Juniper Networks has said it wants its partners to "embrace" its growing number of vendor alliances, and use these partnerships to give end customers the choice they want.
Speaking to CRN, Gerard Allison, Juniper's senior vice president of EMEA, said: "In terms of the [partners'] relationships with Juniper, it is to embrace the new partnerships we talk about, with VMware, Ruckus, Aruba Networks and the Aerohive announcements.
"We can make all the alliance announcements that are important to us; it's really about understanding what it means to them [the partners] and articulating that to the customer."
Allison said he wants partners to sell complementary solutions and services, from the likes of VMware, to form more of a complete stack to the customer.
"We are not going to sell VMware products, and they are not going to sell ours; it comes down to the partner. This is where the integration comes together because they deliver the ultimate solution to the customer," he said. "And that is why services from our partners are going to be key because they need to lead with the services that talk about how the partners can integrate these different open-standard organisations to deliver the best-of-breed technology."
This focus on vendor alliances was also emphasised by Darryl Brick, Juniper's partner director of UK and southern Europe, when he said in March that he wants partners to "jointly go to customers" with VMware.
"I think it's best for them [partners] to build their solution and build that integration because that gives them the [chance to] stand out from the crowd. A lot of our partners are looking for ways to differentiate themselves. They can differentiate themselves by building the best of breed in their own minds."
Allison said this "open-standard" option, where partners pick different solutions from different vendors, is an advantage for them over the Cisco option – where partners have to use the vendors with which Cisco teams up.
"With this inflection point in the networking environment, with people talking about how they can embrace virtualisation – whether it's software-defined datacentres or software-defined networking – there is a choice. That it is going down a proprietary route, which is via Cisco, [where] you are buying into the route they are taking you down, which is their view of best of breed; their products.
"[The other choice is] the open-standard route, which is [where] you can go right across the market. Ultimately the customers want to have the choice; they want to have a comparable solution and make the decision which way they go. To me that's the role of the partner and that is what the end customer is looking for."
This choice Juniper offers is a good differentiator for its partners, Allison added.
Closer than before
Over the past 18 months, Allison said Juniper has gone through a "realignment" of its partners, with a reduction in the number of its highest level Elite partners.
Allison would not say how many Elite partners were moved to lower levels, but he said he was now happy with his partner base.
"We now have to execute through them and we will be even closer to our partners in FY16 than we ever have been," he said. "We have a very good landscape of partners that we need to jointly execute with."
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