This article was written and contributed by Nicola Lumsdon, Software Sales Leader, Cisco

With businesses relying on software applications for efficiency and no single app solution available, many are using multiple (10-20) SaaS applications. It is no wonder organisations are frequently unable to effectively manage and utilise their subscriptions. This often leads to dissatisfaction, reduced renewals and difficulty meeting evolving needs. 

Service providers are already delivering the network for these applications, and are uniquely positioned to get ahead of this challenge by helping their customers to consolidate their licences into one, manageable, Enterprise Agreement (EA). While also providing new services into their customers, such as adoption and lifecycle services, therefore driving more opportunity and increased customer loyalty.

In this article, we'll explore the evolution of software licenses and how Service Providers can align their EA offering to support businesses to drive cost savings, optimise operations and facilitate technology transformation.

Evolution of Software and the Need for Efficient Management:

The software landscape has witnessed tremendous growth and complexity over the years. Cisco recognised this early on, subsequently introducing the Cisco Enterprise Agreement (EA) as a comprehensive solution. Since its introduction in 2015, almost 100% of Cisco's software subscription service can now be transacted via EAs, and they have a targeted compound annual revenue growth rate of 5-7% through fiscal 2025 – demonstrating the rising popularity of this licensing solution. 

The reason for EAs' popularity is clear. As businesses increasingly rely on software solutions to power their operations, they face the challenge of managing multiple licenses, keeping up with renewals, and ensuring compliance. EAs are the solution - consolidating licenses under a single agreement so businesses gain better visibility and control over their software assets.

Alignment with Business Objectives and Customer Needs:

Effective software management is not just about licensing; it is about understanding the customer's business and IT environment in order to tailor solutions that address their specific needs. By utilising an EA to help customers streamline their requirements, Service Providers will be able to develop deeper insights into their customers' needs, helping to navigate meaningful conversations about infrastructure renewals, cost improvement programmes, migration initiatives and administrative efficiency whilst also improving product roadmaps and positioning more relevant cross-sell or upsell opportunities.

By delivering agreements that align with customer goals and objectives, Service Providers can secure their place as a trusted advisor whilst also expanding their revenue opportunities.

Driving Cost Savings and Optimisation:

Predictability in software expenses is essential for accurate planning and sustainable business growth. One of the significant advantages of EAs is their ability to provide better cash-flow visibility. Customers can budget for software expenses more effectively through a single procurement framework and with clearer visibility over spend, customers can more accurately plan business growth strategies. Additionally, Cisco's True Forward pricing model further enhances cost predictability, by measuring software consumption and including fees in the next True Forward event, thereby eliminating retroactive charges.

The avoidance of surprise charges makes EAs an attractive proposition for customers, but they can also more directly guarantee cost-savings over the course of a contract; evidence states that customers can receive up to 35% savings when looking at 5 year versus a 3 year EA – making using them an attractive financial strategy. 

Simplifying Technology Transformation and Scalable Growth:

As businesses grow and evolve, their software needs evolve with them. EAs provide the flexibility to accommodate organisational expansion through scalable licensing options. Research indicates that a significant number of customers who have implemented EAs – as many as 35% - add new technologies soon after closing the agreement demonstrating the account growth opportunity offering an EA can provide. 

Moreover, EAs play a crucial role in ensuring compliance - especially vital as software infrastructures become more complex. By introducing tools and resources, EAs facilitate stable budgeting and protect organisations from potential risks. Cisco's EA, for example, includes 'Not To Exceed' pricing, which guarantees a fixed price for software throughout the agreement's duration. This shields businesses from price increases and guarantees a lower total Cost of Ownership, even during periods of high growth – an attractive offering for many businesses struggling to manage escalating software costs.

Seizing the Opportunity and Building a Strong Partnership:

As complex software solutions grow in popularity, Cisco Enterprise Agreements (EAs) have emerged as a powerful tool for service providers to monopolise and unlock growth for their own businesses while benefiting their customers. From driving cost savings to simplifying technology transformation, fostering strong customer partnerships to enhancing spend visibility – EAs are an efficient way to access new capabilities.

Working with an expert partner like WWT, who has extensive experience and expertise in Cisco technologies and solutions, can further enhance the implementation and success of EAs and ensure a better outcome for service providers and their customers.  In fact, WWT manage over 750+ active EA contracts – which is over 80% of all of Cisco's EA contracts – and generate over $7.2 BN in Cisco EA and WPA revenue. 

As the chosen Cisco partner to help customers increase implementation, with an investment of over $18 mil in our EA+ infrastructure run by a team of close to 100 people, WWT's services are designed to help you choose the best licensing options for your needs and promote end-user adoption to drive strategic outcomes.

The future is here and now is the time to act. So, are you interested in transforming your software investment into a business strategy tool for success with Cisco EA's? 

Click here to find out more.