Now Past $2 Billion, Juniper Looks To '06

Hoping to capitalize on the momentum of its emerging technologies and growing partner program, Juniper executives painted a rosy picture of the company's prospects during its annual analyst day on Thursday.

Juniper welcomed media, technical and financial analysts to the event in Silicon Valley, and also broadcast the proceedings on the Internet. Led by CEO Scott Kriens, the company's officers outlined their achievements of the past year and their plans for 2006.

Juniper's revenue passed the $2 billion mark last year, the only one of the more than 1,000 venture-funded companies founded in 1996 to have reached that level. Still, Kriens cited the company's 30 percent brand awareness (from a recent market survey Juniper conducted) as evidence that there's still room to grow in the $20 billion networking-infrastructure market.

"The brand-awareness number shows that we haven't reached a lot of people yet, but that and the size of the market also means that we have a lot more people left to reach," he said, adding that 90 percent of the respondents to the market survey said they'd be willing to put Juniper on the short list of vendors to buy technology from.

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The emergence of services in 2006 is expected to be as influential to Juniper's business as it is to other companies.

"The need for new revenue is causing the emergence of new business models," says Kim Perdikou, general manager of Juniper's service provider business unit. "This requires next-generation converged IP networks that can offer multiple services, but there's still a great deal of uncertainty about which services will be the best ones."

To help its partners determine this, Juniper executives are bolstering their J-Partner program by facilitating solution alliances between channel and vendor partners and end users. For example, the company has teamed channel partners with Verizon's NetSec division and Daimler Chrysler in a project designed to secure the automaker's networks.

"We've increased the capabilities of J-Partner to arm partners with the knowledge they need to deliver value to customers," says Tushar Kothari, vice president of worldwide channels.

The company also has built up its distributor relationships, but by working with key distributors rather than just adding them indiscriminately.

"Our intent is to have the least number of distributors that can provide the coverage we require, but still do it well, because we don't want them to compete on price," says Donna Grothjan, Juniper's vice president of channels.

Juniper is taking a similar approach with its solution providers. Although J-Partner now has more than 6,500 participants, solution providers still must be invited to apply for the program. Bob Bruce, Juniper's vice president of Americas channels, says this format helps the company be more productive for each partner and customer.

"Our value chain is taking a fundamental turn for the better," he says. "Our core tenet is to focus on how we engage with partners in the marketplace. We don't want them to think of us as a homogeneous entity, but one with lots of potential entry points into the program."

This philosophy, Kriens said, is part of Juniper's corporate goal of evolving from a company into a franchise.

"The difference," he said, "between a company and a franchise is that a franchise can begin to set the buying agenda for customers."