki, those looking to level up, or those looking to stay in compliance. These pieces of training come in a variety of forms from one-on-one sessions to instructor-led sessions. Additionally, through the managed marketing program, partners have access to an array of marketing campaigns.

The excitement over the Cloud for Catalyst initiative is real. This is only the beginning of a much-anticipated journey that will see our technologies continue to advance to best serve our customers.

To learn more about the changes and how TD SYNNEX can help you thrive, check out this webinar.