Discover Meraki-as-a-Service

Meraki Employee

Chapter One: Playbook Overview


Market Context

Cloud service utilization and budget spend continue to expand for small, medium, and large enterprise businesses. According to Gartner research, the worldwide public cloud service market is projected to grow 17.3 percent in 2019 to a total $206 billion, growing 21 percent from $145.3 billion in 2017. Infrastructure as a Service (IaaS) is the fastest growing segment, forecasted to grow to $39.5 billion, a 27.6 percent increase from 20181.


According to Markets and Markets, the managed network service market will grow to $59.3 billion by 2021 with a CAGR of 9 percent2. Network infrastructure and security are essential for businesses to access the cloud and all the associated digitally innovative services and capabilities. This presents an excellent opportunity for Meraki partners to address customer pain points, offer managed services to customers, and address these ever-growing demands.


Focus on Your Customer Needs

Central to your success in launching new managed services will be your ability to apply these market insights to your local customers’ needs. You should have or obtain a good sense of your customer pain points that your new managed services will solve. While certain pain points may be obvious, others can be uncovered through the unique view you have (and your competitors do not) into your customer behaviors and your intimate knowledge of their existing and future challenges. Leverage those insights, along with market trends, to guide you through this practice development process to mitigate your risks and accentuate your differentiation.


Why Build A Cisco Meraki Managed Services Capability?

The Meraki platform provides the opportunity to create managed services without many of the typical start-up costs and investments. Meraki offers a complete portfolio of 100% cloud-managed LAN, WAN, endpoint management, smart camera, and security solutions. The Meraki MSP dashboard allows you to remotely and centrally manage any number of customer networks without the traditional capital expenditures associated with dedicated monitoring hardware and data center buildouts. Additionally, the dashboard affords you the ability to provide co-branded customer portals with role-based access, rich analytics, simplified support ticketing across multiple organizations, location analytics, and remote live tools, such as rogue DHCP detection and containment. This intuitive platform is simple for sales to position, requires reduced Network Operation Center (NOC) resources, and provides the ability to easily scale large customer deployments.


Some key benefits of Meraki-powered managed services include:


  • Shorter managed services sales cycles
    • Intuitive, yet robust demo / trial capabilities
    • Pre-configured devices, shipped directly to end customers
    • Monitor-only or role-based access to dashboards with rich analytics and statistics

  • Zero-touch managed services deployments; unbox and plug-in
    • No pre-staging, onsite configurations, or lengthy customer portal builds
    • Highly scalable for deployments of any size

  • Rich “day two” margin opportunities
    • Reduced operational costs and increased productivity with centralized maintenance from a single pane of glass, across any number of customers and sites
    • 24x7 Meraki support escalation
    • Intuitive management platform with automated alerts and notifications
    • Next-day RMA process (depending upon geography)
    • Remote tools which minimize the need for on-site support

  • Ability to deliver excellent customer experiences
    • Provide a fully operational service that can be live within days of ordering
    • MSP-branded customer dashboard
    • Rich analytics, business insights, and visibility into meaningful trends

Proven Meraki Managed Services Business Models

The most tangible opportunities for Meraki managed services can be segmented into two main models:


  • Business Services
  • Managed Network Services

Business services are typically vertically-targeted and focused on either providing a business activity or outcome. An example would be a retail credit card payment solution or an auto-dealership inventory system. The network devices and services, such as WLAN infrastructure, are critical components of a broader service delivery, but the network is not a component of the service itself. Business services are typically offered for a fixed monthly service charge, plus usage fees (i.e., point-of sale transaction fees) or other add-ons. From an end-customer perspective, these services are typically consumed as operating expenses (OpEx) over the life of an agreement. There are typically very minimal, if any capital expenditures (CapEx).


