Juniper: Upbeat About 2010
Juniper Networks sees a bright 2010 for its channel partners as the company continues its emphasis on solutions selling and better marketing efforts, said Frank Vitagliano (pictured), Juniper’s channel chief. Here’s a quick interview with Vitagliano, exploring where Juniper is heading in 2010.
“2009 was a pretty good year in terms of continuing to build on things we were doing,” said Frank Vitagliano, Juniper’s senior vice president, Worldwide Channels. “In February we announced the next generation of our J-Partner program, and even though that didn’t get a ton of press, it was important because it continues to provide a foundation moving forward and helps us build on a strong base.”
That strong base includes a new emphasis on solutions selling over product selling – a strategy Vitagliano believes will set Juniper partners apart from their competitors.
“We all get in that trap of talking about how good our products are, but we are focusing on solutions,” he said. “Signs are showing business is starting to come back, but what hasn’t changed is the value that a solution provider has to show to their customers and the ability to get some stickiness. In 2010 that will be more critical than ever.
“If customers have delayed or stopped spending, value the solution provider provides is more critical because the landscape is more competitive,” Vitagliano added. “We’re working to enable partners to provide that level of service – not something that’s the best switch or best firewall.”
Indeed, 2009 was a year of regrouping of sorts for Juniper’s channel efforts. In addition to the revamped J-Partner program, Juniper in October made a number of announcements designed to benefit its solution provider partners, not the least of which was a robust marketing program designed to make Juniper a household name.
“We’re spending a lot of time, energy and investment dollars to put Juniper on the map and provide air cover in the marketplace so prospective customers know who Juniper is and what we do,” Vitagliano said. “Partners wanted us to do that, and I’m excited about that. As 2010 unfolds, you will see more and more of that. The channel will benefit because we’re providing that next level of air support.”
A recognized name is easier to sell, obviously. “Want the businesspeople and IT people to know who Juniper is. We have that kind of cache with folks who know us and use our equipment. We want to reach that next level,” he said.
Also on tap for 2010 is an increased level of partner enablement and training – both facets of the revamped J-Partner program.
All of Juniper’s moves in 2009 were made with one goal in mind: to help partners become more profitable in 2010, Vitagliano said.
“Partners say the thing that matters to them the most is whether they have the ability to continually drive revenue and profit from working with Juniper as a partner. That is fundamental,” he said. “We’ve gotten high marks relative to profit, and that is my overriding message for the channel in 2010: Drive revenue and profit partnering with Juniper.”