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Juniper tells disties: shape up or ship out

Channel must focus on solution selling says Juniper VP

Partners of networking vendor Juniper were warned to improve their performance or face the chop during a recent visit to the Middle East by senior vice president for the EMEA region, Gert-Jan Schenk.

The networking vendor says it is currently undergoing a review process of its present distribution partnerships in the run up to 2008. Juniper has four distributors in the region, Alamasa Distribution, Comguard, Mindware, and Online Distribution.

"With distributors, it is about the right ones," said Schenk. "We are currently assessing whether the distributors that we work with today will also be the ones that we have in one or two years' time. We are looking at if they will be able to finance and grow with us as a company."

Juniper is also looking at the infrastructure of its distribution partners and whether aspects of their functionality, such as warehousing and internal CRM systems, are sufficient to meet the company's increasing demands.

Mohamad Abdul Malak, Juniper's regional director for the Middle East and Africa, said that the need to reassess the role of its channel partners comes as a result of the company seeing strong growth over 2007 and promising indications for the year ahead. He also disclosed that Juniper and an EMEA distribution partner have signed a "major contract" with a government in the Middle East but did not reveal the name of the country.

According to Juniper, to keep profit margins healthy, the priority for its channel in the coming year should be to refocus efforts from networking wares towards systems and solutions.

"As a vendor we will tell our channel to defocus from products, to solutions and applications," said Schenk. "If there is one message I want to give distributors it is to migrate away from ‘my box is shinier than yours' to looking at what a customer needs and how a Juniper solution can answer that need," he added.