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Cisco Systems, ConnectWise Partner for MSP Small Business Push

Credit: Getty Images
ConnectWise CEO Arnie Bellini
ConnectWise CEO Arnie Bellini
Wendy Bahr,
Cisco CEO Chuck Robbins

Cisco Systems is finally talking about SMBs and the MSP sector in a big way. The latest effort involves a ConnectWise partnership and a new offering called ConnectWise Unite Portal, according to Cisco Channel Chief Wendy Bahr.

The partnership surfaced during Bahr's keynote this morning at Cisco Partner Summit 2017 in Dallas. Moreover, Cisco is pushing deeper into SMB with distributors, Senior VP of Services Joe Cozzolino said in a separate interview.

Cisco SMB Push: CEO Chuck Robbins' View

Partners will surely welcome the renewed SMB effort. During Cisco Partner Summit 2015 and 2016, some partners openly wondered if Cisco was abandoning SMBs to focus on enterprise customers and massive service providers.

“Cisco didn’t abandon SMB but partners were frustrated," CEO Chuck Robbins told ChannelE2E. "They are seeing a resurgence in our efforts.” Key opportunities include Meraki and BroadSoft (which typically serves 50 or fewer seats per customer), he and other executives noted during an open Q&A. Stay tuned for video conversation with Robbins later today.

The Cisco-ConnectWise push sounds like it involves far more than a simple integration between ConnectWise's business management software and Cisco's networking equipment. Much of Bahr's keynote focused on recurring revenues and customer retention. Moreover, the overall partner theme involves Network Intuitive and Multicloud support. It sounds like the ConnectWise Unite portal may potentially assist with those efforts, though we don't have details yet. We've reached out to Cisco & ConnectWise for more details. Stay tuned for more updates.

MSPs and Networking

Meanwhile, network-centric solutions for MSPs have been emerging in recent months. Key offerings include Auvik Networks, an RMM (remote monitoring and management) offering that's network centric. Also, Cisco has a fledgling MSP offering called FindIT, which integrates with Kaseya. Plus, SolarWinds MSP is preparing network-centric monitoring. And Datto offers cloud-managed networking equipment for MSPs.

The Cisco push down market into SMB comes as emerging rivals like Datto step up from SMB into the midmarket to potentially battle Cisco Meraki. As part of the effort, Datto and Autotask are merging and will continue to promote a pure MSP sales model.

We'll be sure to update this blog as more SMB- and MSP-centric details potentially emerge. Also, stay tuned to our Cisco Partner Summit link for complete coverage.

Joe Panettieri

Joe Panettieri is co-founder & editorial director of MSSP Alert and ChannelE2E, the two leading news & analysis sites for managed service providers in the cybersecurity market.