Juniper Networks’ Rami Rahim: ‘It Won’t Be Long Before Enterprise Is Our Largest Vertical’
With Juniper’s enterprise orders growing more than 20 percent year over year, partners have never been more critical. ‘Practically all of our enterprise business, in one way, shape or form, leverages partners,’ Juniper CEO Rami Rahim tells CRN.
Juniper Networks, a tech giant with a history in the service provider space, has had its sights set on the enterprise as its core strategy for growth over the last few years. Now, those bets are paying off, according to Juniper executives.
The Sunnyvale, Calif.-based company has seen its cloud and enterprise revenues tick up over the last several financial quarters, while service provider revenues are on the decline. Growth in enterprise, said Juniper Networks’ CEO Rami Rahim, is a matter of strategy.
“It’s not going to be long before the enterprise is in fact, our largest customer vertical in this company. That’s because … we’ve invested in both go-to-market and technology. And the market opportunity is massive,” Rahim told CRN in an exclusive interview.
In Q1 2021, which ended March 31, Juniper Networks reported strong momentum in its Cloud and Enterprise verticals, with cloud orders growing nearly 30 percent year over year and enterprise orders growing more than 20 percent year over year. Enterprise revenues increased 1.3 percent during the first quarter compared to the same quarter a year ago.
Despite the carpeted enterprise market segment being virtually unavailable to Juniper and its partners over the last year due to campus and office shutdowns across the globe as a result of the COVID-19 pandemic, enterprise revenues continued to trend upward. That’s because Juniper’s portfolio of so-called “experience-first” networking solutions and some of the recent acquisitions the company has made — namely, 128 Technology for SD-WAN and Apstra for network automation — is turning the heads of partners and end customers, Rahim said.
“I don’t think we have had this level of technology differentiation for the enterprise ever, at Juniper. We’ve invested in our go to market organization. In fact, we started with doing this several years ago, with an eye on the enterprise, and it’s paying off for us. And we’re investing in our partners to make sure that they are equipped to basically take these technologies into the market and to do so very profitably,” he said.
“Juniper’s core prowess in carrier for all these years, is now showing up for the enterprise,” said Mark Sollazo, CEO and co-founder of SynerComm Inc., an Elite Juniper partner. “I’m a firm believer that if you’re doing carrier work and can bring that down to the enterprise level, you really have something there.”
That’s because the vendor’s technology is enabling customers to build multi-cloud and hybrid cloud environments without having everything in a public environment, which gives businesses an agile, cloud experience with a little more control over their own environments, Sollazo said.
SynerComm, a 31-year-old Brookfield, Wis.-based security-focused solution provider and Juniper’s top partner in North America in 2020, had its biggest sales year in 2020. Sollazo attributed the growth his company saw last year not to the pandemic, which forced companies to make unexpected IT investments, but to Juniper’s channel investments.
“[Juniper] has been really pouring the coals down on their partner program and making investments with people like us,” Sollazo said. Investments such as rebates for partners for net new customers, as well as technologies like AI, multi-cloud, and SD-WAN, he added.
“I think Juniper has helped us delight our customers and is helping our customers achieve their outcomes by helping us reduce and collapse the sales cycle, especially in the AI-driven projects,” Sollazo said.
Juniper’s channel chief, Gordon Mackintosh, told CRN that there’s been a lot of excitement around Juniper’s technology and the company’s newly-revamped Juniper Partner Advantage program (JPA). Mackintosh in December revealed that Juniper would be investing more than $100 million in 2021 into channel partners, which includes new tools, resources, and rebates and incentives.
“We saw a 3x increase in the amount of partners receiving rebates In Q1, so it wasn’t a surprise that we also saw a ginormous increase in our deal registration business. It grew 120 percent year over year, which was even beyond my expectations. And I’m a pretty positive guy,” Mackintosh told CRN in April.
The increase in deal registration boosted new logos by 200 percent, he added. “We asked for the partners to be bold and to invest with us. And clearly the ones that are [have seen] significant increases in growth rates, and stronger than ever before partner probability.”
Juniper’s partners have been “absolutely critical” to the growth of the company’s enterprise business, Rahim said. ”Practically all of our enterprise business, in one way, shape or form, leverages partners.”