Cisco sees role for OnPlus for all partners

Todd Madgett

Canada director of small and midsize business and distribution .

When Cisco Systems introduced Cisco OnPlus late last month, its role seemed obvious.

OnPlus represents a device that sits on the client network and monitors the network and the devices connecting to that network. By reporting on a variety of potential events, it represents an easier on-road for smaller solution providers to add some to their toolbox. It wouldn’t replace traditional tools like RMM and PSA, but it provides a way for smaller partners to get into the game.

But Todd Madgett, director of small and medium business and distribution at Cisco Canada, sees a much broader potential channel for OnPlus.

“I would target every one of our partners in terms of the capabilities of OnPlus,” Madgett said. “There’s a merit and benefit for all VARs from service providers to regional partners.”

Yes, OnPlus does have a role to play for those still dipping their toes in the waters of managed service. Getting up and running with OnPlus requires purchasing a $250 network device from distribution for each of a client’s LANs. Once the device is installed, it will report back in with a network assessment, an assessment of the devices connecting to the network, and much more. Solution providers are then free to add their own value and structure the price and the service they offer customers as they see fit.

And Madgett does admit there’s a sweet spot in the community of 1,800 or so unregistered Cisco partners in Canada.

“They all know they need to get more into network management and into services, but a lot of them just don’t have the financial capabilities to build it out themselves,” Madgett said. “We’ll help them drive those services.”

But beyond that, Madgett said there’s an opportunity for existing to do more through the OnPlus device and service, providing a console through which can do network monitoring assessment, all the way through to updating the firmware on customers’ Cisco network devices. OnPlus is even already set up to connect to the most popular business platforms, including Autotask and ConnectWise.

“It’s specialized network monitoring and management, and it really increases productivity for the SMB VAR,” Madgett said.

OnPlus includes a mobile management console that allows VARs to keep an eye on customers’ networks from their smartphone or tablet, and the company is working on an OnPlus portal, which will offer hosted applications that can access OnPlus devices, with offerings coming both from Cisco and from third parties.

“We’re building a third-party device cloud to enhance the profitability of our SMB partners on services,” Madgett said.

Part of that effort will be encouraging partners using OnPlus to “productize” their customized applications, and exchange or resell the applications. Ultimately, it could lead to building SKUed-up bundles in distribution of OnPlus devices plus the top applications for specific verticals or target audiences.

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