Cisco's newest UK Gold partner claims it can take on and beat more established rivals by offering customers a more hands-on and flexible service.
Milton Keynes-based Managed 24/7 has become Cisco's 34th UK Gold partner, meaning it will rub shoulders with goliaths such as Computacenter, Didata, Insight, Capita and Logicalis on the top rung of the networking giant's partner programme.
Managed 24/7 founder John Pepper said some larger competitors held their top Cisco engineers in "dark rooms" or reserved them for their largest customers and also argued they are unable to move as quickly on new technology.
"On a first meeting, we will send in a senior Cisco technician to architect the solution. That's the kind of thing we can do as a smaller business that some of our competitors can't," he said.
"Because we are a relatively young business, the applications we use are also cutting edge and we are able to keep evolving those systems."
To bag Gold status, Managed 24/7 had to pass an on-site audit and gain four Cisco advanced specialisations in enterprise networks architecture, security architecture, collaboration architecture and data centre architecture.
Pepper set up Managed 24/7 after selling his previous Cisco Gold partner Minx to Insight in 2008 and said gaining Gold was even more onerous this time around.
"Before, it was very much a reseller model, but it now tests not only your ability to resell and technically engineer solutions, but also looks at your ability to work in cloud environments," he explained.
Managed 24/7's headcount is set to increase from 50 to 65 in the coming months as undergoes a £1.5m expansion of its Milton Keynes network operations centre that can ultimately house 150 heads, Pepper said.
Pepper said the upgrade is key to improving Managed 24/7's capabilities around predictive monitoring, which he described as a step up on the proactive monitoring most ISPs and rival MSPs offer.
"With proactive monitoring, you look at a board and see if something is going up or down by the red, amber or green," he said. "With predictive monitoring, we're asking 'what do we think that server or network device is going to look like in six months' time' and be advising the customer before a problem happens. The investment in the NOC will allow us to take that to the next level."
Pepper said Managed 24/7 had been working towards gaining Cisco Gold for two years but bagged the badge well ahead of its target date of the end of 2015.
"We are very much wrapped around managed services so it means a lot to us to get access to the technical capability at the back end and to see the technology before it is announced to the public, which allows us to advise the customers in a much better way," he said.
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