Business and IT agility go hand in hand, but creating a flexible infrastructure has never been simple for network directors.

Traditionally, organizations have had to pour substantial time, money and resources into upgrading equipment every few years. Mismatched hardware and software lifecycles exacerbate the problem. Software licenses are tied to specific devices, which makes it impossible to migrate to the next generation of hardware without purchasing new software. 

Cisco eliminates this pain point with a new portfolio of software for the data center, wide area network and access edge. The Cisco ONE Software model decouples the software purchase from the underlying hardware to reduce purchasing complexity.

Rather than focusing on point products and features, these solutions address common business needs and obviate the need for network managers to sort through hundreds of product SKU numbers.

Perhaps best of all, Cisco ONE offers license portability. The ability to transfer licenses between hardware and software not only helps protect investments, but also reduces the cost of network upgrades.

Zeus Kerravala, founder and principal analyst of ZK Research, recently outlined the cost-saving benefits of Cisco ONE Software on Network World’s Cisco Subnet community.

Kerravala compared the traditional à la carte acquisition model with the Cisco ONE Software model to analyze the total cost of ownership for a 50-site network on a five-year refresh cycle. He found that purchasing the WAN bundle would cost $2.8 million over that period, compared with nearly $3.2 million under the traditional Cisco pricing model — an impressive savings of more than 10 percent. Kerravala ran the numbers for access network and data center examples as well, and found double-digit savings.

Moving to Cisco ONE enables an organization to achieve more predictable spending and amortize costs over the lifetime of software, shifting capital expenditures to the operational budget.

In addition to reducing costs and increasing flexibility, the Cisco ONE Software portfolio tailors software to desired IT and business outcomes — for example, connecting branch and campus environments with scalable wired and wireless access, building a secure data center network for hybrid cloud computing, and delivering voice and video collaboration throughout the network.

Organizations simply need to determine which architecture model is required, and then choose the feature sets they desire: Foundation, Advanced Applications or Advanced Security. Once the suite is deployed, the IT department can take advantage of its Cisco Smart Account to track software use and optimize IT resources.

Finally, ongoing support services and updates to Cisco ONE Software mean businesses always benefit from the latest and greatest technologies.

If recent years have proved anything, it’s that software agility and innovation are exactly the sort of competitive advantages businesses need to stay on top.

Check out CDW’s collection of software-related infographics, white papers and data sheets to take control of your software licenses and assets.

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