Hoping to change how its customers view enterprise licensing agreements, World Wide Technology, Inc. (WWT) on Monday announced the launch of EA+, a program that packages software solutions as a highly-customizable managed service.
In addition to featuring many of the resources already offered by WWT, such as its specialized adoption services and account maintenance management, EA+ offers buyers a comprehensive suite of collaborative back-end resources. These include the Advanced Technology Center, quarterly business reviews, and multiple Vision Workshops, which are meant to help customers plan their software implementation and meet strategic goals over the course of the agreement.
"We’re approaching EA+ as a managed service – we want to stay completely engaged throughout the term the of deal," said Dean Romero, practice director for software and lifecycle services at WWT. "Customers aren't utilizing EAs to what their true potential is."
Typically, buyers see enterprise agreements as a pricing tool for solution providers or as a cost-saver for businesses. But WWT, No. 8 on the CRN Solution Provider 500 and one of Cisco's top channel partners, believes it can differentiate itself by emphasizing a start-to-finish hands-on approach to EA+ clients.
"We don't want clients to look at an EA as a cost-reduction tool," Romero said.
A central component of EA+ is its focus on simplifying software management, which often becomes an arduous task for enterprises, especially as they expand. According to research conducted by Cisco, only 8 percent of all enterprises know the full extent to which "shadow IT" – unsanctioned IT systems and solutions – exists across the company.
WWT hopes to address this trend by providing extensive guidance for decision-makers pre- and post-purchase.
One way WWT accomplishes this is through its engagement specialists, who partner with specific clients throughout the duration of the deal. The engagement specialists participate in the EA+ Vision Workshops, along with technical experts who guide them through the selection of a customized software stack, to fully understand an enterprise’s short- and long-term IT objectives.
"We want to make this part of their program, and usually, they're very excited about it," Romero said.
The ultimate goal: Reducing enterprise risk involved in trying new software while streamlining the implementation and understanding of that software for a faster, simpler solution.
Part of the $7.4 billion solution provider's recent growth strategy has been highlighted by heavy investment into various technology facilities, including the Advanced Technology Centers, and a software portal that features round-the-clock engineer access. These have since become key selling points for the EA+ program.
EA+ also furthers WWT's overarching efforts to establish itself as a "trusted adviser" within the channel, as CEO Jim Kavanaugh put it during an August 2016 interview with CRN, by creating a promising avenue for the company to get the best software combinations into buyer's hands.
"Customers are coming in and asking us for a level of independent opinion on different products, different solutions and how they work in their specific environment. That's how customers want to buy in today's market," Kavanaugh said.