Cisco Systems (NASDAQ:CSCO) has rolled out an online tool that allows partners to manage software licenses, including quoting, ordering, registering and application upgrades. The vendor introduced Cisco Software Central recently in a channel partner blog post. So what's the ultimate goal here?

Cisco wants to provide a one-stop shop for anything partners need related to software licensing, management, application upgrades and the like. Access is granted based on a partner’s entitlement rights, meaning level of program participation, Cisco said.

“Partners, the Cisco software simplification team has heard you loud and clear on software licensing. You want a better Cisco software experience, from how you request a quote to how you activate and manage your software,” wrote Chad Berndtson, Cisco global partner marketing content and social media strategist. 
According to Berndtson, the online software license management tool offers partners these capabilities:
  • Quoting, ordering and delivery of software and licensing documents
  • Registering software products and obtaining license files
  • Downloading minor upgrades and patches
  • Ordering major version upgrades
 
“The ultimate goal was to make this site easy to use, and to present you with relevant content and links to applications such as Cisco Commerce Workspace, eDelivery, License Registration and  Product Upgrade Tool, based on your entitlement and access rights,” he said.
 
Martin Coombes, Cisco capabilities product manager for the SmartWeb Technology Group, which focuses on software distribution, said that the Software Central site will make life easier for channel partners by centralizing the offerings under one umbrella. In a nutshell, partners need not access multiple sites for the various software licensing resources and tools they need.
 
“In the past, you had to use and remember a different URL for every software ordering and management tool you needed, and you might not have been aware of the latest tool enhancement because you had to keep track of so many destinations,” he said. "Now, with Cisco Software Central, you only need one URL that gets you to all of the latest tools in the same place.”
 
The Software Central tool is segmented by three main sections: Order and Delivery Tools, License, and Upgrades and Updates.
 
At the Order and Delivery Tools section partners can:
  • Create and view system configurations
  • Create, view and share deals and quotes
  • Create orders, view orders and invoices
  • Check order status
  • Links to information and tools for software eDelivery
 
The License section offers tools to:
  • View and manage all product licenses
  • Register and download new product licenses
  • Get and resend existing licenses
  • Transfer licenses between devices
  • Request demonstration and evaluation licenses
 
The Upgrades and Updates section offers:
  • Application upgrades
  • Software patches and releases downloads
 
According to Berndtson, new content will be regularly added to the Software Central site based on feedback from partners.