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Thursday, February 2, 2012

Juniper's Partner Conference Beats Expectations

From January 16-18 in Las Vegas, Nevada, Juniper played host and hostess for 1000+ partners, analysts, press and service providers and delivered three days of workshops, presentations, demos and announcements, which focused on Juniper’s plan to address how partners meet the market demands.

The company announced that it is moving its channel program from point product certification to domain coverage, Edge, Core, Access/Aggregation, Data Center, Campus/Branch, Enterprise WAN, and consumer and business devices with security within each domain to support the architectures within customer environments. Focused players in networking or security will also be supported by the new channel program. Juniper will continue to focus on value-based recognition by adding deal registration and other features to recognize the selling investments made by partners. This move will require different investments from its partners to deliver more value to customers. Companies, traditionally, focus their portfolios on technology, but to truly differentiate, they need to address how partners are selling and help them maximize their selling. This should be Juniper’s next move. Juniper must ensure that their investments in marketing the solutions support technology domains and leverage social marketing to stimulate awareness to their partners’ customers.

The solution or domain approach will enable Juniper to determine how partners need to be supported. Security is the number one issue cited by providers and vendors need to have a managed services solution to offer partners. Managed security as an up-sell to connectivity is a market opening begging for a strong leader.

Resellers are looking for value, differentiation and increased margin. Adding services to their product portfolios can increase their value, differentiation and ultimately profits. Although there will be fewer VARs and resellers selling capital expense-based equipment this year — and maybe for the next five years — more enterprises, small and medium companies are moving critical and noncritical operations to cloud based options or anything as a service and resellers and VARs will have to address this migration.

This migration provides Juniper and other manufacturers with opportunities to raise awareness and support VARs and resellers by showing them how to add services to their portfolios. Becoming a managed service provider is generally out of reach for most of the resellers with perhaps the exception of Fishnet, which just purchased a SOC to address their customers’ need for a managed security offer.

Many resellers are already in the managed service business and four of six partners featured on one panel indicated hat they derive some revenue from services. Three of the partners indicated 5 to 10% of their revenue is from managed services. Fishnet indicated that much of its revenue is from services but did not state how much, which could be from the company’s own services, partner resold services or professional services from its system integration capability.

With providers such as Google and Amazon being a fairly high risk and businesses reluctant to migrate key processes because of lack of service level agreements that meet business critical infrastructure, service providers such as Verizon, ATT and others may have opportunities. They may be in the strongest position and have the best infrastructure investments to be the back end for customers’ business to business needs. Generally, the businesses supported by VARs and system integrators may benefit from service providers partnering together to bring their business customers the SLA they require, especially as VARs and SIs add more high-margin services to their businesses. Vendors such as Juniper may need to find a way to encourage the provider to reseller connection through programs that add value, create reselling and add operational expense offers to the resellers’ product portfolios.

For more information on our managed services, click here.

Lauren Robinette

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