Juniper Networks in the coming year plans to add more converged networking expertise to its channel, particularly via its partnerships with VoIP provider Avaya and distributor Catalyst Telecom.
Through Catalyst, which also represents infrastructure products from Extreme Networks and videoconferencing gear from Polycom, Juniper is working to build converged solutions and cross-train partners to sell and service those solutions, said Tushar Kothari, vice president of worldwide channels at Juniper, Sunnyvale, Calif.
“Over the next 12 months we will put in a lot of effort to create a larger portfolio of converged channel partners,” Kothari said. Executives from the five companies have met to discuss their convergence strategies and develop ways to make it easier for channel partners to do business with all of them, Kothari said.
Catalyst Telecom, a division of distributor ScanSource, Greenville, S.C., said it plans to hold customized convergence road shows this spring to help train partners on the group’s offerings. In addition, the vendors plan to hold joint channel account manager meetings, a spokesperson said.
Jeff Hiebert, CEO of ROI Networks, a solution provider in San Juan Capistrano, Calif., said the partnership plugs holes in the vendors’ individual portfolios and will help their partners build complete converged solutions.
“Extreme and Juniper, to a certain degree, are still box pushers, and Avaya has been trying to get out of that,” Hiebert said. “Collectively, their story allows the conversation to change.”
During Juniper’s analyst conference last week in Burlingame, Calif., Chairman and CEO Scott Kriens described the channel as a critical piece of Juniper’s strategy.
“We’ve made a significant investment, not only in our brand but also in our channel,” Kriens said. The company now has about 6,500 channel partners, 1,000 of whom carry technology specializations.
Another big focus area this year will be managed service providers, executives said.
Juniper already is working in several large accounts that pair MSPs with carriers to offer customized solutions to large customers.