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Do you have the executive team in place that you need at this point? One thing we've seen from Juniper is a couple of folks moving into different roles. Kim Perdikou is one example, and Frank Vitagliano is now focused on Americas channels, and you have new blood in too. It all seems strategic; how do you envision continuing to change the executive flowchart?
Since I've been here, I've been trying to sequence the changes we've been making. I started more on the sales and marketing and services side, so you saw people like Mike Rose [executive vice president, service, support and operations] join, Gerri Elliott [executive vice president, strategic alliances] join and Lauren Flaherty join.
Within their organizations, they're aligning resources, so in the last six months, I've been shifting my focus more on the business groups side. After we shipped the MX-3D router, we were at a point where separating the systems part of our business to create Junos Ready Software was a very logical move. Having Kim come join the office of the CEO helped me get more bandwidth with our key service provider customers, and we brought in Stefan Dyckerhoff, and expanded Manoj's [Leelanivas] role.
These are very thoughtful, orchestrated moves we're making. I think we're on a journey, and there are more moves that will come, but we're trying to sequence the timing of it to key milestones. In any healthy growing organization, deploying talent the right ways is a key responsibility and I expect you'll see more of that from us.
Last year, your message to partners was Juniper as the challenger brand, and this year, it's about being the innovator as opposed to the status quo or the commoditizer. If Juniper gets where it needs to be a year from now, what do you think you'll be telling partners? What do you hope to be telling partners with Stratus on the horizon?
The New Network approach is something we believe will unfold over the next decade: that's a 10-year vision for where we're taking the technology. A year from now, I expect to come back and remind people of that and talk about the progress we've delivered over the past year and set the stage for what's going to come the next year. This year is consistent with what we communicated a year ago, being a challenger and an innovator.
This year we're also making a big step to framing our vision around the new network, and that's with license agreements for our Junos SDK. We have hundreds of partners that have expressed interest in being a part of this, so next year, expect us to deliver everything we've talked about and lay out what partners can expect from us next. If we do that well, our partners' business will grow and we will grow, too.
Are partners getting the software piece as you need them to? A lot of the partners are still very much networking resellers, and the networking and software worlds, for some of them, have been siloed in the past. Are they getting there?
I'm a believer that every partner is unique, and every partner has a business plan for how they deploy resources and what they focus on. I'm very respectful of the fact that we have to provide the tools and resources to support our partners' business plans. There are going to be some partners very focused on services and software, and some focused on broad solutions and reselling systems.
I think we see a market, though, for those partners that can not only sell systems but fulfill orders for systems and wrap incremental value-add around those systems, whether that value-add is in services, software or integrating multiple components. The partners I've spoken to here are focused on how they can expand their value proposition and commented on the fact that we're providing them a wide range of ways to do that.
In your ongoing partner conversations, what are they asking you for most often?
A year ago, the request I got the most was for more marketing air cover. This year, a lot of them are commenting, "You guys delivered on that, and look at what the company has done over the past year, and hey, are there ways that I can participate in that marketing air cover?" You look at things like the new Marketing Resource Center that was announced [this week], and that's intended to help fulfill that need.
Also, we talk often about this concept of an architectural disruption taking place, and partners are saying to me that people need to understand that more, and do you have the sales training to help us do that.
"Is the recession over" is kind of a slippery question, but what indicators do you look at that tells you things are looking up, if they are?
We had a strong Q4 in 2009 and in Q1 of this year, we showed 19 percent year over year growth. That's obviously off a low comparable for Q1 of 2009, but the general perspective is that the economic situation is better than it was a year ago, though the pace and trajectory of this recovery will vary by geography. I think there's good reason to be cautious. The indicators are positive to where we were a year ago, but the realization is that this'll probably be a long recovery at a macro level.
That said, the value proposition we have around the new network resonates. Customers say, "We've got to find ways to solve networking problems and lower TCO and the status quo is just not going to be an option." The approach taken by the commoditizer doesn't provide the solution, either, so what we're able to do is provide better economics and better customer experience, too.
Service providers are buying, but are enterprises buying too? Partners are trying to get a handle on whether enterprises are investing now or waiting further quarters. What do the tea leaves tell you?
Well, enterprise business for Juniper in 2009 grew 20 percent in one of the worst economic climates in my lifetime. So the message to partners is: place a bet now, and place it on the innovator. This is the future. This where it's growing. We're a growth story, and certainly much of that growth is coming from the enterprise. The growth agenda in the enterprise is very strong.