Managed network services can be either turn-key or custom network solutions that would include the network services, as well as 24x7 monitoring, break-fix support, moves, adds, and changes (MACs), and other MSP-differentiated support and lifecycle services. From an end-customer perspective, these services can be entirely OpEx or can sometimes have a CapEx component if the customer seeks to maintain title. Often, there are one-time, non-recurring services for implementation, onboarding, and configuration of the management and end-customer portals. Then there are recurring fees for the MSP-provided management service(s).


If not providing managed services today, both service models will likely require investments in people, process, platforms, and tools to be successful. Selling and delivering managed services, regardless of service model, requires a re-allocation of existing resources or the investment in some new roles, skills, and people. For example, cloud-based network services may not require as many certified engineers for service implementation; however, a service desk will need to be staffed if one does not exist. New NOC and service desk processes and hand-offs will also need to be established. Some of this can be automated through professional services automation platforms, such as ConnectWise, which aggregates network management, ticketing, and periodic billing. The reallocation of and/or investments in people, process, platforms, and tools are all considerations when assessing readiness to develop a Meraki managed service practice.


This playbook will go into these considerations in greater detail in the subsequent chapters. It will be important to identify the required service desk and NOC investments, including people and tools, when modeling anticipated financial performance and developing a managed service practice business plan (Chapter 3). Chapter 5 will go into more detail about establishing NOC and service desk capabilities.


Qualification and Readiness

With the market clearly shifting towards a cloud consumption model, this playbook seeks to simplify and accelerate the process to launch Meraki managed services. However, the process to develop these capabilities may require new business models, investments, and have cash flow implications.


Table 1 provides a scorecard that can be used to evaluate your qualification and readiness. This can be an effective tool in assessing your readiness and to proceed and timing, particularly when there may be competing priorities and requirements for people, and budget. Note that this is not exhaustive, nor will every attribute apply to your specific situation.


Table 1 – Qualification and Readiness Assessment
* Values for score, weight, and total to be completed as applicable to your business.






Managed Service Practice Business Plan




Creating a managed service practice is one your firm’s top 3 business priorities




Your firm has allocated an executive sponsor to the development of a managed services practice




Your firm has allocated sales, delivery, support, and marketing resources to this initiative




Your firm has allocated budget to the development of a managed services practice




It is expected that new managed service capabilities would be consumed by more than 25% of your installed base of customers over time




It is expected that new managed service capabilities would enable your firm to reach new customers and expand markets




Your firm’s current services’ mix is greater than 20% of your overall revenues




Managed Service Offers




Your firm has established managed services capabilities (not yet Cisco Meraki focused)




Your firm has existing, defined, and differentiated managed service offers




Your firm has a management platform to support your managed service offers




Your firm has existing managed services customers




Your firm has dedicated resources supporting your managed services




Service Desk




Your firm has a service desk in place




Your firm has defined service desk processes




Your firm currently manages moves, adds, and changes (MACs) for your end-customers




Your firm offers helpdesk services for your end-customers




Your firm maintains ITIL Foundation certification




Your firm has dedicated resources supporting service desk functions





ACTION PLAN: Chapter 1



Chapter Two: Securing Executive Commitment


Chapter Objective

Provide specific requirements for establishing executive and functional leadership sponsorship, as well as initiative accountability when launching a Meraki managed services practice.



Your executive team (CEO, COO, CTO, CMO, CRO, CFO, or those business leaders that can commit and prioritize this initiative and allocate the required resources).



A decision that developing Meraki managed service capabilities (or launching new Meraki powered services) is one of your firm’s top 3 initiatives.


Key Questions to Evaluate Need

  1. Has your firm assigned an executive sponsor, if so, who?
  2. Does your assigned executive sponsor have profit / loss responsibility over the development of new managed service capabilities?
  3. Does your executive sponsor have the authority to commit and allocate resources from across all required areas of the business to this managed service initiative?
  4. Does your executive sponsor have the authority to drive the required business and transformational change throughout the organization?
  5. Does your executive sponsor have management objectives (MBOs) or objectives and key results (OKRs) tied to the success of this initiative?


