There’s no escaping the need for full-service voice and data communication services for businesses functioning in the fast-based, technology permeated environment of the digital age. Because of how important technology has become for companies across all industries, it’s important to ensure you are working with a quality provider for your products, systems and services.

Unfortunately for many Cisco customers, they are getting more than they bargained for – and not in a good way. Burdensome license fees and product End of Life (EOL) policies are presenting issues that detract from the support and convenience technology is intended to provide.

Cisco’s smart licensing pitfalls

A couple years ago, Cisco started shifting its licensing strategies and rolling out a new smart licensing system. The new entitlement system changed licences to be subscription-based, rather than perpetual, leading to more administrative costs and challenges for network management. Subscribers have to connect their devices to the Internet, often, for entitlement validation or risk a problematic loss of functionality, which decreases end-user control over the infrastructure.

Not only does this disproportionately put functionality under Cisco’s control, but this style of licensing also can restrict your ability to use third-party maintenance or buy refurbished hardware, and your hardware purchases will no longer maintain residual value. Additionally, Cisco has the power to simply turn off functionality when devices reach the Last-Day-of-Support (LDOS) stage of their lifecycle. This creates a binding situation for companies and network administrators using Cisco products. Compliance with smart licensing is essential without suffering potential business downtime or having to write and follow new processes and procedures for manual workarounds. Adding to this is the mass confusion that customers, and VAR’s alike, and at times CISCO representatives themselves are having explaining and dealing with this licencing model.

Opting for a different network hardware vendor

Avaya and NEC continue to be industry-leading brands when it comes to unified communication solutions. NEC is the ideal platform for small- to medium-sized businesses (SMBs) looking to grow their presence and impact within their industry. Likewise, Avaya systems and hardware provide across-the-board solutions that empower, rather than restrict, employees, companies, and network administrators.

From a consumer perspective, Avaya is rated higher than Cisco in several areas, including features, support, integrations and plans. Their products are scalable to your business’ budget and operational goals, giving you more control over your information technology.

Smart IP’s portfolio includes both Avaya and NEC systems, along with those from other industry-leading partners. Smart IP not only provides communications deployments to companies, nonprofit organizations, and government agencies throughout Canada, but their services also include support and maintenance to ensure your technology works for you.