Published: August 27th, 2016

Juniper Networks has re -worked the top channel partner level of its program in new categories to try and drive more software and services profitability for solution providers.

Matt Hurley, channel chief of Juniper, told CDN the Sunnyvale, Calif.-based networking vendor is transitioning itself into more of a software player. He added that Juniper is working on monetizing the value of its software and would also like to be services led with the channel.

With this new focus the Juniper Advantage Program’s top tier called Elite now has five categories. They are Next Gen, Rising Star, Federal Partner which is now strictly for the U.S. market, Cloud Services Partner, and Volume Partner, again only for the U.S. market.

Matt Hurley
Matt Hurley

“What’s behind this strategy are professional certifications that will help partners lead with software and services. This will help them work better inside our new program,” Hurley said.

The five new categories is a large initiative for the company that is run by a Canadian in Rami Rahim as its CEO.

Hurley and the channel team at Juniper have built three pillars for the newly imagined channel program.

1. Enablement;

2. Ease of doing business; and

3. Growth programs featuring marketing and digital demand plans.

There will be tier requirements in the new Juniper partner program of which the Canadian tier is lower that the U.S. one, but modest channel investment on the services side will be a basic obligation from Juniper.

“We are changing from a traditional ‘I sell hardware’ to a more complex but exciting new solutions sell with hardware and cloud-based services. Its selling technology inside a managed service,” Hurley added.

The Next Gen category is a first for Juniper as its tries to address the new consumption models being used in the marketplace today. Hurley said partners in this area will have specialized services skills such as DevOps or be in a niche vertical like financial services. Next Gen tries to capture that services-only type of partner that is focused on software and will have a set of services for customers.

With Rising Star Juniper intends to make direct investments in MDF in the Elite layer. The Rising Star is a smaller type of partner who also has specialized skills and is investing its own dollars with Juniper. “The Rising Star is pushing the envelope of innovation and showing real promise,” Hurley said.

What Juniper intends to do with Rising Star partners is to work with them in creating business plans that over the course of a year will help them reach the next level, he added.

In the Cloud Services Partner area Hurley says there is a shift occurring in on premise equipment moving to the cloud. Juniper has its MX flagship product line (11 products) along with its virtual MX series and SRX series (11 products) to address this shift in the market. SRX is now also virtual. The pure cloud hosting partner along with MSPs can participate in this new category.

The new Juniper Advantage Program also has an updated portal site, a rewards section and a marketing concierge service.