Juniper Networks (NYSE: JNPR) has drawn nearly 1100 partners to its first global partner conference this week in Las Vegas, and used the event to announce a major restructuring of its channel program that the vendor is calling its most significant investment into the channel since the program first launched seven years ago.
Now known as Partner Advantage, Juniper’s revamped partner program fits in with the theme of the conference said Steve Pataky, vice-president of worldwide partner development, and that’s the new network. Specifically, that means how customers and partners are dealing with what Juniper sees as market “megatrends” such as the mobile Internet, cloud computing and bring your own device (BYOD), and the demands it places on the network.
“There’s a requirement for more simplified data centre architectures and secure networks, and it’s causing customers to think about architectures differently,” said Pataky. “Partners have to be able to add value when customers are seeking the best ways to deal with these megatrends.”
And consequently, Juniper’s partner program has been restructured to evolve from a product and technology focus to one more focused on network architecture and domain, such as campus and branch architecture, data centre architecture, and service providers at the core and edge.
Pataky said the program is broken into three key pillars: reach, accelerate and reward.Reach is centred around enablement, and includes the launch of personal accreditation for technical and sales staff based on the new architectures, allowing them to become specialized in areas such as data centre, campus branch, and security. There’s a new iPad app and other tools to help partners get better a making the architectural case in business value terms, and a Champions program to support partner engineers.
“It was about trying to give partners a holistic view that understands this is a big opportunity but there are challenges and investment that needs to be made, and here’s how we’ll support you,” said Pataky.
Marketing is the focus of Accelerate, with new co-marketing tools, and a global partner program concierge with downloadable customizable campaigns. There’s also InnoVAR, an education and training platform with quarterly sessions to help Juniper partners get better at marketing.
Finally, Reward is centred on a new approach to incentives. Based on partner feedback, Pataky said Juniper offered good profitability but the balance wasn’t there. Without back-end incentives, partners had to be aggressive on pricing.
“It’s about levelling that out and giving partners a better balance between front-end pricing and back-end incentive rebates,” said Pataky.
There’s also a new standardized global promotions catalogue and also a new global opportunity registration system, including accelerators to find opportunities in those focus architectures.
“There’s a major inflection point happening in the market, and it comes back to what customers are demanding. Partners are having to deal with the cloud, mobility and BYOD, and our message is its time to really build the expertise in the domains around those architectures,” said Pataky. “We’re here to support you with the new Partner Advantage, and with the right enablement and co-marketing for you to bring that message to your clients. And we’ll reward you for your success. To do that we need to be aggressive. That’s how you add value.”
Follow Jeff Jedras on Twitter: @JeffJedrasCDN.