You want to move on, but how do you take your partners with you?

We’ve seen some seismic shifts in the IT channel in recent years.

Last week we sat down with Juniper Networks’ global channels leader, Gordon Mackintosh, at the vendor’s Partner Executive Forum in Madrid. There, we talked about the company’s plans to pull back from its legacy service provider business and pursue market share in the enterprise.

The planned change presents two potentially interesting facts for partners. One is that more than 98 percent of Juniper’s enterprise business goes through partners. Two is that the firm wants to double its enterprise business over the next three years.

To achieve that goal, the firm is investing more in salespeople, brand awareness, and lead generation. “When others are starting to pull back, we’re going to be investing,” said Mackintosh.

To date, the strategy is working. Juniper’s enterprise businesses have grown at a 20 percent CAGR compared to service providers and cloud at eight percent, reflecting the firm’s transition away from its service provider business.

But such a transition calls for a massive change to how the company markets itself – not just to customers, but to partners too. And it will be interesting to see how Juniper enables its partner base to switch to selling into the enterprise.

We spoke with Rich Butcher, UK&I MD at pan-European Juniper partner, Nomios, to learn more. The firm has a deep heritage in the service provider market, but is growing its enterprise business alongside Juniper.

“We’ve actually been battling not to lose the skills in service provider, but take those skills and develop our enterprise team,” he explained.

“The UK partner business has very much grown up in the last three and a half years for the large and medium sized enterprise. We focus on service providers for about 50 percent of the business, but the enterprise part of our business is the bit that’s growing mostly — in security and automation.”

The enablement aspect for historical Juniper partners like Nomios will be intrinsic to Juniper’s efforts in the enterprise. Mackintosh has said there will be no big enterprise partner recruitment campaign. Instead, Juniper plans to help its existing partners pursue new opportunities.

“I think it’s more important for us to take our existing base into that partner-future status, as well as finding partners that are already there,” said Mackintosh.

“We’re uniquely positioned in some ways where we have quite a lot of customers that are now becoming partners for us. We used to sell them routing in the service provider, tier one, tier two space, MSPs as well. They are becoming channel partners for us, as well. It’s about picking the right partners that are capable of delivering outcome solutions for the customers.

“A lot of those partners I mentioned do have an SP ‘sell-to’ heritage as well. So they get as-a-service, they get consumption, they get recurring revenue, all of that.”

There is clearly a window of opportunity in the enterprise when it comes to the momentum around network upgrades, with transformation being driven by automation and digitization. It will be worth watching how Juniper handles the transition among its partner base.

“I think we’ll show up differently at events. I think will show up differently with our marketing. You’ll see us increasing our brand awareness,” added the exec, which is evident with Juniper’s partnership with Formula One team, Aston Martin.

Mackintosh added, “every partner I’ve met so far seems to move from questioning Juniper in the enterprise to no longer thinking we’re a question mark. That we are an absolutely clear partner in this space, and they’re investing with us because they see the opportunity.”

With the channel continuing to change and evolve at a rapid pace, this is one to keep an eye on.

Glenn Robertson

Glenn Robertson

CEO of The Channel Agency: Purechannels
Founder of Nuzoo and Viewpoint | Channel Chief | Agency Leader | CRN A-Lister