As a global leader in technology, Cisco offers hardware and software for networking, wireless and mobility, security, collaboration, data center, and more.
In many cases, when you implement a Cisco solution, you’ll purchase multiple pieces of Cisco hardware and software. Your purchase includes a 1-year warranty on hardware and enrollment for a year of Cisco’s technical support services, SmartNet Total Care for your software.
For example, when you purchase Cisco BE6K, the initial cost includes a 1-year warranty on any phones, servers, and/or gateways you purchase as well as a 1-year contract for SmartNet Total Care for the Unified Communications Manager licenses, VMware licenses, IOS-XE, etc.
To extend support to software and hardware after the first year, Cisco requires you to re-enroll in its technical support services, SmartNet Total Care. After your initial warranty has expired for your hardware, you can also choose to extend coverage for your hardware, too.
(We’ll use Cisco BE6K as an example throughout this article, however, you can apply this same principle to Cisco’s other products.)
At The KR Group, we recommend customers renew and extend their SmartNet Total Care subscription because it gives them access to three benefits:
- You have access to updates.
- You can choose your level of support for hardware.
- You receive support for your software 24 hours a day, 7 days a week.
We do want to note, though, that these benefits are separate from The KR Group’s, or any other Cisco partner’s support; SmartNet only includes support directly from Cisco.
While we’d be glad to help you with any issues you experience, unless you have a separate agreement with us, we’ll charge for time and material.
We still believe there is value in leaning on your Cisco partner for support. However, when you have a Cisco SmartNet contract, financially, you may wish to leverage Cisco’s support directly for the following three reasons.
1. You have access to updates.
The top incentive to enroll in Cisco SmartNet Total Care for software is because it allows you to update operating systems software.
While occasionally these upgrades include new features, the most important reason to keep up on upgrades is to perform ongoing maintenance, fix any bugs, and patch any vulnerabilities.
For Cisco BE6K, these updates include license version upgrades and IP phone firmware. SmartNet’s coverage also extends to the software on the Cisco phones, if you have contracts for them as well.
Typically, every year, you can expect at least a couple of updates across your BE6K system. Performing these upgrades keeps you current with Cisco’s services and is imperative for enhancing your network security.
2. You can choose your level of support for hardware.
Cisco knows businesses have different needs, which is why they offer products to meet a variety of needs.
SmartNet Total Care is no different, and they offer several different models for customers to choose from. At The KR Group, we find customers are typically interested in the following three options:
- SmartNet Total Care 8 a.m. to 5 p.m. next business day
- SmartNet Total Care 24 hours a day, 7 days a week, within four hours
- SmartNet Total Care 24 hours a day, 7 days a week, within two hours
All of these times refer to how quickly Cisco guarantees you will receive replacement parts for any covered hardware. You are welcome to call Cisco for support at any time, and they will walk you through troubleshooting and diagnosing the problem.
If they determine the problem is indeed a faulty part, what contract you’re enrolled in will determine that part starts making its way to you.
1. You can receive a response between 8 a.m. and 5 p.m. the next business day.
This is the most basic tier of SmartNet support. You’ll have access 24 hours a day, 7 days a week to Cisco’s Technical Assistance Center (TAC). If they determine you need replacement hardware, they’ll guarantee next business day delivery if the hardware request is made by 3 p.m.
Cisco guarantees next business day delivery from the point where hardware failure is confirmed and normal business hours shipping guidelines apply. For example, if you call at 2 p.m. on a Friday but Cisco TAC doesn’t determine you need a part until 6 p.m., you’ll be waiting until Monday for your part to ship.
Likewise, if you call anytime after 3 p.m. and Cisco TAC determines you need replacement hardware, that part is not going to ship until the next business, even if that next business day is Monday.
If you don’t have redundant servers and gateways, you likely need your phones back up and running as soon as possible, though.
Waiting for next business day delivery might be doable for some businesses, but if you can’t wait until Monday for a part to ship, you’ll want to look into a different tier of SmartNet Total Care or hardware redundancy.
2. You can receive a response within 4 hours, 24 hours a day, 7 days a week.
With this option, you can call Cisco for support any day, any time, and you will receive your replacement hardware within four hours of Cisco determining the failure.
If a problem arising with your hardware at 7 p.m. on a Friday, you’ll only have to wait a few hours to get the replacement parts to work on getting your system back up and running.
This tier of support does come with location restrictions, though, since you have to be within four hours of a distribution center.
3. You can receive a response with 2 hours, 24 hours a day, 7 days a week.
This level of support is similar to 24 hours a day, 7 days a week, within four hours, but it guarantees delivery within two hours instead of four. Its location requirements are even stricter to accommodate for faster delivery time.
As a Cisco BE6K user, you might consider this option if you are highly dependent on your phone system running. However, if you rely on having no more than two hours of downtime with your system, we’d suggest considering purchasing and implementing redundant hardware.
This will be a larger upfront cost, but you can scale back to 8 a.m. to 5 p.m., next business day SmartNet support since you’ll have back-up hardware to fail over to.
3. You receive support for software 24 hours a day, 7 days a week.
SmartNet Total Care also comes in the form of software support.
Whether it is for the BE6K licenses themselves or other Cisco software associated with the collaboration solution, the subscription for software entitles you to updates and support from TAC.
Since Cisco TAC follows the sun, you’re able to talk to a live person any time of the day or night.
If you call with an after-hours request, you’re likely talking to someone from the other side of the country or another county. Since Cisco is a global organization, they’re capable of empowering their business this way, though.
Having this support is important because it is what entitles you to updates. If you forego Cisco SmartNet for your call software, for every update you miss, you’re becoming increasingly vulnerable to attacks.
Why should you renew your SmartNet contracts?
With technology, especially technology your business operations heavily rely on, it’s important to keep your support active and current.
You’ll know you have a Cisco technician to help support, troubleshoot, or replace/update and problematic products.
Without support, you’re relying on your IT team’s best effort and aren’t entitled to replacement parts or software updates.
Cisco SmartNet Total Care is a support option to make the most of your technology investment. Before you renew your contract, check out Cisco’s datasheet for SmartNet, and if you have questions, we’d be happy to answer them.