Cisco unveils CCaaS tool

New cloud consumption tool aimed at midmarket customers


Cisco has unwrapped its new Cloud Consumption-as-a-Service (CCaaS) tool and made it available to its entire channel partner base either to resell or build into an existing managed service portfolio.

The CCaaS software tool, which is a follow on to Cisco’s existing Cloud Consumption Assessment and Cloud Consumption Optimization models, aims to helps solution providers and customers gain visibility into outside services used by an organization, Cisco said.

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Most importantly to partners, the tool offers up an avenue for solution providers to serve as trusted advisors to many companies that don’t have an existing cloud strategy and/or don’t understand how to assess their cloud spend, according to Robert Dimicco, Cisco cloud consumption global leader.

“We’ve been working in this space for three-and-a-half to four years now [and] companies were telling us they needed to understand how much they were spending [on public cloud services] and other infrastructure-as-a-service capabilities,” Dimicco told Channelnomics. “They wanted to know how those services were being used in their organizations.”

At the same time, Cisco’s channel partners were signaling their interest to move beyond working with the customers on private cloud deployments, Dimicco said.

“We asked what services…to put in the [cloud services] portfolio to resell,” he said.

“There was absolutely a need for professional services here and an imperative for it to have as its foundation a software tool that looks at network traffic and the individual cloud services used. And, it had to be significantly valuable, above a basic traffic analysis tool.”

Cisco’s initial cloud consumption offerings were framed as professional services tailored to large enterprises, Dimicco added, pointing out that the with the new tool, the vendor is scaling to the needs of mid-market and small businesses, delivered exclusively through the channel.

The networking vendor is positioning the CCaaS tool as a data-driven method to manage Shadow IT – or the unauthorized use of public clouds from within an organization. Cisco said its own data shows that the number of cloud services used by an organization is nearly 14 times the number customers themselves believe occurs, growing 112 percent last year and some 67 percent in the past six months.

Dimicco, who shepherded construction of the CCaaS tool, said the service helps customers not only to discover cloud services used across a customer’s organization, but also to monitor usage, mitigate risks, compare public cloud providers, lower costs and eliminate duplicated services. Further, the CCaaS software includes data security tools, a cloud service anomaly analysis, trigger-based changes, cloud provider profiles and identifies redundant services, he said.

All Cisco partners are eligible to sell the CCaaS tool and no special certification is required, he added, but he suspects the most likely Cisco partners to engage with the CCaaS tool will be those who have been in the cloud space for a while and have account managers and engineers “comfortable in cloud discussions” and who can leverage a cloud consumption model with their customers.

“Some of our more traditional partners involved in network and datacenter infrastructure also are looking at this to extend their capabilities to public cloud advising,” Dimicco pointed out.

“Mid-size organizations and small enterprises want their partners involved, whereas larger companies want a mixture of partners and [internal staff]. The smaller organizations aren’t equipped to compare public cloud providers or to know the best practices. But partners can.”