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Juniper Networks has enlisted one of the IT industry’s most recognized brands in its efforts to widen its reach to small and large businesses.

The Sunnyvale, Calif., company signed a five-year agreement with IBM Global Financing for a leasing and financing program that executives at both companies say will give Juniper’s channel partners flexibility in getting the company’s technology into the hands of customers.

Juniper makes IP infrastructure and security technology that the vendor says support a multitude of applications and services.

The partnership with IBM Global allows Juniper to make available to its partners financial services for which demand has been growing in the channel.

The services include a program that allows Juniper’s solution providers, so-called J-Partners, to extend to customers the option to lease equipment, software and services, including product used in demonstrations. Another service, available only in the United States, allows qualified J-Partners to receive financing support on sales made through the federally funded E-Rate program.

Working capital and funding for customer deals often are hard to come by for solution providers and their customers, said Frank Vitagliano, vice president of Worldwide Channels and U.S. Enterprise Operations at Juniper. The partnership with Armonk, N.Y.-based IBM’s financing arm will help alleviate this hardship, he said.

“Without the right financial resources and partners, many cannot realize their full potential and are forced to walk away from profitable business deals,” said Vitagliano, a former IBM executive.

To complement its partnership with IBM Global Financing, Juniper is introducing a program called J-Partner Financial Edge, intended to help and encourage partners to increase their Juniper revenue.

“As we focus on accelerating growth opportunities with corporate and small-business customers, we couldn’t ask for a better partner than IBM,” Vitagliano said.

John Callies, general manager of IBM Global Financing, said Juniper has “excellent growth potential” and the partnership will play a role in it.

“Our extensive country reach, large global sales team and significant customer base will help drive Juniper’s corporate growth plans,” he said.