Juniper Networks bets on managed partners for growth

Juniper’s EMEA channel chief overhauls channel model to focus on top partners

Juniper Networks has announced a three-pronged approach to growing its indirect business in EMEA.

The networking vendor’s recently appointed head of EMEA channels, Sander Groot, said he has overhauled Juniper’s coverage model in the region to help achieve his “number one goal” of growing the channel business.

“That’s the number one imperative,” he tells Microscope.

Groot, who stepped into the role five months ago, says he has made immediate changes that see Juniper go all-in with the company’s managed partners. “I want account managers and directors to focus on their managed partners, because that focus will drive growth,” he says.

Secondly, he says he is looking for partners “with a willingness to co-invest with us…That’s where I want to spend the money. I now own all the EMEA MDF [marketing development funds], and I own channel OPEX, so all the investment decisions go via me. I have carved out the budget and I want us to invest in these managed partners.”

Juniper has 80 managed partners in EMEA and 15 in the UK and Ireland, most of which are certified as Elite, its highest tier.

Finally, Groot says Juniper wants to recruit new partners “in certain niches…and explore the partner landscape around ecosystem partners” – predominantly Nutanix and Red Hat.

“You hear these names day in, and day out. And I reckon it’s the same within these companies, with our name being mentioned. So we need to explore each other’s partner set-up and make connections,” he says.

Groot says he wants to grow the channel by driving partners to win net new logos or pockets of business within existing customers. As part of this, the firm will be incentivising the use of deal registration, which has a lower uptake in EMEA than in the US.

“The number one goal for my Juniper team is to fill the Juniper pipe,” says Groot, referencing a recent reorganisation where Juniper “re-verticalised” its business into three separate segments: service providers, enterprise and cloud – although this is largely a US play with its hyperscale cloud firms.

“We have two swim lanes and this year the channel is set up as a supporting function; we have finance, services, marketing, technical in channel and we all need to be aligned to make the successful,” he says.

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