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Understand Cisco's Enterprise Agreement for Software

Explore the potential benefits and savings of Cisco's transformative EA.

  • You’ve bought Cisco gear for years, and that included a software component. Now Cisco has decoupled the software from the hardware, and you need to figure out what software licenses are required and how many.
  • You don’t really know what Cisco gear you own, what has ongoing software maintenance, and what is covered under your SmartNet contracts.
  • You and your team need to fully understand the Cisco One Enterprise Agreement and enrollment structure to be able to maximize any benefits and cost savings of the program.
  • You need to understand how the new software portal works for managing and provisioning the software and who should have access to it.
  • You are uncertain of the risks, costs, and benefits involved if you migrate to the new software agreement.

Our Advice

Critical Insight

  • Focus on what’s best for you. A new software license agreement can have several benefits and potential cost savings, but on the other hand, it can mean uncertainty and loss of perpetual licenses. CapEx vs. OpEx has different appeal for different organizations. Disruptive change to IT departments can have both positive and sometimes negative results, depending on how it is implemented.
  • Educate yourself. Learn and understand the how the Cisco EA works, the enrollment structure, the value of software suites, the minimum spend requirements, the benefits of redeploying software, and the time saved with the management portal. Are you ready to give up your perpetual license position to gain the OpEx advantage?
  • Consider the overall picture. The Cisco EA has several modern licensing benefits and potential savings. However, reviewing your options in the ELA and choosing wisely within enrollments and support requirements will ultimately govern your ROI. Also consider the timing: Are you near a hardware refresh or SmartNet renewal? Is software compliance a challenge or concern to the organization?

Impact and Result

  • Understand how the Cisco EA works, its structure, and the potential benefits and savings.
  • A summary inventory of your Cisco infrastructure, both hardware and software.
  • Knowledge to decide on the value and savings of transitioning to a EA
  • How to effectively work with Cisco and their partners to secure a right-sized and right-priced software agreement that is the best for your organization.

Understand Cisco's Enterprise Agreement for Software Research & Tools

Understand Cisco’s Enterprise Agreement for Software Executive Brief – Read this Executive Brief to better understand the challenges IT leaders are facing as Cisco moves to a subscription based software agreement

Read our concise Executive Brief to find out how Cisco’s software agreement works, it’s benefits short and long term, cost savings and compliance. Learn how the channel works and how to negotiate the best deal for your organization.

1. Understand Cisco’s Enterprise Agreement for Software Phases 1-4 – This project will provide you with the overview and best practices when considering the Cisco Enterprise Agreement for software.

Use the blueprint to gain a complete Understanding of the Cisco ELA Structure, enrollment components and support options.


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Ted has a great grasp on the nuances of the Cisco ELA and EA models. His specific insights and questions to help us further understand and clarify... Read More


Understand Cisco's Enterprise Agreement for Software

Explore the potential benefits and savings of Cisco's transformative EA.

Understand Cisco's Enterprise Agreement for Software

Before you jump into an EA, learn the pros and cons of Cisco's EA and make an informed decision.

EXECUTIVE BRIEF

Analyst Perspective

Explore the secrets of Cisco's Enterprise Agreement (EA)

Back in 2015, when Cisco created its enterprise license agreement (ELA) program and decoupled their software from the traditional model of software embedded in the hardware purchase, it became a disruptive wave among their client and partner base. It provided simplicity to Cisco software-purchasing and at the same time created a lot of confusion for customers.

While they introduced several unique features and benefits that make a compelling case for customers to seriously consider adopting the new model, most were reluctant to embrace it in the early stages. As with most big changes that are introduced to the IT industry, customers were hesitant to adopt the new subscription licensing model until they fully understood the benefits and associated costs.

Now that the program is more mature and Cisco continues to add value to the Cisco EA, it has evolved into a licensing program that organizations should give serious thought to as they review both their Cisco infrastructure and hardware replacements or upgrades.

