New Juniper Channel Chief: 'We Are A Stable Organization'

Despite the steady stream of executive departures that shook the Juniper channel organization in 2013, new U.S. channel chief Jonathan Belcher says he's more confident than ever in Juniper's channel ranks and that he plans on wasting no time driving new partner opportunities -- specifically around professional services and SDN -- in 2014.

"We had change last year -- a fair amount of it. But we are a stable organization," Belcher told CRN in an interview Thursday at Juniper's Global Partner Conference, taking place this week in Las Vegas.

"Between [Worldwide Channel Chief] David Helfer, [Vice President of Worldwide Partner Programs and Development] Doug Erickson, myself and (EMEA Enterprise Sales Head] Gerard Allison, there are 40-plus years of Juniper experience on this partner team," Belcher continued. "We are bringing that together to get down to the basics."

[Related: Juniper Names New U.S. Channel Chief Just Days Before Partner Conference ]

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Belcher, who was appointed Juniper's vice president of Americas partner sales just last week, steps into the U.S. channel chief role following a year in which Juniper saw at least seven channel executives leave the company. Among them was Belcher's predecessor Chris Jones, who left in November for Avaya, along with Helfer's predecessor and former Juniper Worldwide Channel Chief Emilio Umeoka.

But Belcher said these executive changes are no reason for partners to be concerned about the stability of Juniper's channel organization or Juniper's general commitment to the channel.

"Change is inevitable. Every company deals with it. But I think on the Juniper partner team, what we have demonstrated, is that we have the bench strength," Belcher said. "We have the talent that’s been here at the company, we've been working as a cohesive team for a number of years, and we are able to deal with this."

John O'Shea, senior vice president of Vology, a Tampa, Fla.-based solution provider and Juniper partner, said he feels like the "dust has settled" in terms of all the recent turnover in Juniper's channel organization, especially with the appointment of Belcher.

"Quite candidly, that was one of the things we wanted to understand when we came to this event," O'Shea told CRN. "The nice thing is that we've seen some familiar faces from other parts of Juniper that are stepping into new roles, and we were happy to see some people that we had built very solid relationships are still here."

Belcher, who prior to taking the U.S. channel chief role headed up the channel organization for Juniper's Asia Pacific unit, emphasized his goal of refocusing "on the basics," or finding new ways to increase not only the profitability of partners but also the quality of the relationship they have with Juniper.

NEXT: Helping Partners Go 'All In' With Juniper

To this end, Juniper on Wednesday announced a new Single Opportunity Registration process that essentially protects partners that are first to register a deal from being outbid by other Juniper partners.

"It really helps us say that, when we are in on a deal with a partner, we are all in," Juniper's Belcher said.

Belcher also said he plans on focusing on Juniper partners' services capabilities in 2014, nudging more solution providers toward the new professional and support services specializations Juniper rolled out last year.

"Partners with the right services capabilities always end up producing a great customer experience," he said. "And the customer always comes back for that service experience, as opposed to the label on the box."

Lastly, Belcher said he hopes to create new opportunities for partners around Juniper's software-defined networking technologies, including Contrail, the company's SDN controller. He said, for starters, he plans to help simplify the way in which partners communicate the value proposition of SDN to their customers.

Belcher added that soon-to-launch Juniper security products for branch and campus networks will also represent another big opportunity.