Arraya Insights | June 19, 2019
Ever since its debut, Cisco’s Collaboration Flex Plan has been a hot topic of conversation between Arraya team members and our customers. Given the amount of chatter it has inspired, we decided to sit down with David Finnegan, an Enterprise Architect on our Collaboration team, in order to get his insights into Collaboration Flex Plan and the value it holds for customers.
Cisco Collaboration Flex Plan Q&A
Arraya Insights: What is Cisco’s Collaboration Flex Plan and how is it different from the way collaboration licensing works today?
David Finnegan: Flex is a single subscription that combines on-premises or cloud-based collaboration services into a single license. It allows customers to mix and match between cloud, premises, hosted and hybrid deployment options. Traditional UC licensing is a perpetual license model with a service contract for upgrades and support.
AI: Collaboration licensing can be complex enough already, will this add even more complexity to it?
DF: When organizations purchase Flex licensing as an Enterprise Agreement, it covers all of their needs. Simply determine the number of knowledge workers (users that use a phone and computer as part of their job). It includes everything else.
AI: It’s not just licensing that’s complex. Organizations rely on a variety of Cisco collaboration solutions. Can Collaboration Flex Plan meet the diverse needs of such user bases?
DF: Yes, Flex licensing covers Calling, Meetings, Teams and Call Center solutions. All of the collaboration products fall into one of those four options. Organizations have the choice of what to deploy and where to deploy it.
AI: Will Collaboration Flex Plan cover the Cisco tools customers are already using in their environment?
DF: Yes, Flex Calling licensing deployed on premises provides all of the tool/products that a company might already have deployed and possibly more that they have not yet utilized.
AI: Is it fair to assume that Collaboration Flex Plan is intended specifically for larger organizations, with a TON of end users?
DF: Calling and Meetings enterprise agreements both have different minimum thresholds for the number of knowledge workers. The calling EA is a minimum of 250 knowledge workers and the meeting EA is 40 knowledge workers or 15% of the total knowledge worker count. So, if you are below this threshold, you can start with a name user license.
AI: In general, technology budgets are stretched thin. Can Collaboration Flex Plan help rein in costs?
DF: When we quote Flex subscriptions, we often find that we can get more value for our customers or sometimes they even end up saving money.
AI: Organizational growth can be unpredictable. Would Collaboration Flex Plan be able to keep pace?
DF: Flex licensing enterprise agreements include a built-in 20% growth for total number of knowledge workers within your organization. If you happen to exceed that, first, congratulations on the awesome business growth. Next, we will update the contract to reflect the true number of users. From there, you get another 20% built-in.
AI: Some organizations aren’t prepared to go full-cloud quite yet. Does the Collaboration Flex Plan work for organizations that are part cloud, part on-prem? What about all on-prem?
DF: Nothing about Flex says you have to move to the cloud. Also, as a note, Cisco is not going to stop its investment and development in on premises communication systems.
AI: What happens when a new version of a solution is released? Will customers remain tied to the older version?
DF: Flex covers major and minor upgrades as well as TAC support just like your SWSS contract today. If you move to the cloud, upgrades happen automatically and those concerns become a thing of the past.
AI: Some organizations’ collaboration needs aren’t set in stone. If something changes, say I need to add calling to the mix, will Collaboration Flex Plan be able to change with me?
DF: Nothing to worry about here. Organizations can modify their contracts midterm to add additional services or change deployment location. It’s flexible, you might say.
Next Steps: Gain further insights into Cisco’s Collaboration Flex Plan
Our thanks to David for explaining the ins and outs of Collaboration Flex Plan. Still have questions? Please visit https://www.arrayasolutions.com/contact-us/. From there, you’ll connect to one of our Collaboration experts who will be able to provide even more insights into Collaboration Flex Plan and how it could impact your organization.
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