This is a picture of Ted Walker, Principal Research Advisor, Vendor Management, with Info-Tech Research Group

Ted Walker
Principal Research Advisor, Vendor Management
Info-Tech Research Group

Executive Summary

Your challenge

  • CIOs, IT directors, and network managers struggle to manage complex hybrid IT environments.
  • You're looking for hardware and software providers with license agreements that are flexible, easy to understand, and can accommodate your needs as they change over time.
  • It's always difficult to know what software you own and where it is deployed.

Common obstacles

  • The problem with most software subscription licensing is that it can be complex and is typically difficult to understand and manage.
  • Traditionally, an enterprise license agreement (ELA) was supposed to help companies simplify license management. But the expansion of software licensing models has created more challenges to license management.
  • Understanding required support can be complex and could be an area to consider for savings.

Info-Tech's approach

  • Take a holistic approach when considering a Cisco EA:
  • Figure out what software and hardware you currently own.
  • Understand how the ELA structure is built.
  • Align your existing software and hardware to the enrollments.
  • Understand the benefits of Cisco's new portal.
  • Cisco's new software EA provides a complete change in the way Cisco has traditionally sold their software. For most, there are savings and benefits to be had.

Info-Tech Insight

When we look at major IT vendors, Cisco is fairly new to the enterprise software agreement arena. They have taken a novel approach to enrollment coverage and subscription license model that should produce savings over time. However, be aware that the program is still too young to prove long-term savings that Cisco positions in their ROI models.

Your Challenge

Since CIOs, IT directors, and network managers struggle to manage complex hybrid IT environments, they are looking for hardware and software providers with flexible license agreements.

  1. You've bought Cisco gear for years that included a software component. Now, Cisco has decoupled the software from the hardware, and you need to figure out what software licenses are required and how many.
  2. You don't really know what Cisco gear you own, what has ongoing software maintenance, and what coverage is available under your SmartNet contracts.
  3. You and your team need to fully understand the Cisco One Enterprise Agreement and enrollment structure to be able to maximize any benefits and cost savings of the program.
  4. You need to understand how to navigate the new software portal to manage and provision the software and determine who should have access to it.
  5. You need to ask if there are really any savings by moving to a software EA and what the benefits of a software EA are over your status-quo approach.

Expected hardware and software savings over point solutions: 20%

Source: Cisco ROI Tool

Common Obstacles

Cisco's goal with its new software EA is to make the end-to-end process simpler, more efficient, and easier to manage.

  • The problem with most software subscription licensing programs is that they can be complex – difficult to understand and to manage.
  • Traditionally, an enterprise license agreement (ELA) was supposed to help companies simplify licensing management. But the growth of software providers has created complex challenges for license management.
  • Understanding the various levels of support available can be complex and could be an area to consider for cost savings.
  • Validating the potential benefits and savings of a new ELA program can be difficult when projecting the ROI.

One source projects an 85% savings in the time spent each week on mundane administrative tasks for Cisco licensing:

40

Hours spent on licensing tasks before the new Cisco EA.

5

Hours spent on licensing tasks after the Cisco EA.

Source: Kaufman, Aviv, and Bob Laliberte, "Analyzing the Economic Benefits of the Cisco Enterprise Agreement"

Info-Tech's Approach

Explore the secrets of Cisco's Enterprise SW agreement.

  1. Organize your existing hardware and software positions.
  2. Evaluate and understand the Cisco EA model.
  3. Establish your licensing requirements.
  4. Purchase and manage portal access and governance.

The Info-Tech Difference:

  1. Figure out what Cisco hardware and software you own.
  2. Understand the short- and long-term savings and benefits associated with the new Cisco EA subscription model.
  3. Learn how the ELA is structured to align with the various Cisco product lines.
  4. Leverage the Cisco Portal to securely manage, provision, and procure your Cisco software to maximize the cost savings and benefits of the Cisco EA.

