A lifecycle approach to Cisco’s latest licensing plan for collaboration technologies can help organizations realize the benefits of mixing cloud, UCaaS and on-prem deployments.

Cloud, UCaaS, on-prem. Over the years, organizations have struggled to find the right balance of collaboration deployment models. Historically, third-party integrations, security requirements and budgeting approaches influenced them to deploy on-prem. Now we see organizations looking at a cloud or hosted model as a true alternative to a traditional on-prem deployment. Unfortunately, many organizations find themselves stuck with on-prem perpetual licensing.

The importance of collaboration as part of organizations’ digital transformation strategies demands a flexible approach to licensing in which organizations can deploy different collaboration technologies in different ways based on their desired future states.

A flexible solution

Recognizing this need, Cisco has rolled out its Collaboration Flex Plan that gives purchasers the option of deploying any of the technologies under Flex on-prem, in the cloud or as a hosted solution.

One of the biggest benefits of Flex is that it enables hybrid cloud solutions. Another is that it alleviates customers from carrying unused licenses as Flex customers simply pay for what they need.  With Flex, organizations get the agility they need to scale collaboration deployments.

This comes at a critical time when IT teams are tasked with enabling workforce productivity to meet the digital needs of the business. Think next-generation meetings, social collaboration platforms for cross-functional teams and an omni-channel contact center. Now think about how difficult it would be to execute all three under one deployment model.

More than voice

One of the historical challenges of enterprise licensing has been the complexity of purchasing multiple workloads and different licensing models. Cisco has eliminated this complexity by allowing organizations to purchase their UC, Meetings and Contact Center workloads all within a Flex licensing model. This means a single contract for collaboration needs, flexible payment options — monthly, annual or upfront —licensing plans to fit business needs and growth, and future-proofing for when an organization is ready to move to a cloud service. Select your workloads — for instance UC, Meetings and Contact Center — choose your licensing plan, and pick your deployment methods. Simple.

Cisco Collaboration Flex Plan Workloads

Meetings

  • Cisco Webex Meetings
  • Cisco Meeting Server

Calling

  • Cisco Webex Calling or Cisco Broadsoft
  • Hosted (HCS)
  • Cisco Unified Communications Manager with Jabber

Contact Center

  • Customer Journey Platform
  • Hosted (HCS for Contact Center)
  • Cisco Contact Center (UCCX/UCCE/PCCE)

Team Collaboration

  • Cisco Webex Teams

Know before you go

While Flex is the licensing mechanism to deploy UC, Meetings, Contact Center and Team Collaboration, organizations still need to understand the pros and cons of the different purchasing and deployment options Flex allows them to access.

Software consultants with our Lifecycle Services Practice help organizations evaluate existing software purchasing processes in the context of IT and business needs to develop a software strategy that meets organizational goals.

For example, a software consultant can help an organization that historically only purchased CUWL licenses as needed to see Flex as more than simply a new way of buying CUWL. A software consultant can explore future plans for purchasing SRST and Emergency Responder and consider license management challenges to structure a Flex solution built specifically for an organization’s unique needs.

Test before you go

It’s important that Flex technologies fit seamlessly into an organization. The WWT Advanced Technology Center (ATC) is a collaborative ecosystem that enables organizations to see demonstrations of Flex technologies, use sandbox environments for training on Flex technologies, and safely prove out Flex solutions away from their production environments.

Customers evaluating a Collaboration Flex agreement can leverage the ATC to better understand Cisco UC Manager, Cisco Contact Center options and different Meeting deployments, as well as the pros and cons of many third-party integrations based on deployment methods — cloud, on-prem or hosted.  Customers can gain access to many of these testing capabilities through WWT’s on-demand Collaboration Labs where access can be granted in a matter of minutes. By using the ATC, organizations can accelerate their deployments of Flex technologies.

Plan before you go

Once an organization makes a Flex purchase, the WWT Integration Team conducts a kickoff in which we explore the operational impacts of changing licensing and deployment models. A customized integration plan covers all the critical operational components of Flex such as how to access and manage licenses in a Smart Account, how to deploy various software entitlements within Enterprise License Manager and even how to integrate an existing Webex environment with Control Hub.

A guided journey

While Flex gives organizations the options and customization they need to accelerate digital transformation, like any license, Flex has the potential to sit on the shelf and provide little value beyond initial cost savings.

To make sure organizations extract the full value from their Flex plan, our Engagement Services Team creates a comprehensive adoption services program to educate end-users and IT about how to use the latest features of Flex technologies. Customers have the same Engagement Services Team throughout the terms of their Flex plan for an accessible and helpful single point of contact for any Flex-related questions.

Customers who purchase a Flex licensing agreement from us know that they have the dedicated support to ensure their transition to Flex is positive, easy and business-impacting, every step of the way.

Let us help you build a licensing plan that enables your collaboration vision. Contact us to connect with one of our principal software consultants.

Joe Berger, director of WWT’s collaboration and EUC practices, contributed to this article.