Microsoft and Cisco Collaborate

Microsoft Corp. and Cisco Systems Inc. will collaborate to provide application service providers (ASPs) with an end-to-end solution for deploying outsourced applications and services. The two companies are delivering infrastructure and support while working with independent software vendors (ISVs) such as Clarus Corp., Great Plains and Pivotal Corporate to provide specific service offerings to midsize businesses in corporate purchasing, business management and customer relationship management, allowing ASPs to offer services to customers.

This collaboration enables midsize companies to leverage business applications with minimal IT resources. Hosted applications give customers an alternative to the resource-intensive process of deploying and managing complex applications internally by providing a cost-effective scaleable method to rapidly deploy solutions with a reduced initial investment.

To ensure that customers receive the high level expert support, Microsoft and Cisco have formed ASP alliances, enabling them to rapidly and reliably deploy services and applications to customers. These ASPs are able to meet customer expectations for reliability, security and performance by deploying hosted application solutions on Cisco Systems’ intelligent networking infrastructure and the Microsoft Windows NT Server operating system.

Building on a series of partnerships, equity investments and pilots, these ASPs now offer a wide variety of application hosting services on the Windows NT Server platform, Microsoft SQL Server 7.0 database, Site Server Commerce Edition and Cisco networking solutions.

"We are excited about the opportunity to work with Cisco, as well as several leading ISVs and application hosting providers, to better meet customer demand for integrated hosted solutions and business services based on the Microsoft BackOffice family and Cisco networking solutions," says Thomas Koll, Vice President of the Network Solutions Group at Microsoft. "In order to accelerate the deployment of services, ASPs can leverage our combined expertise and programs in regard to marketing, operations and sales."

Customers will also benefit because the installation process will be simplified, allowing them to concentrate on their core business competencies. The Microsoft and Cisco alliance enables ASPs to offer other services, such as business, commerce and knowledge management services, that differentiate their solutions in the industry. The teamwork between Microsoft, Cisco, the ISVs and the ASPs also will streamline the implementation and management of hosted application services for customers, resulting in reduced total cost of ownership.

"Microsoft and Cisco, together with our ISV teammates, have opened new customer segments for ASPs, allowing customers to implement new technology solutions that will enhance their business productivity," says Eugene Lee, Vice President of Marketing for Cisco Systems’ Small/Medium Line of Business. "Our efforts today build on Microsoft’s participation in the Cisco Hosted Application Initiative, which is designed to provide businesses of all sizes with access to powerful applications that were previously beyond their reach. It also creates an emerging ecosystem of technology partners that are best able to meet customer needs."

ASPs interested in offering business services as part of an end-to-end hosting solution for midsize customers can download deployment kits designed to accelerate their ability to provide services for corporate purchasing, business management and customer relationship management. Each deployment kit includes a customizable sales presentation, a customer demonstration, an integrated software and hardware configuration and installation guide, and a partnership sales guide, as well as a technical white paper entitled "End-to-End Platform for ASPs". More information on the deployment of these services is available at www.microsoft.com/isn/ind_solution.asp or at www.cisco.com/go/hostedapps/.

To date, these services are offered by the following application hosting service providers: Data Return Corp., DIGEX Inc., FutureLink, Interliant Inc., QWEST Cyber.Solutions, The Taylor Group, and USInternetworking Inc.