True Forward FAQ

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Updated:November 13, 2021

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The documentation set for this product strives to use bias-free language. For the purposes of this documentation set, bias-free is defined as language that does not imply discrimination based on age, disability, gender, racial identity, ethnic identity, sexual orientation, socioeconomic status, and intersectionality. Exceptions may be present in the documentation due to language that is hardcoded in the user interfaces of the product software, language used based on RFP documentation, or language that is used by a referenced third-party product. Learn more about how Cisco is using Inclusive Language.

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Updated:November 13, 2021

Table of Contents



General questions

Q.  What is True Forward?
A.   True Forward is Cisco’s billing process to account for any overconsumption during a Cisco ® Enterprise Agreement (EA) term.
Unlike other enterprise license agreements requiring a “true-up” every year that charges you for past use, Cisco's EA program allows customers to grow without a retroactive, surprise bill. Instead, your growth is reviewed against entitlement and included in the next True Forward event, where you pay only on a going-forward basis as part of your predictable billing period.
Q.  What is the difference between a true-up and True Forward?
A.   Cisco has a unique competitive differentiator: customers can consume licenses they didn’t originally purchase and are charged for their excess consumption and support from the milestone date until the end of the Cisco EA term. In a true-up methodology, the customer is charged beginning from the moment of overconsumption, that is, retroactive billing.
Q.  When is True Forward established?
A.   The True Forward schedule is established at the time of the initial EA order. This means that suites and add-ons purchased subsequently will follow the same schedule, making it easy for you to manage your complete investment with Cisco.
Q.  When is True Forward triggered?
A.   True Forward events are initiated on every EA milestone if overconsumption is identified. Customers are charged for their excess consumption and support for the duration of the agreement term.
A True Forward event is scheduled annually for full commit suites or quarterly for partial commit suites and add-ons. For more information, refer to the program guide.
A True Forward event can also be triggered by exceeding the initial growth cap (more than 105% in the first six months) or by an exceptional increase in license or service usage (more than 115% in the contract term).
Q.  What is license or service usage/consumption?
A.   Examples of license or service usage/consumption could include downloading or installing software, provisioning, or activating licenses, or accessing software or cloud services.
Q.  What is a consumption report?
A.   A consumption report is a snapshot in time used to track license consumption by a Cisco EA or Cisco Service Provider Networking Agreement (SPNA) customer during their agreement term. The most accurate way to see real-time consumption is via the Enterprise Agreement Workspace.
Q.  How can a customer view real-time consumption reports?
A.   To view real-time consumption reports, visit and go to EAWS under the One Consumption View. Consumption details will display at the product and suite level, by enrollment.
Q.  Can a customer receive consumption reports through an automated email notification?
A.   Yes, customers with access to their company Smart Account can sign up and receive consumption reports automatically, through an email notification. To sign up, visit and go to “View My Consumption,” or click here to learn more.
Q.  What if a customer consumes a license not included in their initial EA or SPNA?
A.   The overage will trigger a True Forward event and will be invoiced at their next anniversary date. Pricing is determined by the list price at the time of the True Forward event, with a fixed-price discount applied.
The overage will trigger an off-cycle True Forward event and the customer might be charged on the overconsumed licenses going forward.
Pricing is determined by the list price at the time of the True Forward event, with a fixed-price discount applied.

True Forward calculation and pricing

Q.  How are True Forward fees calculated?
A.   There are two different calculation models, Pure Consumption and Value Shift, which are determined by architecture and suite.

     The Pure Consumption calculation method requires the customer to pay for the total overconsumption of licenses. Pure Consumption applies to some suites for security in EAs. Pure Consumption also applies to the Services Enrollment for EAs and is based on the installed base list price.

     The Value Shift calculation method allows the residual value of under consumed license value to be transferred to any overconsumed license value within the same suite. Value Shift applies to Cisco ONE®, Cisco DNA, Cisco Data Center, and all enrollments within SPNA. The Security Choice EA and Security portfolio use a combination of Pure Consumption and Value Shift.

     Pure Consumption: The customer will be responsible for the charges associated with the increase in use, as calculated on a pro rata basis, for the remaining months in the suite term and based on the applicable pricing or discount through the EA authorized partner that sold you the suite. For Full Commit suites, the maximum price you will pay is the original price set by your EA authorized partner at the time of your original order. For Partial Commit suites and add-ons, the price is based on the current price at time of the True Forward transaction minus the discount set by your EA authorized partner at the time of your original order.

     Value Shift: If you have purchased eligible suites in the Networking Infrastructure, Applications Infrastructure, Security, or Services portfolios, the unused licenses will offset the growth in the same suite during a True Forward event, through the same EA authorized partner that sold you the suite. This means that the residual value of any purchased but unused licenses in the suite will be applied against the cost associated with the license overages in use in the same suite.

Q.  Is True Forward calculated differently for subscription versus perpetual licenses?
A.   True Forward is calculated the same for subscription and perpetual licenses, utilizing the Pure Consumption or Value Shift calculation methods.
Q.  For Value Shift, is a growth allowance included in the value?
A.   No, a growth allowance is given to the customer by Cisco at the time of the EA or SPNA purchase and is only applied to the initial EA or SPNA purchased licenses. There is no transferable value associated with a growth allowance, and it cannot be transferred between products.
Q.  During Value Shift, if one license costs less than another license in the same suite, how is the allocation accommodated?
A.   Value Shift is based on the purchase value, not the license count. Thus, the value of unconsumed licenses is transferred to the over consumed licenses (within the same suite) after the 20 percent growth allowance (where applicable).
Q.  What is the price of True Forward?
A.   Cisco EA fixed pricing and Cisco SPNA use the original deal discounting (excluding adjustments). For pricing details, please contact your partner.
Q.  Can a customer make payments on True Forward overconsumption?
A.   True Forward complies with the payment method established on the original EA or Cisco SPNA. If prepaid was selected, it will remain prepaid; if annual was selected, it will be paid annually. The payment method cannot be changed after the EA or SPNA purchase.
Q.  For Pure Consumption, can the customer transfer unconsumed license value from the original Cisco EA license purchase?
A.   No, the Pure Consumption calculation requires the customer to pay for all overages.
Q.  With Value Shift, can the customer transfer original unconsumed license value from a license that is not in the same license’s suite?
A.   Typically, license values can be transferred only to licenses within the same suite. However, in the new Cisco EA, residual value can be shifted across Cisco DNA and Meraki ® suites if the suites are fully committed and purchased at the same time. Please reach out to your EA authorized partner for details.
Q.  What happens with a True Forward at the end of the term if a customer decides not to renew the EA or SPNA?
A.   The customer will not be charged for overconsumption during the final EA or SPNA term.




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