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Cisco's Move to the Software Market 

David Hasfurter, Senior Systems Engineer

It’s no secret, Cisco has been evolving into a software company. So much so, Chuck Robbins, the CEO of Cisco, has done several keynote presentations explaining Cisco’s plans  to evolve and tackle the software market. Even reporting that 11% of Cisco’s 2017 fiscal year was software dependent.

What once was Cisco Spark has now been rebranded to Cisco Webex Teams, a software centric platform, which seems to be just the beginning. While they’re still in the business of making network hardware, like the TelePresence line, they need to stay current by focusing more on software. 

The network fabric that powers business 

Just in the collaboration space alone, this transition to the software market has been evident. Between Webex Teams and other communication apps like Jabber, Webex meetings, and software like TelePresence Management Suite (TMS) - we see that Cisco is heavily investing in becoming more software focused. The move to software can also be tied to the new 9300 switch line with Digital Network Architecture (DNA).

The Cisco Catalyst 9300 Series switches are the next generation of enterprise-class stackable access-layer switches. Built for security, IoT, mobility, and cloud, this series of switches also form the foundational building blocks for SD-Access.

According to Cisco, “The Cisco DNA with SD-Access is the network fabric that powers business.” Going on to say, “It is an open and extensible, software-driven architecture that accelerates and simplifies your enterprise network operations.”

Cisco Collaboration Flex Plan

This next year will be no different with Cisco’s focus on driving up the software bottom line number. How will they be doing this exactly? Cisco is touting their new Enterprise Agreement, Cisco Collaboration Flex Plan, a subscription plan that combines on-premises and hosted collaboration in one user-based service.

How is Cisco getting people to make the switch? Enticing users with benefits that make sense. Within the Flex Plan, you receive 20% more growth, Webex licenses with audio, emergency responder, free TelePresence or cloud registrations all included in subscription at no cost. If you’re a current Call Manger customer with preputial licenses, then Cisco will give a one time buy back option on a signed 3 year contract.

An important note, because this Flex Plan is subscription based, customers will not own any licenses at the end of the 3 year minimum term.

What about BroadSoft?

The term Flex comes from the flexibility of Cisco’s offering. Users can utilize either a Cloud registration model, on-premise or a combination of both. This comes into play when a customer can decide if the cloud is the right next step and own an on-premise system. With other organizations, customers are not given this choice.

As for Cisco’s three billion dollar purchase of BroadSoft, there isn’t a clear plan on how the flex plan will be integrated. The ink still hasn’t dried but you should expect some other major announcements around the BroadSoft offering and how this fits into the Flex Plan.  

If you have any questions about the Cisco Collaboration Flex Plan and how it can benefit your company reach out to one of the TERACAI account managers today!