One source of Cisco's power against fierce competition is its massive, sprawling network of partners who sell its products and services.
More than 90% of Cisco's bookings are made through partners, the company disclosed at its investor day this month. And that means the company is counting on them to help it move beyond its core business of selling networking hardware into selling software via subscriptions, Cisco chief customer and partner officer Gerri Elliott said during the company's investor day.
"I like to call our partners Cisco's not-so-secret weapon," she said.
Partners have indeed found themselves on the front lines of that push, according to Brian Ortbals, vice president of engineering at World Wide Technology, one of Cisco's most important partners.