IF Kothari has his way, demand for Juniper’s networking and security products will be driven by cricket.
Being based in California, and an avid fan of the sport, Kothari finds the best way to follow the game is through streaming broadband services.
And as such offerings expand, so will the need for Juniper pro-ducts, reckons Kothari.
“If you watch cricket for five days, seven hours a day on streaming video, you would consume more bandwidth than in an entire decade transferring data,” he says.
Although the company does not play on the consumer pitch, it is moving strongly into what it terms the enterprise space.
This does not necessarily refer to large organisations.
When Juniper talks about the enterprise, it covers the spectrum from SMBs to large corporates — in other words, all corporate business aside from Juniper’s traditional market of telecommunications carriers and internet service providers (ISPs).
The company is moving into this sector for a number of reasons.
First, more organisations now have needs similar to carriers and are moving towards Juniper’s high-end gear.
Second, with the acquisition of firewall maker Netscreen just over a year ago, Juniper inherited a ready-made corporate channel and customer base.
Third, newer Juniper products are designed for the mass corporate market and the channel.
Growth in the enterprise space can only be achieved through a channel model and the company needs a partner programme which supports this approach, says Kothari.
Kothari was hired from Cisco last July and given carte blanche to develop such a programme. He assembled a group of channel heavyweights to help him, including Bob Bruce, formerly Cisco’s vice president of American channels; and Donna Grothjan, a 16-year Ingram Micro veteran.
The team laboured for months and the J-Partner programme was launched in March.
The Bangkok conference was the first Asia-Pacific partner event where the intricacies of the programme were aired.
“We have tried to put together a very solid channel programme,” says Kothari.
“We are putting a lot of energy and effort in making sure partners and distributors find Juniper a very attractive value proposition.”
The programme is focused on value add, not volume, and is designed to sustain partner profitability, says Kothari.
“To be successful we need our partners to be successful. Sustained partner profitability is a key ingredient of our go-to-market plans,” he adds.
“To have sustained partner profitability we need a partner philosophy that allows us to leverage the skill set of our partners and what they do for us and our end customers.”
Juniper believes sustained partner profitability can only be achieved by ensuring upfront profitability, which is why it is opposed to rebates.
For Kothari, offering rebates is like providing a band-aid to fix a problem.
“Our focus is to make sure partners make a profit upfront, which is more sustainable,” he says. “If I was a reseller I would be very worried if I had to rely on that rebate cheque to keep my doors open, because it is out of my control and someone could change the rules at any time. Partners prefer to be in control of their own destiny.”
Juniper also endeavours to involve partners in the sales engagement early and to encourage them to establish their own value.
“They will be rewarded for that value. That is the best form of profitability,” says Kothari.
One of the other key differences with Juniper is that it supports its channel fully through distributors, he says.
“We have not made all the investments required to service resellers directly. The distributors are better at managing resellers and executing the programme on our behalf.”
The Bangkok conference drew four people from New Zealand, representing Ingram Micro, Datacom and Network Pro. In channel terms, New Zealand and Australia are ahead of other regions as Juniper already operates fully through the channel here, but is still moving towards this elsewhere.
As for visiting these shores, Kothari says: “I’ll be there in December when there is a cricket match on.”
Louis van Wyk travelled to Bangkok as a guest of Juniper Networks