Juniper Networks has had a busy week. The networking aficionado held its NXTWORK 2015 Customer Summit in Santa Clara, California, while at the same time, hosting its third Partner Marketing Academy in Amsterdam, Holland.
Stateside, Juniper made a raft of announcements. First, a disaggregated version of Junos software, providing customers and partners with the ability to deploy third-party network services or applications directly on Juniper’s hardware.
The company also introduced a new line of switches able to run the disaggregated Junos software, as well as an expansion of its Network Functions Virtualisation (NFV) portfolio, with Cloud CPE. The new solution is designed to enable service providers to deploy new services faster, whether on-prem or in the cloud.
“As more and more of our service provider customers look to realise real business value from SDN and NFV, the need to have flexible solutions that effectively scale is critical,” said Jonathan Davidson, executive vice president and general manager, Juniper Development and Innovation. “With the innovations we’re announcing today, service providers will be able to harness the power of scale-out services to improve their service delivery economics. For us at Juniper, it’s all about infusing automation into our customers’ networks to reduce time to market and speed time to revenue.”
Over in Europe, Juniper was busy hosting its annual Partner Marketing Academy, a series of keynotes and workshops designed to help partners better market their services.
After a turbulent couple of years - restructuring, job cuts, the surprise exit of a CEO and a channel programme shakeup - one might be surprised to hear that Juniper is feeling pretty good about itself right now.
The infrastructure provider reported its quarterly earnings last week, beating expectations on both revenue and profit. In fact, profit nearly doubled, year over year.
Juniper says that a big part of the turnaround is due to its channel ecosystem. MicroScope sat down with Matt Hurley, global vice president of Field and Partner Marketing to discuss the changes made in 2015 and plans for the new year.
“I think 2015 was a really positive tweak for us. We had multiple partner programmes - one for products, one for services and we had a third for distribution. We were asking our partners to try to reach a common goal through different ways and 2015 was when we brought all three of those programmes into triangle, so that they were serving the different areas of the business, but the same way.”
Juniper recently realigned its partner programme, raising the benchmark for Elite status and shifting a significant proportion of partners into the second tier – Select. However, by introducing rebates into the Select tier, Hurley says that the fallout had been minimal.
Another issue that Juniper addressed in 2015 was a lack of messaging around the midmarket.
“The feedback from partners was very loud and clear - Juniper does not have a clear and consistent message in the midmarket,” Hurley admitted.
“Sometimes people think of Juniper as the of the router company for large SPs. While that is a significant portion of our business, we have a very broad customer base. But perception is reality and the perception is that we’re not known in the midmarket.”
“So we engaged one of our distributors that has an agency that creates marketing messages for several large firms in the world and we worked with them to rebrand ourselves in the midmarket. We just [finished] about two months ago but we are rolling that message out worldwide.
The VP says that there are no more major changes on the horizon and 2016 will be a year of refinement.
“We finally have a focus in the company; we finally have a set of products that you know are refreshed across our portfolio and there's additional stuff to come in the first quarter that we will announce,” Hurley said.
“The core underpinnings – the product portfolio, the technology, the partner programme, I think those things are set. We have a partner programme that's working and we are getting positive feedback. “
Hurley says that in 2016, Juniper will be introducing several channel focused features, including a highly requested booking neutrality system, ensuring proper compensation.
“We won’t be asleep at the switch next year. We will be executing on the foundations we have laid as a company.”