Context For most VAR/SI partners, the development of new managed services capabilities can be significant, if not transformational. New managed service offerings can and should extend into managed break/fix, moves, adds, and changes (MACs), vendor and asset management, bundled hosted services, and even adjacent, or complementary, business services. Executive sponsorship, commitment, and priority will be critical your firm’s ability to execute the following essential managed service practice elements:


  • Creation of new managed service offerings, including:
    • IT infrastructure, such as Meraki Security, SD-WAN, and WLAN
    • Bundled services, such as the above infrastructure bundled with Internet access or other 3rd party hosted solutions
    • Business services, such as a point of sale solution that has an infrastructure component embedded as part of a larger solution

Note that the delivery of new managed services will be unlike those of other solutions you may currently resell. The service itself is how you will differentiate from your competitors. Chapter 4, Agile Service Creation, will go into detail on creating impactful services.


  • Development of a network operations center (NOC), a centralized location where your technical resources can perform remote provisioning, monitoring, and management (RMM) of the managed services you will offer. Effective NOCs will require investments in:
    • Management platforms
    • Tools
    • Process development
    • People

  • Development of a service desk whose primary purpose will be to provide a single point of contact for both users and IT staff. Whereas a NOC focuses on the actual delivery of managed services, the service desk will coordinate the communications to all key stakeholders, including the receipt of customer requests, reported problems, change management, SLA management, and resolution. While separate functions and responsibilities, many VAR/SIs combine these efforts when initially launching new managed services until it makes business sense to separate them.

  • Evolution of a customer engagement framework that ensures your sales and delivery associates engage with the right customer roles, at the right levels, on the right topic(s), and at the right times to generate new sales opportunities for your new managed services offerings. Your new services should not be considered as an ‘attach’ – they should be the ‘lead’ offering, especially if they are part of a bundled business service or an infrastructure as a service offering. Your new managed services and overall customer engagement framework will define the experiences of your customers when doing business with your firm. Combined, they will become key differentiators in the marketplace, and will provide contrast on what separates you from your competition.


Given the magnitude of developing these new capabilities, the full alignment and commitment of your senior executive leadership is recommended to:


  • Demonstrate the strategic significance of this initiative within your firm, to business partners such as Meraki, and to end customers
  • Provide clarity over competing priorities and initiatives
  • Create accountability for execution, not only in terms of your managed services practice development, but in terms of your sales behaviors as you take your new services to market


It is recommended you choose an executive sponsor who:


  • Is a senior leader with profit/loss responsibility
  • Has the authority to commit and allocate the necessary resources
  • Has MBOs/OKRs tied to ensuring successful launch and execution of your new managed service offerings

Building a new managed service practice and taking your new offers to market requires participation and contribution across your business, including, but not limited to, marketing, sales, professional services, and support. The commitment of your extended leadership team to ensure operational execution and performance is key to your success. Specific MBOs/OKRs should be aligned to your executive sponsor and tied to each resource needed for the development of your new managed service capabilities. Each future chapter of this document will outline key tasks and activities these resources must perform to fully develop, sell, and deliver your new Meraki managed service offerings.


The following are recommended leadership team and core stakeholder role descriptions:

  • Managed Services Leader (or Product Manager): Will initially oversee and have accountability for the overall development of the managed service practice or new capabilities and offers. This includes the development of your managed service business plan and financial objectives, as well as obtaining commitment from your functional leadership teams, such as marketing, sales, delivery, and support. This role should also have accountability for overseeing new managed services offer development, ensuring overall delivery and operational readiness, and driving business development for new managed service offerings.

  • Project Manager (PM): Will ensure that the development of the managed service practice are kept on track, resources are assigned, tasks are managed against a mutually committed timeline, and risks are mitigated, as possible. It is recommended that the PM should be accountable to and have the full support of the sponsoring executive leader.

