At its first-ever Global Partner Conference in Las Vegas, Juniper Networks this week announced significant changes to its partner program, including a new name and brand for the program.
The company called the launch of Partner Advantage, its new name for its partner program, its biggest investment in the solution provider channel since its initial program launch seven years ago.
After a year of change in 2011, which saw the company introduce a new worldwide channel chief in Emilio Umeoka and a new channel marketing chief in Luanne Tierney, the company has a new focus for 2012, according to Steve Pataky, vice president of worldwide partner development at Juniper.
“This is the year of execution,” Pataky said, quoting Umeoka’s keynote speech at the event. “It’s the beginning of a new year, we’ve got a new roadmap out there through Q3, and now it’s up to us and to our partners to execute against it.”
The biggest change under the new program is a shift from a product-focused partner program to a focus on architectures – major opportunities and fronts on which Juniper is betting. Pataky said the shift to an architectural focus represents a major shift in what customers are looking for.
“Al the mega-trends, all the things that our service provider and enterprise customers are grappling with, are demanding that partners add value in different ways,” he said. “We’re moving away from products and technologies and focusing on platforms.”
Those architectural platforms include:
- Campus and Branch, Data Centre and WAN under Enterprise;
- Edge and Core under Service Providers; and
- Two specializations (Access Acceleration and Consumer and Enterprise Devices) that cut across both.
Pataky said that details of the program change are still being worked out, but the plan is to have the full program rolled out by the end of the first quarter, with all program elements being introduced by the end of the calendar year. But the intention is for the program to retain its three-tier structure, with partners being divided by the depths of their expertise around those architectures.
The company is dividing changes to its partner program under three major pillars.
Reach: A variety of new products, including new personal accreditations for partner professionals and a Champions program for partner sales and technical teams. Interestingly, Juniper has announced that by the end of the second quarter, it will launch a partner app for the iPad, allowing partners access to showcase the company’s new architectures and reference designs underneath those architectures while in the field.
Accelerate: This pillar largely includes the marketing programs that have been built up over the course of the last year by Tierney and her team, including co-marketing campaigns, though leadership efforts and a push to get partners more involved in using social media to promote their offerings, a longtime Tierney passion. “We want to elevate the conversation that partners have around these architectures,” Pataky said.
Reward: Pataky said that in the second half of the year, the company will introduce a new global incentive program that will combine up-front and back-end rebates, as well as promotions, deal registration, and an accelerator that promises additional benefits to partners that find new opportunities underneath the company’s focused architectures. “If you’re going to invest to enable yourself [as a partner] around these architectures, and you’re going to go after customers with us, we need to reward you for that,” Pataky said.
It’s appropriate that these significant changes came as the company hosted its first-ever worldwide partner conference at Mandalay Bay in Las Vegas this week. The company drew 1,100 worldwide partners. Pataky said that number is about half partners from the Americas, and one quarter each from its EMEA and Asia Pacific markets. In total, 66 there are partners from 66 countries at the event.
Pataky said the company has also brought in an additional 1,300 worldwide partners for the major keynotes and sessions at the event via the Web.