Recently, Juniper Networks announced its quarterly financial results. The company has experienced strong revenue results during the March quarter, delivering year-over-year growth across all customer solutions and all geographies. Despite market uncertainties confident in its strategy and its channel community, Juniper was able to deliver another year of healthy revenue. Total cash, cash equivalents, and investments as of March 31, 2023, were $1,191.0 million, compared to $1,668.9 million as of March 31, 2022. It remained focused on delivering improved profitability and expanding operating margins by greater than 100 basis points in 2023. During a recent e-Interview, with the Associate Editor, channel360MEA elated Selmane B. Slama, Director Partner Sales for Emerging Markets, Juniper Networks talked about companies’ support to its channel, how they sailed the boat together in tough times like the pandemic and their efforts to tap the opportunities and be a part of the UAE Centennial 2071 Plan, Saudi Vision 2030, Qatar Vision 2030 and Agenda 2063.
Juniper’s Unique offerings for Channel and Customers
- Partner-first mentality
- Customers that invest in the AI-Driven Juniper Mist solution, get to spend less time and money managing the network
- Provided guidance and assistance to partners who were concerned and impacted by the short- and long-term consequences of the COVID-19 pandemic on their business
- Juniper Partner Advantage program has been improved with new tools, and incentives, as well as enhancements for assisting partners that provide network-as-a-service (NaaS)
- Focused on providing technology with better services
With SMEs shutting down during the pandemic, how were you extending support to your partners?
Juniper Networks is committed to supporting its partners and champions the strong relationships that we have, regardless of challenges and disruptions. Juniper knows that maintaining strong relationships is the key to our joint success. During the pandemic, we had to overcome the social distancing barrier to ensure we maintained our regular interactions with partners as this is how we continue to grow together. As a result, we made efforts to set a schedule for frequent virtual meetings to regularly check-in with partners, hear feedback and share our advice. In addition, we provided guidance and assistance to partners who were concerned and impacted by the short- and long-term consequences of the COVID-19 pandemic on their business.
Since you lead distribution in the EMEA region, do you feel the change in channel strategy for ME vs. Africa? Yes or no, and why?
The Middle East and Africa are very different markets, however a common interest they share is their keenness to diversify their economy and digitally transform. Our channel strategy takes these trends into consideration.
Countries in the Middle East are driving their national agendas such as the UAE Centennial 2071 Plan, Saudi Vision 2030, Qatar Vision 2030, and so on. Governments in Africa also have the ambition to achieve goals of plans such as Agenda 2063. These roadmaps have technology at the heart of their vision, meaning there will be increased demand for high-performance networks in both regions.
Building on such commonalities, we are growing our leadership team to ensure that Juniper Networks is well-positioned to adapt to the challenges of economic shifts and reforms, and to continue scaling our rapidly growing business. For example, the Middle Eastern data centre market is expected to attract investments of US $6.73 billion in 2027, growing at a CAGR of 9.56% between 2022 and 2027. Similarly, Africa’s data centre market is projected to develop at a CAGR of 12.73% between 2022 and 2027. Both scenarios pose a favourable market opportunity for enterprise networking solutions. Juniper Networks’ investments in companies like Mist, Apstra and 128 Technologies has positioned us to lead the next generation of enterprise networking.
What makes Juniper partner or channel friendly vis-a-vis competitors?
Juniper Networks is a strong advocate of the channel and partner ecosystem, and is proud of the positive relationships it has cultivated, which has benefitted the business immensely. Partners are generating over 90 percent of our total enterprise sales. In terms of our partner program, we stand apart in the industry due to the frequent in-person interactions between partners and Juniper’s account managers and key regional executives. This is an excellent opportunity for us to listen, receive feedback and continuously refine our programme and the partner experience, since the enterprise segment is key for Juniper right.
Leading with a partner-first mentality, we introduced new elements to our Juniper Partner Advantage program earlier in 2023. With new design, sales, and marketing tools, our partners can develop a tailored plan to increase profitability and drive continuous growth while earning more incentives and rewards through our innovative portfolio of solutions. For example, our partners now will be able to act faster and close deals quicker with resources like the new Velocity Pricing Tool, Partner Business Center, and Advantage Insights. Our VAR Partners are also empowered to expand to a NaaS model with the new program updates and even elevate their tier status faster, raising expectations that the Elite Plus Partner tier will continue to increase in 2023, which currently is on target to grow by 30 percent.
In light of fast paced enterprise networks, how charged up are you and your solution providers for 2023?
Juniper is ready for continued growth in 2023 and to deliver even better services and experiences to our customers. Our goal right now is to grow our market share in the enterprise segment, and maintain the impressive results we have achieved in the service provider segment, both in the Middle East and Africa region and globally.
When it comes to expanding our business and building on our current success, our partners are essential. There is a window of opportunity before us today because of the widespread shift towards digitalisation and the fact that an increasing number of customers are seeking out partners to serve in the role of trusted advisors as they consider investments in IT infrastructure and managed services. In this context, we recently updated our Juniper Partner Advantage program with an improved platform, tools, and incentives, as well as enhancements for assisting partners that provide network-as-a-service (NaaS).
Times have changed from box pushing to solution selling. Do you agree, and why?
We could not agree more. According to the Juniper Networks Future of Networking survey of 650 IT decision makers and 1,200 office workers from mainstay sectors of the economy conducted in 2022 across eight countries, 98 percent of respondents in the UAE believe that networking technology approaches will need to radically evolve within the same timeframe.
Networks are becoming more complex, and a solutions-based approach ensures simplicity, which we champion. As the region becomes increasingly digitalised, IT teams face greater demand and workloads that may seem impossible to manage without the right tools and services.
Our survey also highlights that 93 per cent of the respondents in the UAE view the strategic importance of an organisation’s network in successful digital transformation as critically important/important. Thus, it adds more value to provide tailored solutions to customers which solve specific issues and deliver a seamless experience, rather than box pushing products which IT teams may struggle to integrate and make work. These kinds of comprehensive solutions take the stress away from setting up and managing network infrastructure. For instance, customers that invest in our AI-Driven Juniper Mist solution, can be rest assured that they will spend less time and money managing with the network, because the network intelligently manages itself, powering down in accordance with usage and self-repairing any issues before users are even aware of them.