For the past 10 or so years, the Tech Industry has been surrendering to the subscription tsunami. Gone are the days customers yearn to purchase a “license”. Prior to circa 2007, customers and end users alike were accustomed to purchasing a software license for their enterprise or home computer. This software “license” provided the needed capability and solved for the most basic problems. For example, they wanted the latest version of Microsoft Windows so it stops crashing, or the latest version of Apple Garage Band with coolest bells & whistles. This purchase provided them perpetual access to the software they loved and used daily. Some customer and end users even went the final mile with an additional purchase of software maintenance and/or support, although this is most common in the enterprise world. However, this permanent software worked for them and granted, some of that sat on a shelf, but we owned it none the less. And we knew it well, were comfortable with it, and were even able to anticipate issues. I think I speak for all of us that we filled our resumes touting subject matter expertise in Operating Systems and Corporate software like Microsoft Office, Checkpoint Firewalls and Cisco IOS. We saw this on job postings worldwide alike where hiring managers had specific software applications as a hard requirement. I.T. Professionals knew those software tools well. I equate those tools to a “hammer”. When I bought my first apartment many years ago, I knew virtually nothing about home maintenance and repair. But that first month of living in a new condo, I went to home depot and purchased a toolbox and filled it with tools. One of those tools was a hammer. That hammer helped me solve common problems like hanging pictures or artwork on the wall and removing nails from a floorboard. $15.00 and years later, I still have that hammer in my house and I still use it. Matter of fact the more I have used it, the better it serves me. I think we can all agree that those days are behind us. With rapidly evolving software and the worldwide spread of technology creeping into every last element of our lives, vendors are finding it near impossible to deliver software in any way other than a subscription model. This transformation of our industry left nothing in its wake. From home entertainment & video streaming to Income Tax, we pay (and consume) per month, every month, until we no longer want to use these services. Sometimes, it makes me miss my hammer.
The silver lining to all of this is while Cisco historically being a hardware company powering the Internet with Route/Switch technology, has fully embraced the subscription methodology. Cisco recently created a single, unified, flexible subscription licensing model called the Spark Flex Plan. The Spark Flex Plan bundles 33 years of communication and collaboration technologies into a monthly recurring subscription plan where customers can consume Voice, Next Generation Meetings, Messaging, Storage, Analytics, Support & Maintenance, and even Adoption Services. Customers can leverage cloud or premise based services and with every passing month, continue to almost devour new and bleeding edge updates that our developers deliver with predictable simple purchasing plans. While Cisco does not force customers into SaaS, PaaS or surrendering any other legacy licensing to subscription, the Cisco Spark Flex Plan can provide businesses with tons of value and should warrant every one of our customers to have a deeper dive into these options and how to transition to the cloud. Visit Cisco Spark.com or https://www.cisco.com/c/en/us/products/unified-communications/spark-flex-plan/index.html for more details.