4 Ways Cisco Spark Flex Changes Cloud Migration Game

Companies are increasingly shunning on-premises systems, with their pitfalls such as high upfront capex costs, complex deployments, and ongoing maintenance requirements, and instead favoring the flexibility and agility of cloud technologies. Cloud benefits include a predictable monthly opex spend, easier (and quicker) deployments, evergreen software, and (in many cases) 24/7 support.

Last year Cisco rolled out Spark Flex licensing as a way to help organizations shift from premises-based technology investments to cloud-based subscription models. A single subscription can cover Cisco Spark and WebEx, as well as Cisco Unified Communications Manager (CUCM) and Cisco Meeting Server services. Aimed at providing simplicity during the buying process, Cisco's Spark Flex plans offer licensing portability for the enterprise that wants to make a slower, methodical move to the cloud. For instance, if a company isn't quite ready or able to go all in when it comes to the cloud, Spark Flex allows for some workers or locations to continue to use on-premises solutions under its enterprise agreement while other workers/locations move to the cloud.

While this hybrid on-prem/cloud environment isn't new, covering it all under a single enterprise agreement is an innovation. It also aligns with West's longtime strategy of helping clients move to the cloud at their own speed and under their terms. This method promotes a thoughtful and customized approach to the cloud, as it doesn't require a rip-and-replace strategy. In fact, customers can continue to leverage their existing hardware until they realize the full financial investment.

How Does Spark Flex Enable Thoughtful Cloud Migration?

  1. Migration at your speed -- Spark Flex provides a customized path to the cloud, allowing companies to thoughtfully migrate as it makes sense for them.

  2. Leverage existing investments for full return -- get the maximum benefit of on-premises infrastructure and continue to leverage existing hardware until the full capex value is realized. In the meantime, begin leveraging the benefits of an opex spend when and where you can.
  3. Ability to mix license types under one agreement -- with Spark Flex, you can pick and mix your plan according to your needs. There's no need to have all users on a single license type, and no matter what the product, whether on-premises or in the cloud, all services purchased under Spark Flex are completely supported through one enterprise agreement.
  4. Access to cutting-edge technology -- While license portability has benefits for legacy WebEx, CUCM, and other collaboration adopters, Spark itself is driving transformational change within the enterprise with its approach to persistent, team-based collaboration. It's like the icing on the cake.

Spark Flex in Action: One Customer's Story

West recently worked with a popular retail brand that was facing end of life (EOL) and end of support (EOS) for its corporate CUCM system. As a large, global organization with several thousand users, the company wanted to prioritize rollout of VoiceMaxx CE, West's UCaaS solution that includes Cisco HCS. It was able to deliver VoiceMaxx CE to 50+ corporate office locations directly impacted by the EOL/EOS situation, while continuing to receive support and services for the retail stores that were still on newer versions of Cisco CallManager. The Spark Flex agreement also includes Cloud Connected Audio (CCA-SP) and WebEx services. When the time is right, the retail locations will also move to the cloud, but, until then, everything on premises and in the cloud will still fall under one licensing agreement and be supported 24/7 by West.

With Spark Flex, the move to the cloud doesn't have to happen overnight. You have a choice in how your company evolves and with West and Spark Flex, you can set a pace that makes the most sense. You can extend the value of your existing investments, take advantage of the cloud where possible, begin collaborating in a more meaningful way, and rest easy knowing it's all supported under a single agreement.

Learn more about the state of unified communications and hear case studies in our report, "Unified Communications in Transition."