CRN Exclusive: Juniper Revamps Partner Program With 'Laser Focus' On Driving Cloud Execution

Juniper Networks is striving to evolve its channel community by revamping its partner program with new incentives and specializations aimed at driving cloud sales.

"We've created these cloud specializations both for existing partners who want to evolve their business models as well as born-in-the-cloud-type partners to be able to leverage the assets we put in the [Amazon Web Services] and [Microsoft] Azure clouds," said Brian Rosenberg, vice president of global partners and alliances for Juniper, in an interview with CRN.

"We've made the incentive plan in our program much richer -- so double-digit-type incentives on data center and security, and up to 3X on our cloud products. It's a really exciting time for us to put forward a strategy to show our partners that we're serious about making sure we're laser-focused on execution," Rosenberg said.

The Sunnyvale, Calif.-based vendor is launching two new cloud specializations -- Cloud Integrator and Cloud First -- with a host of rebates and new market development funding.

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The Cloud Integrator specialization is designed for partners to enhance their support for customers' private and cloud solution deployments.

Andrew Fisher, founder and CEO of New York-based solution provider Myriad Supply, Juniper's 2017 East Region Partner of the Year, said his company is itching to sign up for the Cloud Integrator specialization.

"They're putting their money where their mouth is in terms of rebates. For example, the Cloud Integrator rebates, they are encouraging and incentivizing us to sell virtual SRX, virtual MX, Contrail and AppFormix. You're definitely seeing where they're encouraging us to really push those software-based virtual appliances and the [software-defined networking] Contrail offering," said Fisher.

Cloud Integrator is aimed at traditional Juniper partners like Myriad who are looking to build a cloud practice around customers building private and hybrid clouds, he said.

Cloud First, meanwhile, is aimed at born-in-the-cloud partners seeking to expand their expertise in secure cloud infrastructure, along with public cloud deployments and relationships with cloud providers.

Compared with the company's security and data center specialization rebates, Juniper's new cloud rebates are three times the dollar amount, according to Helda Lopes, head of Global Partner Programs and marketing at Juniper.

"We're putting a large incentive around cloud to help our partners grow faster. One is new MDF so we can go out and develop opportunities together," said Juniper's Lopes. "The largest investment is the back-end rebate … we are doing three times the payment out on cloud business."

Juniper also is revamping its specializations on emerging opportunities including security, data center and software development.

Myriad Supply's Fisher is in favor of Juniper replacing general rebates based on overall sales achievement with rebates based on specializations. The new approach aligns with Myriad Supply's strategy to push sales around cloud, security and SDN, he said.

"They really want partners to drive new business and are really making a huge push in security and cloud," said Fisher.

As part of the revamped program, Juniper is simplifying the core requirements to achieve a specialization.

The company is lowering the requirement for the number of certified Juniper engineers a solution provider must have in order to achieve a specialization, according to Lopes. The company also is lowering the threshold for the percentage of services revenues needed to obtain a specialization, she said.

"We're making it easier and more cost-efficient to be specialized with Juniper," said Lopes.

The revamped partner program will become effective Jan. 1, 2018, following a year that was focused on security and cloud innovation.

Juniper acquired AppFormix, a cloud operations management and optimization startup, in December 2016 to give its cloud portfolio a shot in the arm. The vendor also recently unveiled Juniper Contrail Security, a new security and microsegmentation offering specifically designed to allow enterprises and Software-as-a-Service cloud providers to protect applications running in multiple cloud environments.

"The innovation agenda has never been stronger," said Juniper's Rosenberg. "Our confidence and ability to execute on security, the investments and confidence around cloud are at an all-time high. It's time to get on board."

In August, Juniper acquired security analytics software startup Cyphort to strengthen its advanced threat prevention product, Sky ATP, with an enhanced offering for both on-premises and cloud.

"Juniper wants to reward innovative partners that are bringing on new business -- ones that are investing in the key areas like security and cloud," said Myriad Supply's Fisher, whose company is ranked No. 182 on CRN's 2017 Solution Provider 500 list. "With this new program in 2018, we're very bullish about Juniper and our future with them."