Top 7 Highlights from Juniper’s J-Partner Summit
The VAR Guy must be getting a little bit older. He’s in Las Vegas this week for Interop as well as Juniper’s J-Partner Summit. It’s the perfect opportunity to blog (or gamble … or worse) all night — and sleep all day. But instead, he’s been tied up in meetings with technology companies. Yes, he still has to post details of his exclusive interview with Juniper CEO Scott Kriens from May 21. And he also has several Interop meetings to recap for you. To get started, here are seven highlights from Juniper’s partner summit.
7. Time to Specialize: At first glance, The VAR Guy is no longer impressed with partner program specializations. Just about every networking company now offers specializations in such areas as wireless, security, routing, etc. But Juniper digs a little deeper with its own services specializations, which now cover such areas as Service Provider Infrastructure, Enterprise Networking, Advanced Security (Secure Access, Intrusion Detection/Prevention, Firewall/VPN), Data Center Acceleration and WAN Acceleration.
6. The Sound of Silence: As a parting gift, Juniper gave The VAR Guy “Quiet Place” noise-cancellation headphones. Although The VAR Guy can’t accept expensive gifts that would threaten to influence his editorial integrity, he did accept the headphones. Frankly, there’s a lot of noise at Interop that isn’t worth hearing.
5. Nice Margins: Unlike many networking VARs, Juniper’s partners continue to generate healthy double-digit hardware margins, according to Frank Vitagliano, VP for worldwide channels and U.S. enterprise operations. Vitagliano wasn’t suggesting that your should focus on hardware margins alone. Naturally, you need a big dose of services in there. It’s safe to say the IBM veteran doesn’t miss the PC market — where many resellers spent far too much time complaining about slim desktop hardware margins rather than moving into services.
4. Loyalty Pays: Juniper plans to reward loyal partners with various incentives. The strategy sounds similar to frequent flier miles in the airline industry as well as the American Express strategy (“Membership Has Its Privileges”). The VAR Guy is intrigued.
3. Keep An Eye on Applications: Juniper announced an access control partnership with Microsoft. Don’t be surprised if Juniper pursues more partnerships with application providers. During an interview, CEO Scott Kriens described how the worlds of applications and networking are coming together. Through partnerships, Juniper could accelerate that convergence.
2. Quiet Leadership: Kriens doesn’t seem to get caught up in hype. He reminded The VAR Guy of HP CEO Mark Hurd: The type of executive who’s more than happy to focus on business strategy and execution rather than media opportunities and vision statements. The VAR Guy isn’t suggesting that one type of leader is better than another. But in the world of networking, too many executives have tried–and failed–to steal the media spotlight from Cisco CEO John Chambers. Kriens’ low-key approach to leadership is a welcome alternative in crowded market.
1. Staying Focused: Most of the hype in Vegas this week involves unified communications, wireless and mobile computing. Yet Juniper avoided all that noise and remained focused on its core areas of expertise: Enterprise networking, access and security. During an interview, Kriens mentioned several times that Juniper needs to stay focused. By 2010, Kriens believes that Juniper is targeting a total market opportunity of about $20 billion annually.