Optus and Cisco Join Forces to Target SMBs in Australia

S. Soh

Summary Bullets:

• Optus has partnered with Cisco to launch two new offerings at Cisco Live 2019 – Optus Cloud Calling (BroadCloud) and Managed Cloud networking (Meraki).

• The combination of NBN, LTE, SD-WAN, and cloud UC will meet the needs of many SMBs and branch office scenarios.

Optus and Cisco continue to strengthen their relationship. At the Cisco Live 2019 event in Melbourne, Australia, Optus was the key sponsor and it used the event to announce new Cisco-based solutions. The first solution is Optus Cloud Calling which is a unified communications (UC) service based on Cisco’s (formerly Broadsoft) BroadCloud platform. This is cloud-based UC solution hosted by Cisco. The service offers telephony, native mobility, and advanced conferencing and collaboration tools. BroadCloud is integrated with Webex solutions to assess audio/video conferencing and team collaboration applications. Optus Business is providing this service as a managed service bundled with its Evolved Voice SIP trunking and business mobile services.

Another service launched during the event is Optus Managed Cloud networking services based on Cisco Meraki. Meraki is hosted by Cisco which offers fast provisioning, security, and customer reporting and analytics capabilities. Cisco Meraki comes with a web-based dashboard and a mobile app to manage the service from anywhere. Optus is offering Managed Cloud as a managed service and Optus has more than 60 Cisco Meraki accredited staff to support the service. At the same event, Cisco announced a partnership with NBN to target the SMB segment in Australia. Cisco will conduct joint marketing with NBN. Cisco will also leverage its channel partners to promote the adoption of business-grade NBN.

The announcements listed above point to a common goal among Optus, Cisco, and NBN which is to win in the SMB/mid-market segments. Cisco has been doubling down the SMB market with the launch of Cisco Start in Australia about 18 months ago. Cisco Start brings together products that are suitable for these customer segments and wrapping these products with the right licensing model and incentives for partners to take them to market more effectively. These products include Meraki for networking, Umbrella for security, Webex for collaboration, and UCS for compute. Enterprise-grade NBN, LTE for failover, SD-WAN, and cloud collaboration – these will meet the needs of many SMBs and customers’ branch offices. These technologies are particularly useful for businesses that using cloud services (including SaaS) for their daily operations by providing better application performance and service reliability.

Optus will be able to sign up customers and provision these services more rapidly by adding these new solutions to the Optus GO platform. This platform has been a key initiative to win managed services in the mid-market and we expect Optus to add the two new offerings to Optus GO. However, Optus GO appears to support mostly Cisco-based solutions. As service providers move towards modular products designed from the back-end outwards, it is important for Optus consider multi-vendor solutions for best in breed technologies and to match customer preference.

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