Collaboration is undoubtedly an important aspect of your business.
Whether you only rely on dial tone and voicemail or utilize additional collaboration features such as video, instant messaging, and contact centers, you need a way to connect internally and externally.
How businesses integrate the technology to perform those functions can vary, though.
When it comes to Cisco collaboration, one way solutions look different among our voice customers is if they host their infrastructure on-premises or in the cloud.
We know hosting collaboration solutions isn’t black and white. Sometimes companies benefit from a combination of the two. This is possible with Cisco Flex Plan.
Before we go into the benefits of this flexible Cisco option, let’s take a look at how companies traditionally have picked between cloud and on-premises licensing.
Cloud vs on-premises licensing
On-premises used to be the only option for hosting IT infrastructure, but the introduction of cloud hosting provided an option to purchase virtual storage without your own physical infrastructure to support it.
Cloud hosting is a great option for businesses who find themselves in the following categories:
- They’re looking to grow their network quickly.
- They have redundant network activities.
- They want insight with analytics.
- They have a small IT department.
- They’re looking for a predictable budget.
Hosting on-premises still makes sense for many companies and remains a popular option, though. It’s particularly a good option for businesses who meet some of the following criteria:
- They already have a significant investment in IT infrastructure.
- They want the ability to customize and take advantage of extra features.
- They anticipate using this solution long-term.
Some businesses fall completely under one category or another, but for many, it’s a combination of the two. That’s where Cisco Flex Plan comes into play.
5 Benefits of Cisco Flex Plan
How can your business benefit from combining on-premises and cloud licensing?
Along with the flexibility to mix and match subscriptions, opting for Cisco Flex Plan has the following benefits:
- Flexibility between hosting options
- Access to popular collaboration applications
- Better for budgeting
- Frees up bandwidth
- Come in multiple subscription models
These benefits make Cisco Flex Plan worth considering whether you’re looking into implementing a Cisco collaboration system or re-evaluating your existing system.
1. Cisco Flex Plan offers flexibility between hosting options
As we’ve already mentioned, the most common reason businesses consider Cisco Flex Plan is because it allows them to choose where to host their collaboration solution.
On-premises hosting is great for businesses with established IT infrastructure who don’t anticipate their long-term collaboration needs changing. Meanwhile, hosting in the cloud is a great option for businesses that are new or expecting rapid growth.
But if you’re a business with established IT infrastructure who is also anticipating rapid growth, Cisco Flex Plan allows you to leverage your existing on-premises network while simultaneously expanding with cloud hosting.
Cisco Flex Plan also allows you to move individual subscriptions between the two hosting platforms as needed.
2. Cisco Flex Plan provides access to popular collaboration applications
Cisco Flex Plan doesn’t require you to sacrifice services. It offers the same applications you would be looking for in a cloud or on-premises solution. These are the applications you need to keep running the collaboration portion of your business operations.
You and your users will have access to the below applications:
- The Cisco Webex Calling app allows your users to have the ability to make and receive calls through their desktop or mobile devices.
- Cisco Unified Communications Manager is responsible for call processing and phone registration, so you can make audio or video calls from any location.
- Cisco Webex Meetings is a video conferencing platform that enables your company to share audio, video, and content.
- Cisco Webex Teams gives you the ability to connect securely and efficiently with team members.
- Cisco Contact Center allows your team to manage and organize your customer service operations.
These are only a few of the applications you can use with Cisco Flex Plan, and you can find the complete list on Cisco’s website.
All of these options make Cisco Flex Plan a versatile option for businesses whose needs vary within the organization.
3. Cisco Flex Plan may work better for your budget
IT is an investment in your company. Specifically, the physical components you need to support applications are costly.
Some businesses may find the initial cost prevents them from taking advantage of new technology.
If your goal is to host your collaboration system on-premises but you need time to budget for the resources to do so, choosing Cisco Flex Plan gives you the ability to shift your users to on-premises hosting as you build the infrastructure to support it.
With Cisco Flex Plan, you can get started with collaboration services on the cloud, and budget for physical infrastructure if your goal is to transition to on-premises hosting in the future.
In the meantime, you’ll pay for your Cisco Flex Plan subscriptions monthly.
This allows you to classify both the licensing and software support portions of your IT budget as operational expenses instead of capital expenses.
Additionally, with Cisco Flex Plan, you’ll only pay for the subscriptions you need and have the flexibility to change your subscriptions and services as needed.
4. Cisco Flex Plan frees up bandwidth
Bandwidth is a valuable resource within your IT environment. If you’re looking for a way to free up some storage space without purchasing additional hardware, one option is to opt for Cisco Flex Plan.
This way, you can move licenses to the cloud and free up bandwidth within your on-premises network.
And if you do end up purchasing more storage, you can easily transition some or all of your subscriptions back on-premises at your own pace.
5. Cisco Flex Plan has multiple subscription models
Along with recognizing the need for flexibility when it comes to hosting, Cisco Flex Plan offers flexibility in subscription options and offers four different options.
1. Enterprise agreements
It consolidates your other subscriptions and renewal dates into a single agreement, so you don’t have to worry about keeping track of subscriptions for every part of your IT environment.
2. Active user
With active user subscriptions, you purchase meetings based on usage and only pay for the users who utilize the service.
You will need to purchase subscriptions for at least 40 users, or 15% of your users. If you’re switching from another model, you can choose to pay for the number of active users under your current subscription.
3. Named user
Another option is named user subscriptions. Unlike the active user option, when you choose named user subscriptions, you’re paying for users regardless of if they use it.
Additionally, every user must have his or her own subscription that can’t be shared with other employees.
4. Concurrent agent
This subscription is designed for businesses with contact centers.
With concurrent agent subscriptions, you’ll pay for the number of agents simultaneously using services during your peak busy hour.
You’re also able to add agents as needed for seasonal spikes or business growth.
Why should you consider Cisco Flex Plan?
There are many benefits to Cisco Flex Plan, but ultimately, whether or not it is a good fit for your business depends on your needs.
- Do you need to split your licenses between on-premises and the cloud?
- Do you want to pay less upfront?
- Do you want to have a predictable monthly rate?
- Do you need to free up bandwidth within your network?
If you answered yes to some or all of those questions, you may want to consider how Cisco Flex Plan could assist with your collaboration needs.
Besides solving the problems listed above, you can also choose among four subscription models that best fit your company and have access to Cisco’s popular collaboration applications.
For more information about moving some or all of your collaboration licenses to the cloud, download this free infographic.