Bulk buying. Big savings. This principle applies in many industries, usually in relation to raw materials – so why not to software and hardware, too?

That’s the thinking behind the Whole Portfolio Agreement (WPA) designed by Cisco and managed by NTT.

A WPA is a multiyear contract, facilitated and eventually managed by NTT, that gives large enterprises unlimited access to the full portfolio of Cisco software, at a fixed price. For the lifetime of the contract, they can use whatever software they want at any time.

Think of WPAs as a more powerful version of Cisco’s Enterprise Agreements, which we already use at NTT to support digital business models by consolidating multiple software subscriptions into a single agreement.

We took all our experience with Enterprise Agreements and worked with Cisco over the past decade to make WPAs as robust and useful as possible, and on a much larger scale than the Enterprise Agreement model. In fact, NTT was the first Cisco partner to sell and offer WPAs.

Lower costs and higher ROI

The most obvious benefit of a WPA is the cost savings. Cisco rewards their clients’ long-term financial commitment with big discounts on both software and hardware – and the savings can be both substantial and fast.

Clients begin seeing cost savings immediately, and NTT’s analytics have shown they may reach a breakeven point as soon as 18 months into their multiyear contract. Some organizations have seen a return on investment of more than 160% and average savings of 47% over the lifetime of the engagement.

A WPA also supports technology planning. It simplifies the purchasing process, so clients can accelerate the adoption of new software throughout their organizations. To help in this regard, NTT provides a dedicated software lifecycle manager and a robust account team to consult on technology adoption strategies.

Clients therefore get access to both Cisco’s tried-and-tested range of products and NTT’s global experience in implementing and managing them.

WPAs serve as a gateway to innovation. Within the agreement, a client has access to Cisco’s emerging technology software titles and, with our capabilities, we can help run proofs of concept and proofs of value to choose the technologies that generate the efficiency and productivity the client needs.

Benefits beyond the operational level

There are also benefits beyond the core operational software access included in a WPA. For example, Cisco’s advanced Webex collaboration and communication tools can help modernize an organization’s customer experience, especially in a contact-center environment.

These tools also help organizations improve their employee experience by making it easier to collaborate and stay in touch – an essential business strategy now that about 6 in 10 employees are working remotely all or some of the time.

Sustainability is also on every CIO’s agenda. A WPA enables the faster adoption of sustainable solutions, and there is scope to build in the proper disposal of obsolete Cisco hardware. Cisco offers clients a discount if they agree to return their equipment at the end of its life for proper disposal and recycling.

Making the finances work

So, what holds large organizations back from entering a WPA?

Usually, the financial commitment is their biggest concern, but there is some flexibility here: NTT can draw up buying constructs to help clients consume and pay for their WPA in a way that works for them.

In essence, we find a “sweet spot” based on clients’ business priorities and trajectory. For example, a car manufacturer might want to quadruple their footprint in Europe, and their WPA – whether upon initial signing or renewal – needs to account for that.

How NTT adds value

WPAs are just one of the innovations to flow from NTT and Cisco’s partnership of more than 30 years. We worked with Cisco to create the first WPA more than 10 years ago, and our partnership continues to evolve and bring more value to our clients.

We work with clients to ensure they qualify for the agreement, using our analytics and insights to appraise the holistic environment. As a neutral third party, we provide a sounding board during the decision-making process to help optimize the agreement for both the client and Cisco. Then, we lock down the pricing, facilitate the transaction and service the WPA over the life of the contract.

You’ve bought this thing, now you’ve got to use it

The WPA journey doesn’t end with the signing of a contract. It has to be put into continual practice, and we can help facilitate this by leading the lifecycle management process and ensuring robust adoption.

With insights into their savings and full visibility of their purchases through NTT’s analytics services, clients can see the full benefits of making such a big commitment through the WPA. We also help them review the agreement when it comes up for renewal.

WPAs are a great option for organizations to save money, streamline their technology planning globally and drive innovation.

Contact us to learn more about how WPAs and Enterprise Agreements can benefit your organization.