Info-Tech's methodology for exploring the secrets of Cisco EA

1. Organize 2. Evaluate 3. Establish 4. Purchase & Manage

Phase Steps

1.1. Find out what you own

1.2. Collect your current Cisco agreement and renewal details

1.3. Activity: Assess your current Cisco inventory

2.1. Understand the new agreement structure

2.2. Review the enrollments and suites

2.3. To suite or not to suite?

2.4. Review minimums and potential savings over three to five years

3.1. Map out your current position to the new enrollment structure

3.2. Activity: license mapping

3.3. Establish your basic license requirements

3.4. Choose and map your SWSS options for each enrollment (including activity)

4.1. Understand how Cisco goes to market in the channel

4.2. Negotiate an EA package for your current and short-term needs

4.3. Implement management policy and governance for the Cisco EA Workspace portal

Phase Outcomes

  • A summary/inventory of your Cisco hardware and related software
  • A summary of your existing Cisco agreements and SmartNet commitments
  • A full understanding of the Cisco EA enrollment structure
  • An overview of each enrollment option, as well as the plans and suites within
  • Support options
  • A basic roadmap of the transition from your current Cisco software to the Cisco EA model
  • Maintenance and support choices
  • A clear understanding of how the EA channel works
  • EA management portal benefits and best practices for those using it

Insight Summary

Save time and money.

The new Cisco EA has several benefits and can save you time and money, whether you are managing several enterprise Cisco agreements and maintenance contracts or just a few departmental agreements.

Understand what you own.

A better understanding of what you currently own will translate into more effective management and savings in the new EA structure.

Understand Cisco's EA.

Fully understanding how the Cisco EA works with enrollments and advanced support options will ultimately save you time in transition and in the future as you manage your EA.

Discover the savings potential.

The larger your Cisco footprint, the greater your potential savings will be with the Cisco EA.

Don't miss out.

If you delay the move to the new ELA, you could be missing out on several cost saving benefits.

Review for each enrollment.

The total cost of annual support and maintenance for software and hardware could increase in the new EA model; review and choose the required support for each enrollment.

Use the portal to save long-term.

Controlled access and policies in the portal will ensure long-term savings by reprovisioning licenses and controlling compliance.

Blueprint Deliverables

Each step of this blueprint is accompanied by supporting deliverables to help you accomplish your goals.

Understand Cisco's Enterprise Agreement for Software

A screenshot of the Deliverable: Understand Cisco's Enterprise Agreement for Software is shown.

Cisco Inventory Workbook

A listing of your Cisco infrastructure assets and software

A screenshot of the Deliverable: Cisco Inventory Workbook is shown.

Key Deliverable:

Cisco Inventory Workbook

A workbook containing your Cisco infrastructure assets that are aligned to the ELA enrollment model and support choices.

Two screenshots from the Key Deliverable: Cisco Inventory Workbook are shown.

Blueprint Benefits

IT benefits

  • A full understanding of the licensing agreement and enrollment structure of Cisco EA.
  • Potential cost savings by leveraging the enrollment programs and suites.
  • Compliance with all managed Cisco software.
  • Discover the advantages of a single portal to deploy and manage all Cisco software and licenses.
  • Vendor compliance and corporate governance to manage all your Cisco software.

Business benefits

  • Ability to expand and use additional Cisco solutions within the business.
  • Flexibility to grow your deployments as required without fear of non-compliance.
  • Time savings (possibly 80%) in performing mundane licensing admin tasks.
  • Predictable annual pricing for all your Cisco software.
  • Measurable cost savings over the term of the agreement.

