Juniper Pushes Partner Profitability

Networking vendor adds new resources and tools to its portfolio, including a worldwide engine for sales leads and a planned branding initiative. The company says it wants to enhance profitability for channel partners.

A core strategy to improve opportunities for channel partners to make money is driving Juniper Networks Inc.’s recent addition to its portfolio of new resources and tools, a worldwide engine for sales leads and an upcoming branding initiative.

“Partner enablement is the central part of our engagement with the channel,” said Steve Pataky, Juniper vice president of channel development and programs. “If you really take the enablement task to heart you find ways to take cost out for the partner to save them money in the ways they implement, which can be passed on to the customer.”

At Juniper’s recent annual partner meeting, the vendor rolled out three tools and a training course to help the channel educate customers on the Junos operating system, compile product information, configure installations and learn more about designing and constructing its network infrastructure solutions.

That announcement complemented the introduction last month of a new services specialization designed to help channel partners implement the vendor’s technologies. The offering provides partners with a detailed, reference playbook for designing, developing and deploying Juniper’s products and services.

Juniper engineers and some high-level channel partners collaborated on the effort, the first of three such specializations the vendor plans to bring out this year. The remaining two specializations concern technical support and education, the latter aimed at the Junos operating system. The specializations underscore Juniper’s intention to urge mid-level partners towards enterprise sales using profitable services in those implementations.

“We have built a purposeful set of specializations,” Pataky said. “We don’t have a huge professional services organization. Our deliberate philosophy has been for the channel to provide service, and a big piece is the enablement of services [for the channel].”

“Our job is to do a little of the heavy lifting to identify complementary products and services ahead of time for partners,” says Pataky. “We recognize that our products and technology is just a piece of the overall solution that the partner presents to the customer—the idea is to help them highlight their value-add.”

Pataky estimated that Juniper’s partners, on average, generate margins on equipment ranging from 15 percent to 30 percent. With the services value-add factored in, partner profitability can increase substantially, he said.

“The partner [understands] that at the end of the day not only are we driving good transactional profitability but we encourage them to push their own brand, which accelerates the multiplier for their business,” Pataky said. “Our assumption from day one has been that volume follows value. Those that add the most value drive the biggest volume.”

Juniper’s channel strategy has gained acceptance with its partners. Dave Gilden, a partner at Acuity Solutions, a Tampa, Fl-based provider of customized network security solutions aimed at SMB and government, said  Juniper field engagements follow "a partner led, solutions-oriented approach.  This enables us to demonstrate our value-add to the customer, and ultimately leads to a more profitable transaction.”

Juniper also is tying value-add to the opportunity by bringing out a worldwide sales lead generation engine open to all levels of partners. “One of the best ways to enable partners is to get opportunity into their hands,” Pataky said. “We’re trying to help partners to accelerate their business through a variety of business builder-type programs."  He added that the vendor expects 80 percent of generated leads will go to its top 20 percent of channel partners.

Later this year, Juniper expects to launch a new marketing effort aimed at further developing the Juniper brand, particularly its Junos operating system. In past months, the vendor has focused on training and certification but in the coming period it will turn its attention toward “driving the value of Junos,” Pataky said. “We will look for more high profile ways to get the Juniper brand, particularly Junos, into the marketplace."

TAGS: security,SMB,Juniper,technical support

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