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Are you ready to make the switch to digital transformation? More and more businesses today are turning to software and subscription-based consumption models that may forever change the network as we know it.

A preview of this trend was featured last week at Cisco Partner Summit when Cisco CEO Chuck Robbins pointed out the company’s spike in deferred software revenue growth. In the company’s fiscal fourth quarter, which ended July 29, Cisco reported deferred software revenue up to $5 billion, which is double the amount of two years ago.

The rise of software- and subscription-based consumption models can be seen in a number of Cisco products and services, including their latest generation of switches. Just one of these, the Catalyst 9000 switch series, is the first Cisco hardware product line to be sold with an integrated software subscription. This is significant as enterprise network managers walk an unenviable tightrope. They must balance network users’ real need for adequate network resources against inevitable financial limitations. They make network bets on technology that will maximize both their financial investment and their network productivity.

The Catalyst 9000 switch series is a component of the intent-based networking approach, deemed the “holy grail of networking,” by Prashanth Shenoy, Vice President of Marketing, Enterprise Networking and Mobility, at Cisco. Prashanth has called intent-based networking a “drastically new approach that enables the network to continuously align itself to the disparate demands of the organization. It brings together all the latest networking innovations including SDN, virtualization, machine learning, model-based APIs, and many security related innovations into a closed-loop system capable of identifying, predicting, and responding to business needs.”

Intent-based networking is also the basis of Cisco’s Digital Network Architecture (DNA), which relies on software – an open, programmable architecture that turns business intent into results, allowing customers to make decisions faster, mitigate security threats, and manage the unprecedented scale of connected devices more easily.

As Nirav Sheth, VP, Partner Solutions, Architectures and Engineering at Cisco said in a recent blog post, “software- based subscription licensing will flip traditional network purchasing on its head and match today’s flexible consumption and OpEx needs. Customers will benefit from predictable budget allocation and partners will gain value through predictable revenue streams.”

By purchasing only what they need, customers can stay on the edge with the most innovative technologies at a manageable cost. And software, without a doubt, is only the beginning. Now it’s up to us to lead digital transformation by selling the most advanced and intuitive digital network available.

It’s time to make the switch.