Midmarket, IT management, MSP

Some MSPs, Partners Question Cisco Smart Care Services End of Life


Cisco Systems' decision to end its Smart Care Service has drawn criticism from some channel partners -- particularly MSPs -- that leverage the program. The networking giant, however, is pointing partners and customers to alternative service solutions.

Cisco announced in August 2016 plans to end Smart Care service orders on January 28, 2017. Cisco will honor existing Smart Care contracts through the end of each contract's date.

Smart Care was a combined offer/program managed by Cisco Technical Services and are not related directly to Cisco Global Partner Organization, the company notes. However, some midmarket MSPs leveraged Smart Care as part of their managed services portfolios. Two such MSPs contacted ChannelE2E during Cisco Partner Summit 2016 earlier this month in San Francisco.

Cisco Explains Smart Care End of Life

Amid those partner concerns, ChannelE2E reached out to Cisco for comment about Smart Care's end of life, and potential service alternatives for partners. Here's what we heard:

ChannelE2E: Why is Cisco discontinuing Smart Care?

Cisco's Response: "Cisco is committed to simplifying our Services portfolio, and in how we do business with partners.  As such, we are unifying our support services platform across our offers to enable greater adoption, create a consistent experience for our partners and make more efficient use of both our and Cisco partners’ resources. For those reasons, Cisco announced the end-of-life of Cisco Smart Care on August 1, 2016. The last day of sale for Smart Care will be January 28, 2017.  Cisco will continue to honor active Smart Care contracts sold before that date."

 ChannelE2E: What are the alternatives for Cisco partners, including MSPs?

Cisco's Response: "If the Smart Care partner has a partner-branded support or managed service business model we are working them to transition to Partner Support Service (PSS). For partners that prefer to resale Cisco’s world-class support service they can continue to position Smart Net Total Care with their customers both offers are under our Cisco Services Partner Program (CSPP)."

Lingering Cisco Partner Concerns

Despite Cisco's efforts, some partners remain concerned about Smart Care's end of life. One midmarket MSP says Cisco's alternative options aren't a financial fit. Another midmarket integrator says he's exploring alternatives from unified communications vendors.

Still, the Smart Care fallout appears limited. An enterprise integrator says he won't miss Smart Care because the financial model never was a fit for his business.

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.