Cisco targets SMB, lower midmarket for collaboration with Cisco Business Edition 6000S

The BE6000S supports four virtual machines, is targeted at 25-150 user organizations, and costs 22 per cent less than the BE6000, which has the same software, at the lowest configuration.

Richard McLeod 200

Richard McLeod, Cisco’s Senior Director of Worldwide Collaboration Channel Sales

Cisco has announced a smaller scale version of its Cisco Business Edition 6000 collaboration solution with the Cisco BE6000S. It has exactly the same software as the larger BE6000 (and the even larger BE 7000). The difference is scalability. While the BE6000 handles up to 1000 users, the BE6000S’s sweet spot is 25-150 users.

“We have had huge success with the Cisco BE6000 and we are carrying it forward with this,” said Richard McLeod, Cisco’s Senior Director of Worldwide Collaboration Channel Sales.

The new BE6000S is an all-in-one platform, which, like the larger BE models, leverages the Cisco 2921 Integrated Services Router to provide voice, video, instant messaging, presence, and paging capabilities.

“This is really the industry’s first office in a box,” McLeod said. “It brings all the power of the enterprise collaboration offerings to the smaller customer, and is priced right for that market. For an initial deployment of 25 users, it is 22 per cent less than a BE6000 of the same configuration.”

McLeod said that since all the Business Edition solutions share the same software, the BE6000S is fully upgradeable to the BE6000 or BE7000.

“The only difference between the BE6000S and the others is the number of virtual machines that can be supported,” McLeod said. “The BE6000S supports four virtual machines. This means that it will not support some complex capabilities out of the box, like full contact center capabilities or on-premise video bridging, although they could do so if they added another server.”

McLeod indicated that Cisco does not think these limitations will be at all significant given where the BE6000S is targeted.

“Small size customers want the richness of enterprise solutions, but they tend not to care much about higher level features like an on-premise video bridge just yet,” he said.

The BE6000S is expected to be available globally in early 2015.

Cisco also made several related announcements, including enhancements to the BE6000 platforms and improvements to the way both Cisco resellers and distributors will be able to order and design both the BE6000 and the BE6000S.

The improved BE6000 platforms increase the platform’s video capacity by 25 per cent to support more simultaneous video calls. The partner-focused changes include a new option for preconfigured settings on all BE6000 and BE6000S models, reducing the amount of time needed to install them by as much as 30 per cent. Cisco will also configure core unified communications services before shipping to the partner to further reduce the time needed for partners to get more customers up and running.

“Many of the simplifications for how partners can order and design these were trialled in Canada,” McLeod said.

In addition, selected Cisco Distributors will now be able to offer a distributor-led implementation service for partners, called “Cisco Config to Order Portal.” ComStor, Ingram Micro, KBZ, and ScanSource have been identified as being eligible for this service. They will be able to provide configuration and customized implementation of the BE6000 and BE6000S, based on a customer’s specific requirements, at their company site, before hipping to the partner or directly to the customer. Cisco estimates that this can reduce a partner’s installation time and labor costs at a customer site by up to two days.