Cisco Enterprise Agreement Program: A Comprehensive Guide

The world of Enterprise software solutions can be complex and confusing. With the growing need for organisations to remain agile and competitive, Cisco has introduced its Enterprise Agreement (EA) Program to simplify the process of purchasing and managing software. Cisco is transforming from a predominantly hardware focused company to one that prioritises software first. 

In this article, we will look into the ins and outs of the Cisco EA Program, answering common questions and providing insight into the benefits it offers.

Table of Contents

What is the Cisco Enterprise Agreement Program?

The Cisco Enterprise Agreement Program is a flexible software licensing initiative that enables organisations to purchase and manage a wide range of Cisco software products under a single, unified agreement. Including Meraki, DNA Center, AppDynamics, Collaboration (WebEx) and Security Choice. It streamlines the procurement process, reduces costs, and provides access to a range of tools and services to help businesses optimise their software investments.

What are the benefits of an Enterprise Agreement?

There are several advantages to using Cisco’s Enterprise Agreement:

  • Simplified procurement: A single agreement covers all software purchases, reducing administrative overhead and making it easier to manage software assets.
  • Predictable budgeting: With the ability to lock in pricing for the duration of the agreement, organisations can better predict and plan their software budgets.
  • Access to the latest technology: Customers gain access to the latest Cisco software products and updates, ensuring they remain competitive and up to date.
  • Cost savings: Discounts are available for volume purchases, and the True Forward feature (explained later in this article) prevents retroactive billing for over-consumption.
  • Flexible growth: As businesses expand and contract, the EA can be adjusted to accommodate changes in software requirements.

Do EAs cover software only, or hardware as well?

The Cisco Enterprise Agreement covers software only. Hardware purchases are separate and not included within the scope of the EA.

What software portfolios are included in an Enterprise Agreement?

The Cisco EA Program includes the following software portfolios:

  • Networking: This portfolio covers software for routing, switching, wireless, and network management, including the combination of DNA Center, Meraki and cloud software allowing organisations to implement cross technology solutions.
  • Applications: This covers Cisco applications such as Intersight, HyperFlex, ThousandEyes and AppDynamics. Cisco EA makes it simpler to get the applications that a business requires with added agility.
  • Collaboration: This includes software for unified communications, video conferencing, and collaboration tools. Customers can benefit from simplified employee communication, which is essential with remote workers.
  • Security: This portfolio covers software for threat protection, secure access, and secure data center solutions. Having a unified contract purchasing solution allows for a transparent and predictable experience, a vital part of any security service.
  • Services: This portfolio covers a wide array of professional and managed services to support business organisational needs. Using the services offering of the Cisco EA, customers can benefit from reduced complexity, improved uptime and minimise risks, specifically with software upgrades.

What is True Forward?

True Forward is a unique feature of the Cisco EA Program that eliminates the need for retroactive billing when organisations exceed their software consumption limits. Instead of having to pay for overages at the end of the year, True Forward adjusts the consumption limits for the remainder of the agreement term to reflect the actual usage.

How is True Forward different from True up?

While True up and True Forward are both mechanisms to address software over-consumption, they work differently:

  • True up: This requires organisations to pay for any overages at the end of the year.
  • True Forward: This adjusts the consumption limits for the remainder of the term, without requiring any retroactive payments.

How does True Forward work?

True Forward is activated under the following scenarios:

  1. If an organisation’s software consumption exceeds its purchased limit, the agreement will be adjusted to accommodate the increased usage without any retroactive billing.
  2. If an organisation’s software consumption falls below the purchased limit, the agreement will not be adjusted, but the company can apply the unused portion towards other software purchases within the same portfolio. More information about True Forward can be found here.

What tools does Cisco provide to manage an EA?

Cisco offers several tools to help organisations manage their Enterprise Agreement:

  • Enterprise Agreement Workspace: This online portal enables customers to view and manage all aspects of their EA, including software consumption, billing, and contract details.
  • Cisco Smart Account: This is a centralised account management platform that provides visibility and control over all Cisco software and services across an organisation.
  • Consumption reports: These reports allow organisations to track their software usage and make informed decisions about future purchases.

What is the Enterprise Agreement Workspace?

The Enterprise Agreement Workspace is an online portal that provides a comprehensive view of an organisation’s EA. It includes contract details, software consumption data, and billing information. Customers can use the Workspace to view and manage their software assets, monitor usage, and adjust consumption limits as needed.

What is a Cisco Smart account?

A Cisco Smart account is a centralised platform for managing all Cisco software and services within an organisation. It provides visibility and control over software licences, subscriptions, and support contracts, making it easier for businesses to track and manage their software assets.

How to buy new licences when in an EA?

Customers can either add new licences to their existing agreement or purchase additional licences within the same portfolio. This can be done through the Enterprise Agreement Workspace or by contacting a Cisco EA Authorised Partner.

How can I manage my licences in an EA?

Licences can be managed through the Cisco Smart account and the Enterprise Agreement Workspace. Customers can view their current licence usage, adjust consumption limits, and allocate licences to different devices and users as needed.

How can I see consumption reports in an EA?

Consumption reports can be accessed through the Enterprise Agreement Workspace. These reports provide detailed information on software usage, helping organisations monitor their consumption and make informed decisions about future purchases.

Where can I find a Cisco EA Authorised Partner?

Cisco EA Authorised Partners can be found through the Cisco Partner Locator tool, available on the Cisco website. These partners are trained and certified to help customers navigate the EA process and provide expert advice on software purchases and management.

What are the conditions to sign an Enterprise Agreement?

To be eligible for a Cisco Enterprise Agreement, organisations must meet the following criteria:

  • Minimum software purchase: There is a minimum initial purchase requirement for each software portfolio, which varies depending on the specific portfolio.
  • Commitment term: EAs have a minimum duration of three years, with the option to extend up to five years.
  • Growth allowance: Organisations must include a growth allowance in their agreement, which is a percentage of additional software licences that can be consumed without incurring extra costs.

What is the minimum and maximum duration of an EA?

As seen before, the minimum duration of a Cisco Enterprise Agreement is three years, however organisations have the option to extend their agreement for up to a maximum of five years.


The Cisco Enterprise Agreement Program offers a flexible and cost-effective option for organisations to manage their software investments. With simplified procurement, predictable budgeting, and access to the latest technology, businesses can focus on growth and innovation while keeping their software up to date.

By addressing common questions surrounding the EA Program, we hope to provide a clearer understanding of how it works and the benefits it offers. From the software portfolios included and the unique True Forward feature, to the various management tools provided by Cisco, the Enterprise Agreement Program is designed to support businesses of all sizes in their software journey.

If you are interested in entering the Cisco EA program and are looking for more advanced EA management features adapted to your business needs, have a look at our Boundless Smartrack application or reach out to us to book a demo.


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