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Cisco Systems Refines Its Services Practice

Cisco Systems is extending its services practices around five advanced technology areas as part of its push to get partners focused more on professional services, rather than on those related to maintenance.

Among other things, the vendor is creating end-to-end project management methodologies and life-cycle support offerings for wireless, optical and storage architectures. Blueprints for IP telephony and security already exist, said Karl Meulema, vice president of worldwide partners, sales and marketing for Cisco's Customer Advocacy group, which delivers the vendor's services offerings.

Meulema said the blueprints will define a minimum set of services that Cisco and its partners need to provide to customers to help them be successful with advanced technologies.

Wim Elfrink, senior vice president of Customer Advocacy, said Cisco's services focus continues to center on network preparation, planning, design, implementation, optimization and operation. The extent to which its services teams work with partners depends largely on the size of the accounts: For service providers, Cisco will handle the bulk of maintenance services, with VARs responsible for application services; in enterprise accounts, Cisco will team with the appropriate partners; and in commercial accounts, partners will represent Cisco's network integration services.

Meulema said Cisco's Customer Advocacy group will mentor partners in areas where they do not already have skills.

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