The Voice Over the Internet Business is HOT. Not just in the more consumer like Vonage space but absolutely in the business arena.
MCI and Cisco have partnered together to help resellers sell VOIP services to customers. MCI and Cisco will identify resources and create the tools, training and programs to improve the channel partner’s ability to sell, deploy and support both hosted and premise-based IP solutions that combine MCI services and Cisco technology.
MCI/Cisco’s press release reads: “IP-based services are becoming ever more essential to businesses of all sizes,” said Phil Meeks, senior vice president of MCI Strategic Ventures and Alliances. “Through this strategic relationship with Cisco, MCI will expand its service offerings to a new sales channel and leverage Cisco’s technology capabilities to develop innovative solutions that meet the evolving requirements of our customers.”
Expanding on its decade-long relationship, MCI and Cisco will work together to create advanced networking services for SMB customers. The resulting products and network enhancements, including security offerings, will enable joint MCI and Cisco SMB customers to find new ways of doing business and increase overall productivity.
“Many of today’s small and medium business customers recognize the benefits associated with IP communications but can not justify the IT staff required to migrate and support advanced technologies and thus are looking for end-to-end support of IP applications at competitive price points,” said Nigel Williams vice president, Worldwide Service Provider Partners at Cisco Systems. “Our collaborative agreement with MCI will enable our channel partners to deliver a complete, applications-rich, managed communications package to our mutual small and medium business customers and take advantage of this growing market opportunity.”
By combining resources, both companies are able to offer SMBs a larger selection of voice, data and security solutions and products. In addition, both companies plan to offer network-based and premise-based solutions, such as MCI’s VoIP service MCI Advantage and Cisco’s Call Manager and Call Manager Express, giving SMBs greater flexibility when it comes to network and application implementations.
“Vendors and service providers that offer converged solutions incorporating infrastructure, applications and communications services will be more successful in penetrating SMBs and mid-market enterprises,” said Steve Hilton, senior analyst, The Yankee Group. “SMBs, unlike large enterprises, have unique financial and staffing constraints. Cisco and MCI have created a relationship linking together technology solutions and sales channels to address those constraints and allow SMBs to implement relevant business solutions.”
MCI’s Cisco Powered Network Helps Enable Advanced Applications
In February 2004, MCI announced its global Multi-Protocol Label Switching (MPLS)-based service — Private IP — had earned the Cisco Powered Network designation. The Cisco Powered Network program recognizes service providers that enable advanced applications based on Cisco network equipment and technology. Expanding upon this designation, MCI is working with Cisco to identify, create, market and sell applications that will ride over MCI’s fastest growing VPN service, Private IP.
Cisco Channel Partners to Sell MCI Advantage
Beginning immediately, Cisco channel partners will be able to offer customers MCI’s hosted VoIP solution, MCI Advantage. MCI Advantage is one of the industry’s first network-based VoIP solutions designed to provide customers with everything they need to maximize their network investments and consolidate local, long distance and data services across a single MCI IP network solution. MCI Advantage customers benefit today from new multimedia applications, such as contact lists that are integrated into dialing directories, auto attendant, call blasts and call management via a web portal. MCI Advantage also supports remote office services and is one of the only VoIP solutions that support E9-1-1.
“Our company is focused on addressing the needs of the small and medium sized business market and today our customers want and need complete solutions to maximize their ability to compete in their market segment,” said Bob Urick, President of Network Resources, a Premier Cisco Certified channel partner. “Having the ability to offer our small and medium sized business customers an IP solution that includes Cisco technology and MCI services will be key to our success and our customers.”