In our first installment of the “We’re Listening” blog series, Brian Jeffries details Cisco’s aggressive changes to our overall process for software licensing. Brian is Vice President of Sales Operations, and leads a Cisco-wide initiative focused on simplifying our customers’ software licensing experience.
By Guest Contributor Brian Jeffries
We’ve heard you- our customers and partners- loud and clear on software licensing: you want a better Cisco software experience, from the time you request a quote to the time you activate your software. I’m happy to tell you that a better experience is coming, and you will start to see many improvements within the next few months.
We launched the Cisco Software Simplification initiative in March of this year to aggressively address our software lifecycle from end-to-end, including licensing, in order to provide you with a vastly simplified and consistent software experience.
As part of the Simplification initiative, our first step was to establish a standardized approach for licensing across all software products at Cisco. This new, contractual licensing approach will make it easier for you to get access to the software you’ve purchased, while providing a shared, accurate view of your software assets, so that you can manage your software versions and licenses more efficiently. We’ve also included many of the features you’ve been asking for, such as license pooling, simpler product registration and entitlement transfers, and a single software asset manager that will track all Cisco software usage within your network.
Many of you have already heard us talk about this new licensing approach, in presentations to our Enterprise Technical Advisory Board, Partner Operations Advisory Board, Partner Technical Advisory Board, Cisco Live! and in smaller focus groups. Your positive feedback tells us we’re going in the right direction, while your suggestions have helped us make adjustments where needed. We’ll continue to keep you actively involved as we move forward to ensure that our solution meets your needs.
In addition to standardizing our licensing, we are making significant improvements to our software management tools, including:
- Product Upgrade Tool (PUT) and Software eDelivery: Where customers and partners under contract with Cisco can retrieve production upgrade software.
- Software Infrastructure and Fulfillment Technology (SWIFT) for product registrations – License Administration Portal: Designed to support customer license transactions such as fulfillment of software licenses using Product Activation Keys (PAKs), license transfers, license information lookup and license resends.
- Software Delivery System (SDS): Self-service access to patches, fixes, updates and upgrades.
- eDelivery Tool (requires special access – learn more about eDelivery here)
So what can you expect to see? Over the next year, we’ll make the following improvements:
- Summer 2012: Release of Collaboration 9.0 licensing, which will be available for the following products: Cisco Unified Communications Manager including IM and Presence capability, Cisco Unity Connection, and Hosted Collaboration Solution (HCS).
- Fall 2012: Significant improvements in system capabilities with feature updates, increased personalization, and better performance
- Fall 2012: By this time, over 700 additional software products will be available for order through the eDelivery portal
- Spring 2013: Cisco Account Managers can provide customers immediate assistance with Collaboration products through our internal licensing escalation desk. This desk is currently operating in the US and Canada, with plans to expand to Latin America and Asia by spring of 2013. We will gather data from our licensing escalation desk cases to ensure we proactively resolve problems before releasing new products.
- Summer 2013: Roll-out of additional products aligned with the standard licensing approach
- Summer 2013: Completion of one software management portal where you can access all software management tools in one location
It will take time to fully implement all the changes we have planned, but we are committed to hitting these targets, and we promise to keep you actively engaged throughout the process.
To give feedback or for more information, please send an e-mail to firstname.lastname@example.org.