Exploring the Cisco Flex Plan with Natilik
What you can expect from the Cisco Flex Plan
Flexibility and scalability are two components that many companies today are searching for when they’re trying to implement the best communications strategy for their business. In recent years, organisations of every size have begun to move away from the one-size-fits-all model for technology deployment, considering solutions like hybrid cloud communications and APIs instead.
The Cisco Flex Plan is a way for Cisco Partners and resellers to deliver the industry-leading collaboration systems offered by Cisco to today’s customers in a format that suits their unique needs. Cisco’s Collaboration Flex Plan not only supports transitions to the cloud, but it also helps end-users to build the unified communication and collaboration stack that’s right for them, through a customisable subscription model.
We spoke to Natilik, a specialist in communications, and award-winning Cisco Collaboration partner, to get the real scoop about the benefits that the Cisco Collaboration Flex Plan can offer.
What is the Cisco Flex Plan?
I spoke to Richard Godfrey, the Collaboration Director at Natilik, about the Cisco Flex Plan, which has been helping his company to deliver the best possible technology for each of their client’s individual needs. He told me that the Flex Plan is a single software subscription strategy that covers multiple service areas for an end-client, including access to all of Cisco’s on-prem Unified Communications software, Cisco WebEx Teams, and even meetings in the cloud.
“It’s a per month, per user model that allows end users to access the systems and services they need whenever and wherever they like. Cisco has predominantly had a lot of clients on-premises, but they’re trying to give those companies a simpler route to the cloud.”
“The Flex Plan means that users can migrate to the cloud at their own pace, implement their hybrid strategy, and enjoy state-of-the-art services without unnecessary complexity.”
Through Cisco’s Flex Plan, Natilik can help end users to create the platform that’s right for them, and they can unify disparate services on the same platform so that everything feels simple and connected. “In the past, you had to have multiple licenses to get the same kind of service. What the Flex Plan does is give companies the freedom to eliminate the complexities, mix and match the services they want, and have everything on one subscription model.”
What Are the Benefits of Cisco Flex Plan for Customers?
For a company like Natilik, the benefits of the Cisco Flex Plan are apparent. It allows Natilik to deliver the custom-made services that their consumers are looking for – giving them a fantastic point of differentiation in a crowded marketplace. However, there are benefits for the end-users too. Customers using Flex Plan can grow at their own pace, add services when they need them, and even choose the buying model that’s best-suited to their budget.
Richard told me that there are three buying models available through Flex right now.
Depending on the customer, they might have a calling requirement on-premises that they need all of their employees to have access to, for that, they would use the “Enterprise Agreement” model that provides access for every employee. On the other hand, they might be trying Meetings out for the first time, but they don’t know how much they need yet, so they use the “Active User” model to simply pay for the system as and when people use it (pay as you grow). Alternatively, they can use the “Named User” model to build up the amount of access they need to the service on the go.
“It’s all about giving the end-users the flexibility they need to create a custom journey through to the cloud. Flex Plan connects everything together in a simple format and allows companies to develop however and wherever they like.”
How Does Cisco Support Partners Delivering the Flex Plan?
I was interested to learn how Cisco supports the partners that they have delivering Flex Plan to customers. Richard told me that Natilik has access to a host of tools that they can use to see the licensing information of each customer.
“We have access to an advanced portal where we can see customer licenses, deploy hybrid service capabilities, and even check out reporting statistics. For instance, if a customer was rolling out WebEx Meetings slowly because they didn’t know if their employees would adopt it, we could check adoption levels and keep that company informed about the success of their campaign.”
Richard told me that before Flex, Natilik had never had the same extensive level of access to a client’s licensing information and contract data. “Historically, when we were backing someone from an on-premises perspective, if we wanted data we’d have to go and request it from Cisco. Now we can be much smarter about the way that we support our customers.”
Looking to The Future
As companies around the world continue to migrate to the cloud at a rapid pace, enterprises have historically been the slowest to make the move. I wanted to know whether Natilik thought that this new service from Cisco would help to simplify the migration process for these larger enterprises.
“If you look at some of our enterprise customers, for instance, some companies simply can’t move to the cloud because of the complexity of their on-premises deployments. However, this would give them the opportunity to tap into more of the cloud services that Cisco has to offer.”
“It’s about finding out whether cloud can tick all of your boxes, and how you can move into this new environment.”
In Natilik and Richard’s opinion, Cisco is well-positioned to provide a more complete end-to-end solution to enterprises making their way to the cloud, no matter what that journey might look like.