Cisco Mounting White-Label Meraki Offensive Aimed At Driving Recurring Revenues

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WWT has been creating custom APIs and mobile solutions on Meraki, which has redefined the solution providers longtime go-to-market strategy with Cisco to better incorporate APIs.

"In WWT's business, our go-to-market is now not selling Cisco, but it's selling what the Cisco stuff can then enable through the applications that ride on it," said Elfanbaum.

"We just started a project with a large national retailer that's trying to take the provisioning API for Meraki and allow devices to almost self-identify and self-authenticate against their infrastructure," said WWT's Elfanbaum. He added that WWT is "creating scripts to allow devices to automatically connect to the network, based on criteria that [it] can implement through [Meraki's] API."

Jamie Aiello, vice president of services for Annese & Associates, a Clifton Park N.Y.-based Cisco partner, ranked No. 243 on CRN's Solution Provider 500 list, has built a Network-as-a-Service practice with Meraki which grew 30 percent in 2016.

"We're running on average about 45 percent to 50 percent profit on these [Meraki] deals from an operating perspective. That's [includes] cost, support, everything and these aren't small deals," said Aiello, adding that the company is anticipating Cisco Meraki revenues to increase 60 percent in 2017.

With Meraki, Annese built a cloud-managed architecture that provides centralized visibility and control across any number of distributed locations to simplify enterprise networks by managing wireless, switching, security and mobile devices.

Annese has several colleges and universities as Meraki customers, and it provides them with hardware and managed services, site surveys, consulting and operates a help desk for customers as well.

In 2013, Cisco built the Meraki MSP Dashboard, a portal that allows partners to support multiple customers and easily add new capabilities. The portal provides unified management of mobile devices, Macs, PCs and the network from a centralized dashboard. More recently, though, Cisco has opened up the Meraki MSP Dashboard API, making it easier to use and integrate with other web and networking applications. Also, Cisco made it possible for MSPs to customize aspects of their MSP Dashboard for their users and customers.

"You go into the Meraki portal and say, 'I'd like to add on this type of capability' and they already have it defined and built the APIs – it's more of a plug and play with us as opposed to custom development, that's fueling a lot more of the ability for us to leverage the technology," said Aqueduct's Ahluwalia. "So it's easy for us to take it to our customers almost immediately. I don’t even need to send an engineer there to set it up. I just have the customer plug it in; we'll get on a WebEx to show them how to set up, they get it, they play around with it – done … Our customer loyalty and satisfaction is through the roof."

Meraki has 1,900 partners using its custom branding feature globally, according to Cisco, with 10,500 solution providers selling Meraki, which now has an installed base of 160,000 customers.

Channel partners are building custom solutions around location analytics, proximity-based applications, provisioning, asset tracking, custom splash pages and Meraki call desk services.

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