Organizations across the globe are increasingly harnessing the power of networks to fuel operations, serve clients, and achieve business outcomes. As they do so, they are employing the cloud, fortifying security defenses, creating valuable insights from vast amounts of data, automating tasks, creating great customer and employee experiences, and integrating gear from multiple vendors. In the process, they are also administering multiple software licenses, which can create operational challenges. Network management is not for the faint of heart. How can we simplify this for our customers?

Improving the software licensing experience is a common theme we hear from customers, and we’re making progress through Smart Software Licensing – like making product activation keys (PAKs) and license files more straightforward, freeing up license-to-device node-locking, and creating the flexibility to manage access and roles in group licenses. And, providing much greater real-time visibility into all software licenses and entitlements in a single location.

Kitty Cheeks manages our Customer Loyalty Survey Program and I’ve asked her to share customer feedback about Cisco’s Smart Software Licensing, and how you can take advantage of it as well.

Guest Author: Kitty Cheeks, Manager, Customer Listening

We recently talked to Verizon about their journey transitioning from Cisco’s legacy licensing model to Smart Software Licensing. While initially apprehensive to make the shift to the new model for fear of the unknown, Kris Pate, Principal of Verizon Enterprise Solutions finally embraced it. He’s now glad he did, and offered this testament:

“I had been dealing with Cisco licensing for many years, and while the old model worked, the lack of visibility was really painful. The move to Smart Software Licensing has been great, primarily because I can now give everyone on my team access to all of the licenses while I maintain all of the different privileges. Life is so much easier.” 

My team and I closely follow customer feedback captured through Cisco’s Customer Loyalty Survey Program. By asking the right questions and capturing sentiment, we identify positive and negative elements of our customers’ experiences that drive their level of loyalty. Then, using insights gathered, we collaborate with business groups across Cisco to identify opportunities to improve and strengthen customer relationships. Our goal is to have customers feel heard and close the loop so they learn how Cisco is applying their feedback.

On the issue of software licensing, survey results and customer comments were taking a downward turn – it was clear that there were multiple challenges and general confusion. Customers wanted simplification. Sharing that feedback with Cisco led to the development of Smart Software Licensing, which provides customers a better way to understand license ownership and consumption, plus a single location to view what licenses they own. And, most importantly, how licenses are being deployed within their networks.

We appreciate the input from Verizon and other customers whose candor helped us improve our software licensing approach and overall customer experience in this area. For more information, visit Cisco’s Smart Licensing Software Overview site for training, available products, roadmaps, and more. Got feedback? We’d love to hear it. Reach out to us at customer-listening@cisco.com.


Curt Hill

Senior Vice President

Customer Assurance