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Juniper Networks’ Enterprise Business Outpaces Service Provider Segment For First Time

‘Enterprise being in the lead is really a function of the strategy and the transformation that we’ve been on as a company. And being part of that transformation is around software,’ Juniper Networks’ CEO Rami Rahim tells CRN.

Just as Juniper Networks’ CEO Rami Rahim predicted in 2021, the company’s enterprise business has outpaced Juniper’s dominant service provider business for the first time in the company’s history.

“Enterprise being in the lead is really a function of the strategy and the transformation that we’ve been on as a company. And being part of that transformation is around software,” Rahim told CRN in an interview following the company’s Q1 2022 earnings release.

Rahim in May 2021 told CRN that it wouldn’t be long before the enterprise became Juniper’s largest customer vertical. “That’s because … we’ve invested in both go-to-market and technology. And the market opportunity is massive,” he said at the time. Juniper Networks has since made good on its plans to pursue the enterprise space by “putting its money where its mouth is,” Rahim said. The company has been investing in AI and software with the enterprise market in mind.

[Related: Juniper Networks’ Rami Rahim: ‘We’re Taking Share’ With ‘Significant,’ Growing Software Business ]

The Sunnyvale, Calif.-based company pulled in $433 million in enterprise revenue, up 18 percent compared to $365 million a year ago. Juniper earned $307 million in cloud revenue, up from $207 million and $428 million in service provider revenue, compared to $438 in Q1 2021.

Going after the enterprise has also included getting all stakeholders involved with the new strategy, including its internal sales teams and channel partners.

“I have not seen this level of support from Juniper and I’ve been working with them for 12 years. It’s honestly been a 180 from the Juniper of the past,” said Nathan Eng, vice president of sales at Hammond, Indiana-based Nexum Inc., a Juniper partner.

Hammond, Ind.-based Nexum has seen significant growth in Juniper sales thanks to the more consistent channel support from the vendor for all of its partner types over the past year. That interaction, as well as Juniper’s technology offerings targeting the enterprise, is resulting in more found customer opportunities, Eng said.

“We’re almost doubling the amount of opportunities that we’re engaging Juniper on compared to this point last year. We’re surpassing our numbers with Juniper overall,” he added.

Juniper several years ago realized that future of the company depended on a more diverse customer base. The vendor had historically catered first to the service provider market.

“It’s not that we don’t love service providers, we actually adore our SP and cloud customers and we want to continue to satisfy their requirements and I think we have some tremendous differentiation for them. But we also want to build a robust growing enterprise business because that gives us the diversity to manage the challenges, cyclicality, and things of that nature that’s very typical of what a high-tech company would have to deal with,” Rahim said.

To that end, Juniper has been building out its experience-first networking portfolio through a series of acquisitions, including Mist Systems, the technology that is now Juniper’s AI engine, 128 Technology for its SD-WAN chops, Apstra, for its data center automation and intent-based networking know-how, and most recently with WiteSand for networks access control. The company also built a structure around its new go-to-market plans in the form of its leaders, including Juniper Channel Chief Gordon Mackintosh, who have been working to push the focus on the enterprise.

“We focused on execution by rolling out companywide objectives and key results. We focused on revamping our culture. And all of that has now culminated in this first quarter for the company with Enterprise as the largest vertical,” Rahim said.

Alongside Juniper’s own team, partners have been “absolutely critical” in targeting the enterprise, Rahim said. The company today is doing 80 percent of its business through the channel. “There is no way that we have the go to market scale that will achieve this company’s full potential, given the differentiation that we enjoy in the market today,” he added.

But the relationship between Juniper and its partners doesn’t stop there. Rahim said that tht partnership is growing into a model of co-innovation, especially as Juniper’s portfolio evolves away from hardware in favor of more software and cloud and partners expect APIs from their vendors that can be used to integrate their own services on top of the supplier’s platforms.

Given the company’s focus on AI, data is a huge area of opportunity for partners, Rahim said. Data is among any company’s greatest resources and harnessing that information to identify and remediate issues before they start to impact the end user experience is a big ask from customers that partners can address using Juniper’s technology, he said. Applying AI to the data via Juniper’s Mist engine can mean faster deployments of new services and fewer helpdesk tickets for solution providers.

“Data is now the most valuable resource in the world and we’re accumulating it at a massive scale,” he said. “By focusing on customer outcomes, I think [partners] can differentiate themselves and ultimately grow the top line and grow margins for their business, which is always very important to our partner.”

Rahim doesn’t believe that the growth in its enterprise business during Q1 2022 is an anomaly. “I think enterprise is truly going to be a long-term strategic growth driver for our company.”

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