- Cisco relies heavily on partners to sell products, with 90% of bookings made through partners.
- World Wide Technology is one of the largest, selling $ 6 billion in Cisco products last year.
- WWT Vice President Brian Ortbals told Insider how partners are working with Cisco’s changing business model.
One of Cisco’s sources of power in the face of fierce competition is its large and sprawling network of partners who sell its products and services.
More than 90% of Cisco’s bookings are made through partners, the company revealed during its Investor Day this month. And that means the company is counting on them to help it move beyond its core business of selling network hardware to selling software through subscriptions, said Gerri Elliott, Cisco Customer and Partner Director, during the day of the investors of the company.
“I like to call our partners Cisco’s not-so-secret weapon,” she said.
The partners have indeed found themselves at the forefront of this push, according to Brian Ortbals, vice president of engineering at World Wide Technology, one of Cisco’s most important partners.
With thousands of customers ranging from large enterprises to midsize businesses, WWT generated more than $ 6 billion in Cisco product sales in the year ending July, Ortbals said, accounting for about half of its total sales. WWT also sells products from a range of Cisco competitors, including VMware, Microsoft, Dell, and Palo Alto Networks.
He said Cisco is branching out into selling software subscriptions because buyers are flocking to the network giant’s network software offerings. Customers need this software thanks to the continued adoption of cloud computing and the rapid rise in hybrid work during the pandemic.
“I think they still have a long way to go,” Ortbals said. “We are seeing a huge transformation around the network itself.”
Still, most of WWT’s Cisco revenue comes from networking products, although Ortbals says it sees a growing opportunity to sell collaboration software and security products, two areas in which Cisco is investing heavily.
Another big opportunity for Cisco is a new area of network management tools known as full stack observability. It is software that allows customers to glean information about data from their business applications.
“We see a huge opportunity with them in this space,” Ortbals said. “They have a great portfolio to capitalize on this market, and it’s one of the few parts of their portfolio that is pure software game.”
At the same time, the fact that Cisco continues to roll out new products while its existing offerings cover so many markets means that partners face great complexity. But Ortbals says Cisco is helping partners cope, with great support for common customer needs, such as hybrid work and cloud architectures.
“It’s a tough balancing act – their portfolio is huge, our portfolio is huge, and I feel like any seller on either side has a million options to be able to hire a client. “said Ortbals. “It’s about taking this very rich and expansive portfolio and consolidating it into things that hopefully resonate with clients.”