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Juniper Networks will tell partners at its partner summit this week that the key to continued success is focus on the vendor’s high-performance networking strategy.  Juniper also plans to announce new products and enhancements to the J-partner channel program to help partners execute on that strategy.

Steve Pataky, marketing director of Juniper worldwide channels, said the vendor has been focusing on a theme of high-performance networking solutions for more than a year and that the partner summit, being held in Las Vegas April 27-29, is a way for Juniper to emphasize the importance of that strategy.  He said that changes to the J-partner program are geared toward providing partners with better tools and education to help them grow their business through Juniper technology.

Pataky added that the release of Juniper’s EX-Series line of switching products on March 31 will fuel the growth of partners’ businesses by doubling their potential customer base beyond routers and security products and better enabling them to wrap their own services and integration skills around Juniper’s networking products.

“Now VARs have all the pieces; they have an end-to-end solution,” he said.

The addition of the EX switches was the “missing link” for partners to expand from an enterprise networking practice and/or an enterprise security practice, according to Pataky.  The addition of switching products offers a compelling reason for partners to expand into other Juniper product areas and develop solutions across the product portfolio, he said. 

“The EX switches double the size of our addressable market through the channel, and for partners it adds credibility to our ‘sell solutions across the portfolio’ strategy,” Pataky said. 

“We want our partners to look at all of the relevant pieces of our portfolio and take advantage of the cross-selling and the upselling opportunities to pull together into solutions,” he added. 

Pataky said making sure partners have the tools and education to understand the customers they are selling to and how to link Juniper’s products with their own services is one of Juniper’s key challenges, but one that enhancements to the J-partner program can address.

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There are four new enhancements to the J-Partner program, Pataky said.  The first is the addition of the JUNOS Knowledge Transfer Toolkit, which provides JUNOS software training to partners’ end-user customers.  Pataky said the training doesn’t take the place of technical certifications, but does allow partners to more quickly and cost-effectively educate their customers on JUNOS software. 

The new J-Partner Virtual Lab will give partners free, anytime “virtual hands-on” access to Juniper’s product portfolio for training, education and customer demos, Pataky explained, allowing them to better sell across the portfolio and easily present larger, more complex solutions to customers.

Juniper is also announcing a new Sales Specialist Advanced Course for J-Partner sales engineers, which provides a design and configuration blueprint for high-performance network infrastructure solutions, according to Pataky.

Finally, the J-Partner Solutions configurator tool speeds technology deployments by detailing product configurations and migration planning, and helping partners develop more robust technology sales by focusing on selling across Juniper’s product portfolio, he said.

“We need to connect the dots for partners so they know why it makes sense to link certain parts of the portfolio together, and also to show them how to link products together with services to solve problems for businesses,” Pataky said.

To that end, Juniper has also unveiled “solution areas” that provide technology blueprints for partners in the areas of data center, adaptive threat management and identity-based network management.  These solution areas offer partners a more targeted selling opportunity, with specific products tailored to address businesses’ pain points. 

“We see a trend where lots of vendors are saying to their partners, ‘Go sell solutions,’ but then they’re left on their own.  It’s difficult for partners to weave all those components together,” Pataky said.