Juniper Hopes New Channel Program Says It All: Partner Advantage

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Juniper Networks kicked off it first-ever global partner conference in Las Vegas Tuesday with a reiteration of its key message: that cloud computing and mobility are reshaping the IT buying landscape and that Juniper's architectural vision will best equip partners for the challenges wrought by the data center, the campus and branch office, and other areas of the transforming network.

Addressing about 1,050 partners on-site and thousands more via streaming video, Juniper also said it had revamped several pieces of its partner program under a new offering called Partner Advantage and that it would launch new sales incentives and marketing resources representing its biggest-ever investment in channel partners.

In the eight months since Juniper's last Americas partner conference, Juniper has seen its share of stumbles, from partner grumbling over performance issues with its SRX series services gateways -- mentioned on stage by Bob Muglia, executive vice president, software solutions, and Stefan Dyckerhoff, executive vice president, platform systems -- to a round of layoffs in the fall and a recent warning that its fourth-quarter 2011 revenue would come up short due to weak service provider demand.

Still, said Kevin Johnson, Juniper's CEO, the company is comfortably on a growth course. Juniper overall grew 15 percent year over year, and Johnson said its partner ecosystem had grown 10 percent, with certifications for Junos, Juniper's operating system, also having increased since the previous year.

QFabric, Juniper's big bet for data center transformation, is among several newer Juniper products seeing traction, Johnson said. More than 35 million mobile devices are now protected by Juniper's Junos Pulse security and management software and more than 690 organizations are using Juniper's Junos SDK to build applications.

"We are at a point where Juniper has the richest product portfolio in the history of our company," Johnson said.

Lauren Flaherty, Juniper's executive vice president and chief marketing officer, said Juniper had capitalized on the gains made by its massive marketing revamp a year earlier. The attacks on Juniper by rivals such as Cisco -- which took aim at Juniper with a multifaceted marketing campaign last fall -- only serve to validate Juniper's relevance, Flaherty said. Inbounds to Juniper's corporate Web site actually spiked following that campaign, she said.

"We are the challenger brand in this category," Flaherty told partners. "The market is ready; the market is eager for choice and alternatives."

NEXT: Juniper's Retooled Partner Program

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