Juniper steps up its focus on the channel

Networking vendor Juniper is changing the way it does business with the channel through a series of structural changes that are designed to ensure stronger partner engagement in the Middle East. Channel Middle East sat down with Juniper’s regional director for channels and general business in MEA, Taj El-Khayat, to find out more.

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Juniper steps up its focus on the channel
By  Andrew Seymour Published  October 20, 2010

Channel Middle East: Juniper now has a different internal structure in the region to the one it had last year. What can you tell us about that?

Taj El-Khayat: At the beginning of this year, Juniper rolled out a new organisational structure more focused towards sectors and more into a matrix organisation. Today, the two key sectors for Juniper are the enterprise sector and the service provider sector. EMEA is also now built up out of five different areas of operations. Each has an area VP that focuses on that particular region, and reporting to that area VP are four leaders or directors. One handles the enterprise sector and one handles the service provider sector. The other two are the channel leader and the pre-sales leader.

Channel Middle East: Is there much difference between the four roles?

Taj El-Khayat: From a business standpoint, the business is all rolled up to either enterprise or service provider. The channel leader is responsible for anything related to channel across those two sectors and the pre-sales leader has resources to support both of them too. All four are considered the leadership team of their region.

Channel Middle East: What does this restructuring mean for the channel?

Taj El-Khayat: It means we are now more focused than ever on our go-to-market strategy across these two sectors. Our initiatives, our programmes, our momentum, our business plans — everything — is fuelled towards one of these two sectors. Our sales teams are focused on either of these two sectors. For me and the pre-sales guys, we are basically viewed as offering a pool of resources for the two sectors to enhance and drive their businesses. For example, I have partner account managers that focus on the channel ecosystem that serves both sectors and Tarek Abbas [pre-sales director] has a pool of resources serving both sectors. In the past, it used to be that everybody had their own strategy. Today, we are much more structured and a lot more geared towards success.

Channel Middle East: Juniper also created an independent channels organisation (called ‘channels and general business’). What does that cater to?

Taj El-Khayat: Firstly, it caters to managing strategic alliances and OEM relationships, like Dell and IBM, as well as Nokia Siemens Networks, ADVA and some of the big system integrators we are working with. The second thing is we cover the customer services channel — so the professional services channel and all the service specialisations that we have in our partner programme. Then we have the traditional channel management, where we have partner account managers focusing on tier-one partners. And then we have something called channel sales or general business, which is the non-named account space.

Channel Middle East: How many tier-one partners do you have these days?

Taj El-Khayat: We have five tier-one partners in the UAE, four in KSA, three in Egypt and four in Pakistan. It is basically anywhere between three and five partners in every key country, and the good thing about it is that each partner actually drives the business.

Channel Middle East: Talk us through some of your key channel expansion areas.

Taj El-Khayat: We are going to be focusing on strategic system integrators that we will enable to do the end-to-end Juniper value added positioning for the service provider and enterprise segments. For example, there have been some changes and consolidation in the service provider landscape in Africa, so from our perspective we need a very big system integrator with strong resources and value add to work on such accounts. The second thing is we are looking for companies that have a value add in developing applications and value added services on our Junos Space or Junos Pulse platforms. Thirdly, we are looking for partners that understand caching and can take content delivery network services as a product and sell it to their customers against some of the vendors which currently have caching for the service provider.

Channel Middle East: What is the next step for Juniper when it comes to partner engagement in the Middle East?

Taj El-Khayat: We are going to create a territory model focused on sales individuals who will work with the channel on the big opportunities that today are either being managed by our inside sales team or partner account managers to help the partner close the deal. The partner will have a dedicated account manager who will be his advocate in driving his business and creating business plans. At the same time, that partner is going to have a territory manager who is customer-facing.

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