Measure the value of this blueprint

Money saved

  • Save what you might have spent on an oversized ELA
  • Savings from choosing the right support option
  • Savings over the previous CapEx model vs. the new OpEx subscription licensing model
  • Overall dollars spent with Cisco
  • Negotiated ELA with discounted long-term pricing

Knowledge gained

  • How the Cisco ELA structure works
  • How to maximize enrollment savings with suites
  • Best practices in managing your Cisco software within the workspace portal
  • An inventory of your Cisco assets
  • How the Cisco channel works and how to benefit from it

Time saved

  • Learning on your own how the Cisco EA works
  • Hours spent on licensing tasks after signing the Cisco EA
  • Managing your license and software deployments
  • Security management and efficiencies
  • Co-terminated subscriptions
  • Cisco software inventory and compliance

Info-Tech Insight

The new Cisco Enterprise Agreement has several benefits and can save you time and money, whether you are managing a large enterprise Cisco infrastructure with maintenance contracts or a mid-sized organization looking to consolidate and manage your Cisco software. Success will be based on your comprehensive understanding of ELA purchasing.

Understanding Cisco's Enterprise Agreement for Software

Blueprint Objectives

  • Understand the changes to Cisco's EA and the impact of Cisco moving to a subscription-software-only EA.
  • Learn about how Cisco has decoupled the software from the traditional hardware purchase and how the EA is set up with enrollments to cover your different Cisco infrastructure and software requirements.
  • Be able to leverage this new EA and enrollment model to license your requirements and realize the savings that are available in the new program.
  • Discover how to manage this new program through Cisco's intuitive portal once you plan your agreement requirements. You will need to have corporate governance that will manage, deploy, renew, and reprovision all your Cisco software. This way, you can ensure compliance and cost savings and minimize the time spent on the day-to-day management of your Cisco software infrastructure.
  • Learn how Cisco goes to market in the sales channel, with tips and tricks to help get the best deal.
  • Understand what to look for in the Cisco EA. As with all new enterprise agreements, there are new terms and conditions to learn.

Explore your unrealized efficiencies

70%

Expected improvement in your security operational efficiency by leveraging the features of the Cisco Workspace Portal.

Source: Cisco ROI Tool

20%

Expected IT security productivity gains.

Source: Cisco ROI Tool

Most enterprise software agreements come with "soft" benefits that are not always measurable up front.

Info-Tech Insight

Sometimes the "soft" benefits of a software agreement are not so obvious.

For the first time in company history, Vivint Solar has true, unified communications.

Case Study

For the first time in company history, Vivint Solar has true, unified communications.

INDUSTRY: Energy & Utilities
SOURCE: Cisco

Challenges

  • Had a team of 18 managing a piecemeal solution of eight vendors for their collaboration needs
  • Continuous outages, performance issues, and lack of follow-through on roadmap promises
  • Needed to allow all employees to work from home quickly

Solution

Results

  • True, unified collaboration through one vendor – Cisco
  • Drastically reduced headcount of infrastructure management from 18 to one
  • Increased ROI by taking technologies to the cloud
  • Enabled remote work for all employees

Info-Tech offers various levels of support to best suit your needs

DIY Toolkit

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Consulting

"Our team does not have the time or the knowledge to take this project on. We need assistance through the entirety of this project."

Diagnostics and consistent frameworks used throughout all four options

Guided Implementation

What does a typical GI on this topic look like?

Phase 1 Phase 2 Phase 3 Phase 4

Call #1:
Scope requirements, objectives, and your specific challenges.

Call #2:
Gather and assess current Cisco inventory assets.

Call #4:
Review Cisco EA's enrollment structure, suites, and support options.

Call #6:
Discuss purchasing options and portal management.

Call #3:
Review your Cisco Inventory Workbook.

Call #5:
Map current inventory to the enrollments and choose support levels.

Call #7:
Review basic agreement terms, discuss negotiation strategy.

A Guided Implementation (GI) is a series of calls with an Info-Tech analyst to help implement our best practices in your organization.

A typical GI includes 6 to 7 calls over the course of 4 to 6 weeks.

A review of then and now

Cisco EA is now a separate agreement that allows you to consolidate and purchase all your Cisco software needs.

Then

In the past, Cisco software was bundled with the hardware purchase and expired when the hardware was upgraded or replaced. It could be upgraded via support.

