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Even if it means another executive shake-up to swallow, solution providers Thursday gave their nod of approval in response to Juniper's plans to merge its channel and commercial sales organizations.
"Anytime a company aligns its channel with its field [sales] organization, it's better," said Bill Xydias, director of marketing at Integration Partners, a Lexington, Mass.-based solution provider and Juniper partner. "It's promising. And, it also allows them to be more focused, because what happens is [the channel and field sales organizations] tend to create these teams that are independent of one another, and they have their own mission or marching order. But when they align, it means everyone is working toward the same direction."
Juniper on Thursday announced a series of changes to its channel organization, including plans to combine its channel division and commercial sales division into one, under the leadership of David Helfer, the company's newly appointed vice president of worldwide channels and commercial.
Helfer, whose previous role at Juniper was vice president of channels, distribution and alliances for Europe, Middle East and Africa, is replacing Juniper's former worldwide channel chief Emilio Umeoka. Juniper said Umeoka -- one of several high-level Juniper executives to have left the company over the past several months -- made a personal decision to leave.
In addition to assuming Umeoka's responsibilities as global channel chief, Helfer will oversee Juniper's commercial sales unit, which, he said, largely targets enterprise accounts through a "territory-based model." Helfer told CRN it made sense to blend the channel and commercial sales organizations, given the increased "synergies" Juniper noticed between the two.
"What we noticed is that, over the past couple of years, the commercial teams and the partner teams had so many synergies," Helfer said. "We wanted to bring the worldwide function and the strategy function and the execution function together, at a global level."
As Juniper's channel and commercial sales divisions combine, Juniper said partners will start to notice increased collaboration between partner account managers and commercial account managers, in which both groups will work hand-in-hand with partners to target specific geographic territories.
And most Juniper partners, it seems, are applauding the move.
John O'Shea, senior vice president of Vology, a Tampa, Fla.-based solution provider, said greater alignment between Juniper's channel and commercial sales organization could make it faster, and easier, for partners to do business with Juniper.
"If it means less people that we have to get involved with to get a resolution, that's always a good thing," O'Shea said. "I have seen, in the past, some organizations go through his type of shift where they have recognized that perhaps ... its sales organization isn't working seamlessly with partners, so I welcome it in that regard.