Cisco ELA 2.0 becomes Cisco EA: What this means for you

 In Software, Volume Licensing

The best technology companies stay in step with their customers’ needs, and for many, that means accommodating an increasingly software-heavy world.

For Cisco in particular, it means switching many services to a subscription model that’s simpler for its customers. The most recent change was the renaming of Cisco’s Enterprise Licensing Agreement (ELA) 2.0 to the new Cisco Enterprise Agreement (EA). The name change has no effect on the offering, but represents several organizational shifts that every Cisco customer—and potential customer—should know more about.

An easier way to license

Cisco EA offers a three- or five-year agreement that provides customers enterprise-wide coverage of security, collaboration, and Cisco ONE software suites. Unlike previous enterprise agreements, Cisco EA has a single agreement and term—only one set of papers for a company to review. Even if you only opt into one of the software suites, opting into another would not increase the amount of paperwork or prompt multiple anniversary dates. Everything is still handled by one set of papers, streamlining the process.

Another advantage of Cisco EA is the existence of a 20 percent growth allowance and True-Forward plan, which eliminates the practice of retroactive billing common in most true-up scenarios. With this plan, a company can grow up to 20 percent within its three- or five-year agreement term   without any additional cost. If your company grows over that 20 percent, the additional licenses are simply added in at the next anniversary date, and are billed as usual going forward.

Customers will still need to monitor their growth to avoid potentially unplanned cost increases, but the unique True-Forward arrangement takes some of the hassle out of the licensing process, allowing companies to focus on their growth without having to worry about the complexities of licensing.

Shifting to fit the industry

Cisco’s updated EA system is just one step in a larger, ongoing shift toward becoming a more software-centric company.

Introduced a few years ago, the Cisco ONE suite (now included as a part of Cisco EA) helped kick-start this transformation by making licenses available independent of each piece of hardware. Instead of buying on a feature-by-feature basis, companies can now prepare for consistent hardware refreshes without buying new licenses. Stemming from a desire to simplify the licensing process, Cisco ONE has made it easier for companies to manage their devices and services with Cisco.

Cisco has also taken plenty of steps in its networking practices, launching the “network of the future”just last month. It’s able to adapt and automate to best protect and efficiently work for the customer. It’s modular, programmable, and a better fit for the digital age.

In addition to these changing network offerings, Cisco has made a number of software-based acquisitions, including App Dynamics, an application performance management company, and Jasper Technologies, an IoT platform that allows companies to launch and manage IoT services. All of these changes reflect a more software-focused outlook for Cisco.

Better for Cisco, better for you

ELA 2.0 offered some incredible changes to Cisco licensing that greatly simplified the process for customers. Cisco EA is no different, but the rebranding is indicative of a larger shift from Cisco to a more software-oriented, subscription-based business. Its networking changes, software acquisitions, and changing business model all continue to prove this point.

From adjusting licensing to adopting the network of the future, each of Cisco’s continued changes will push the company, and its customers, forward.

Contact your SHI Account Executive for more information about Cisco’s software transformation or to discuss if the Cisco Enterprise Agreement is right for your organization.

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