Juniper Networks Partner Conference: Some Final Thoughts
I’m back in my secret lair here in San Francisco after my trip to Las Vegas for the Juniper Networks Global Partner Conference, and while I was laid low for a day thanks to an unfortunately timed bug, I wanted to share some slightly belated final thoughts drawn from my time on the conference floor, conversations I had with Juniper executives, and just some stray observations.
In no particular order:
- The conference had more than 1,050 partners in attendance, with 1,300 more tuning in for the live webcast. And befitting this event’s status as Juniper’s first-ever global partner conference, VP of Worldwide Partner Marketing Luanne Tierney estimated that 400 of the flesh-and-blood attendees were from the European sales region, with a hundred or so from APAC.
- Former Microsoft Server and Tools Business head Bob Muglia made his Juniper partner conference debut, hyping the software side of his new employer’s business — especially mobile device security solution Junos Pulse.
- My final experience at the conference was listening to a panel of Juniper customers as they explained where their hosts fit into their business plans. Most of it was as you’d expect — they all see meeting mobile security challenges as a major trend in 2012, and Juniper’s Junos OS provides the network foundation needed to meet them. But intriguingly, despite plenty of discussion on the subject last year, none of the panelists said that managed services were a major part of their business.
- But on that same note, something I did hear repeated was the concept that Juniper partners are attempting to sell “solutions, not boxes.” As the margin on hardware gets harder to find, VARs and service providers are trying to find ways to boost that value for customers.
- Finally, Juniper VP Steve Pataky said as part of the much-touted rebranding of the partner program into Juniper Partner Advantage, the Juniper Champion program will be opening up to every single engineer in its channel. Previously, he said, it was an opportunity usually reserved for the largest SI partners, but now Juniper wants to make sure that expertise is rewarded no matter where it’s found.
And that, as they say, is that. Something I have to say: while I was happy to come to Las Vegas instead of Phoenix for this year’s Juniper partner event, the message really seems to have been a repeat from 2011. It’s not that surprising, given that last year was the first time that an essentially brand-new channel management team took the stage.
But last year it was mobility, cloud and the importance of marketing. This time around, it was more of the same, but bigger and with more solid plans instead of promises. Well, that’s progress for you.