There were several disadvantages to this model:

  • Organizations had to rebuy licenses when hardware was replaced.
  • It was difficult to manage and understand what software was owned with what version.

Now

Cisco has now decoupled the software from the hardware, and it can be purchased separately in a subscription or on-premises model through a software enterprise agreement. The software is put into an EA enrollment depending on the part of your infrastructure that is being deployed. This new EA has several benefits over the legacy process.

Key components of the Cisco Enterprise Agreement include:

  • A standardized three- or five-year contract for Cisco Infrastructure Software EA, security, and/or collaboration suites.
  • The ability to pay upfront or spread payments out.
  • A 20% growth allowance for security & collaboration enrollments.
  • Annual "true forward" billing.
  • Access to manage the software in the Cisco EA Workspace Portal.
  • Complete, cross-organizational software coverage.
  • License portability across cloud, virtual, and on-premises platforms.
  • The ability to reduce complexities and minimize the time spent performing licensing-related tasks.
  • Software support service (SWSS) that includes 24x7x365 TAC support, major software upgrades and updates, and license portability.

Four phases of understanding and implementing Cisco EA

  1. Organize your existing hardware and software positions.
  2. Evaluate and understand the Cisco EA model.
  3. Establish your licensing requirements.
  4. Purchase and manage portal access and governance.

Phase 1: Organize Your Existing Hardware and Software Positions

Phase 1 involves the following steps:

1.1. Find out what you own

1.2. Collect your current Cisco agreement and renewal details

1.3. Activity: Assess your current Cisco inventory

1.1 Find out what you own

Step 1.1 involves understanding your current Cisco hardware and software positions, providing reseller authorization to obtain reports, collecting ITAM inventory, finding current agreements and renewals dates, etc.

  1. First, you need to gather and organize what Cisco products you have and list them in the "Worksheet" tab in the Cisco Inventory Workbook tool.
  2. Collect your current agreement and renewal details.
  3. As you begin to consider the move to Cisco EA, it is vital to understand what Cisco hardware you have and what software is included or embedded with it, as well as how it is being paid for.
  4. You need to know what SmartNet contracts are in place, what they cover, and when they expire.
  5. Some Cisco software you use could be on Software SmartNet only (such as Webex or Jabber, Server OS, and applications).

Download Info-Tech's Cisco Inventory Workbook tool

About Info-Tech

Info-Tech Research Group is the world’s fastest-growing information technology research and advisory company, proudly serving over 30,000 IT professionals.

We produce unbiased and highly relevant research to help CIOs and IT leaders make strategic, timely, and well-informed decisions. We partner closely with IT teams to provide everything they need, from actionable tools to analyst guidance, ensuring they deliver measurable results for their organizations.

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$2,107
Average $ Saved

10
Average Days Saved

After each Info-Tech experience, we ask our members to quantify the real-time savings, monetary impact, and project improvements our research helped them achieve.

Read what our members are saying

What Is a Blueprint?

A blueprint is designed to be a roadmap, containing a methodology and the tools and templates you need to solve your IT problems.

Each blueprint can be accompanied by a Guided Implementation that provides you access to our world-class analysts to help you get through the project.

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Guided Implementation 1: Organize
  • Call 1: Scope requirements, objectives, and your specific challenges.

Guided Implementation 2: Evaluate
  • Call 1: Gather and assess current Cisco inventory assets.
  • Call 2: Review Cisco Inventory Workbook.

Guided Implementation 3: Establish
  • Call 1: Review Cisco EA’s enrollment structure, suites, and support options.
  • Call 2: Map current inventory to the enrollments and choose support levels.

Guided Implementation 4: Purchase and manage
  • Call 1: Discuss purchasing options and portal management.
  • Call 2: Review basic agreement terms, discuss negotiation strategy.

Author

Ted Walker

Contributors

Josh Mori, Research Director, Info-Tech Research Group

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