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Should you opt for a Cisco Enterprise Agreement to manage your software?

Enterprise Software | Posted on December 15, 2018 by Harry Nama

Cisco solutions represent a significant expenditure for most organizations. It is hardly surprising given that Cisco technologies power so much of today’s IT infrastructure – from networking and security, to the data center and collaboration. To help customers simplify their license management and increase the impact of their investments in software, Cisco has introduced a new agreement model, called the Cisco Enterprise Agreement (Cisco EA). Learn more how this option can give you multiple benefits through simplicityflexibility and cost savings.

The challenges of buying licenses ‘à la carte’

Managing the procurement of Cisco resources has never been easy – and it tends to create a lot of complexity for IT professionals. For one, if you are like most organizations, you tend to purchase devices and licensing as need arises. This could be replacing a switch or router, enabling a new feature set or outfitting a new employee with collaboration software. This ad hoc approach creates several challenges, including the need to keep track of individual licenses and multiple maintenance contracts, each with their own start and end dates.

Ad hoc purchasing has made it difficult to budget accurately, especially when pricing on the products you buy changes annually. This lack of predictability means organizations regularly spend time trying to consolidate maintenance contracts and negotiate better terms. Staying on top of licensing for Cisco, not to mention hundreds of other vendors, requires more time and resources than many organizations can spare.

Pricing and management headaches aside, there is perhaps a larger issue at stake, particularly when it comes to ensuring a good ROI on your Cisco investments. For one, many IT organizations lack the time and expertise to rationalize the technology they do deploy. This means they often end up with features they do not need or duplicate solutions that go unused – or so-called ‘shelfware’. This takes precious dollars away from funding new initiatives. With Cisco technologies constantly changing, IT professionals also struggle with adoption – whether it is getting the guidance to ensure the technology achieves a desired business outcome, or training end users to make good use of the provided tools.

As an IT leader, you need predictable, straightforward and more flexible ways to buy the Cisco software that powers your critical infrastructure. Most IT people could do without the management headaches. At the same time, you also need to rationalize your investments and ensure every dollar is moving your strategy forward and delivering value to your business. Can you afford not to reduce the cost of your Cisco infrastructure?

There’s a better way

Most organizations are unaware that Cisco offers a better way to purchase their software. The solution is a new and simple model called the Cisco Enterprise Agreement. Cisco has recognized that the traditional way of purchasing their software is more complicated than it needs to be. In the case of Microsoft, you would never buy desktop or server software one license at a time. Why should Cisco software be any different?

Continuing with the status quo means you will not get the pricing discounts or flexibility you deserve. Moreover, you certainly won’t get any extra help to simplify management, eliminate unnecessary investments and support IT staff and end users. In short, you are missing opportunities to maximize the ROI of every dollar spent on Cisco.

What does a Cisco Enterprise Agreement provide?

Choosing a Cisco Enterprise Agreement provides several advantages. A Cisco EA consolidates your Cisco software and minimizes the labor needed to manage existing assets. This alleviates worries about separate contracts and different support expiration dates. A unified agreement also enables you to spend more time focusing on valuable IT projects, instead of managing existing hardware & software.

The Cisco EA offers on-demand deployment, license portability and a choice between upfront and periodic payments. This yields the flexibility to deploy Cisco software as needed through a simple portal. With various purchasing models available, you can deploy new licenses with the click of a button while maintaining control over your environment.

The best reason to consider a Cisco EA comes down to savings. By taking advantage of “better together” pricing and upfront discounts, you net immediate cost savings and lock-in pricing for the term of your agreement. You also get a 20% growth allowance with no additional cost and no retroactive billing if you grow more than 20%. This makes it straightforward for you to control your Cisco budget as your needs evolve.

A Cisco EA can help you grow without worry, regain control of your software assets and maximize your ROI.

Increasing the impact of your Cisco Investments

However, there’s another aspect of ROI that shouldn’t be overlooked: end-user adoption. New features don’t matter if they’re not being used, or not being configured correctly. New technology investments increase technical support requests, which can be burdensome for any IT department. So how can you make sure your IT environment is fully supported?

By choosing the Cisco EA with a Cisco Lifecycle Advisor Partner, you can receive vouchers for services to optimize deployments and enable adoption. Not only will you be able to onboard your IT staff to support your infrastructure, but you will empower end users to maximize the value of your Cisco investments. Having been recently awarded Lifecycle/Software Partner of the Year by Cisco Canada, Softchoice can help you achieve such objective through these funded services, combined with expert guidance.

Next steps

This is just a brief overview of what a Cisco EA could do for your business. To learn more:

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