  • Marketing Leadership: Marketing should assess customer needs and propensity to buy new managed service offerings by analyzing your installed base of customers to determine market demand and requirements. Additionally, your marketing team will be responsible for:
    • Developing customer value propositions and positioning your new managed service offers to address key customer business and IT requirements, while also delivering clear business outcomes
    • Developing your marketing and business development strategy for the new managed service offers
    • Creating marketing collateral and awareness that support your new managed service offers

  • Sales Leader: Your sales team will play a critical role in developing customer opportunities for your new managed service offers. Sales leadership may be required to evolve your sales organization, skills, customer engagement methodology, and sales compensation to successfully take your new managed services to market.

  • Delivery Leader: The role of service delivery will dramatically change when offering managed services. As more services are provisioned in the Cloud, traditional implementation of professional services may no longer be required – nor require the same level of skills to deliver. Delivery leadership will be responsible for evaluating delivery requirements of your new managed service model, identifying required skills, roles, capacity, and developing a plan to evolve your delivery resources and methodologies accordingly. It is possible that some current delivery team resources will be allocated to developing your NOC and service desk, which will become critical to support your new managed service offerings.

  • Support Leader: Support leadership, which may oversee maintenance services and/or customer helpdesk services, will have responsibility for evolving current day-to-day support models to align to your new managed services portfolio. As with delivery, your support leadership will need to evaluate future requirements and develop a plan to evolve your support organization.

  • Business Operations Leader: This leader will ensure that operational processes required to order, deliver, manage, and bill for your new managed service offerings are in place. This includes the establishment of processes for customer order management, customer billing and NOC and service management platforms required to provision and deliver your new managed services. Where appropriate, business operations will establish processes to manage third-party relationships that may be required as part of your evolving managed services portfolio.


Utilize the table below to identify your Meraki managed services practice development team.


Table 2 – Securing Executive Commitment


Name / Owner

Executive Sponsor


Managed Services Leader or Product Manager


Marketing Leader


Sales Leader


Delivery Leader


Support Leader


Business Operations Leader


Meraki Alliance Leader



ACTION PLAN: Chapter 2



1“Gartner Forecasts Worldwide Public Cloud Revenue to Grow 17.3 Percent in 2019”, Gartner Press Release, September 12, 2018.

2“Managed Network Services Market worth 59.38 Billion USD by 2021”, Markets and Markets Press Release, February 2017.

Comes here often

Reading it with full attention! Smiley Very Happy


As for the Qualification and Readiness Assessment we have reviewed an applicable way to apply a scoring that fits our company. Is there someone from Meraki or in the community who can give me an example for an appropriate weight evaluation? I am thinking of weighing in terms of percentage measurements or something similar? I would love to hear your guys' experience.


The biggest barrier to "Meraki as a Service" is licensing.  If I'm delivering Meraki as a service then I own the assets (hardware and licensing) and I need the flexibility to deploy those assets wherever they are needed.  Meraki's current licensing model ties the license to a specific end user and does not allow me to transfer the license.  That doesn't work for "as a Service" provisioning.


Hardware can be moved between organizations.  Let me do the same thing with licenses. Perhaps offer a "service provider" license that is portable.


We're really trying to push more Meraki into our market and "As A Service" would let us do more but I can't do that without license flexibility.



A model citizen

Absolutely... the licensing model does not fit well with "as a service" offerings.  We need to be able to transfer between orgs as well as procure licensing on a Month to Month basis.

Community Manager

Hi @rangermann@Sequoya_Tom, and @lpopejoy -


Thank you for your comments above. The best place for discussion about such issues is the MSP Forum here on the Meraki Community. Please re-post over there.



How to use this site
  • Use the resources on this page to answer any questions and guide you through the creation process of launching your Meraki managed service.
  • To receive notifications for new content, go to the Options menu (above) and select Subscribe.
  • If you find a resource helpful, give it kudos! (The little green arrow below each post: )
  • Please ask any general MSP-related questions in the MSP forum.
Additional resources