Juniper exec vows push into Canadian enterprises

For most of its time in Canada, Juniper Networks Inc. has focused on selling its routers, switches and security appliances to service providers – so much so that roughly three-quarters of its sales go to carriers, operators and ISPs.

However, after a management shake-up it’s now aggressively trying to get business here from enterprises and governments.

“We plan on being in front of every [enterprise] customer we can,” Andrew Zupsic, the new senior vice-president for enterprise sales in the Americas said Wednesday. “We’ve never made a push like we are right now.”

In three years he hopes to make the service provider-enterprise sales split 50-50.

Zupsic was in Toronto this week for a two-day meeting with Canadian staff and customers.

Although he’s been on the job barely five weeks after leaving Microsoft Corp., where he was vice-president of sales for Latin America, Zupsic has already decided that Juniper’s technology and products aren’t the problem. Rather, he said, it’s a matter of delivering Juniper’s message better.

“I don’t think we’re thinking big enough,” he said. Corporate IT managers are asking Juniper to engage and deliver solutions, he said. However, he said, “I’m not sure yet our sales people are saying, ‘Wow, I can help my customer in many ways.’ Sometimes we get too satisfied winning a product deal.” Instead, Juniper staff should be emphasizing the solutions the company can offer to help CIOs and IT managers achieve their businesses’ goals.

As service providers around the world hold back on spending, enterprise sales are increasingly important to Juniper. Last year the company’s worldwide revenues dropped seven per cent compared to 2008, with sales totaling US$3.32 billion. But enterprise sales were up 11 per cent, while service provider business dropped 14 per cent.

However, an industry analyst says merely getting in front of customers won’t be enough to boost sales.

Jason Bremner, IDC Canada’s network equipment analyst, said that Juniper is at times seen by enterprises as being not price competitive as its main opponents, who include Cisco Systems Inc., Hewlett-Packard Co., 3Com Corp. (which is in the process of being swallowed by HP). Others have told IDC they have trouble integrating Juniper products with some network environments, while some companies complain that it’s hard to find support staff with Juniper expertise. Others, he said, may feel they don’t need gear built to carrier-class standards, while many don’t see the need yet for Juniper’s layer 4-7 application management switches.

“When you have perceptions like that it does present an obstacle.”

Sales of Juniper security equipment to enterprises are in good shape, but according to IDC only five per cent of router sales to Canadian enterprises in Q3 2009 came from Juniper. One problem, Bremner said, is that Juniper lacks a mid-range router. Only one per cent of Canadian switch sales came from Juniper in Q3 2009, although the company has only been selling switches for less than two years.

Still, Bremner said, “I do believe they have an awareness issue in Canada.”

As part of the strategy, Juniper has separated executive responsibility for service provider and enterprise sales in order to better push corporate and government sales. Canada had been under the jurisdiction of a vice-president for the Americas, which excluded the U.S. That limited access here to certain specialists. Under the new corporate structure the Americas now includes the U.S., which means staff here can take advantage of expertise on the other side of the border.

In addition, John Dathan, who had been director of sales for Canadian enterprises, has been elevated to general manager. In effect, said Zupsic, Canada is now a separate branch within the company. The staff here totals 85, of which 20 are in sales. That will increase, says Zupsic.

“We’ve made a bet that John and his team are going to drive very strong growth and give good customer satisfaction in Canada,” he said.

Dathan, who was leading Zupsic’s tour, acknowledged that until 18 months ago Juniper had a narrower number of products, which hurt the company. Today it has a broader portfolio, he said.

He also said that enterprise IT managers aren’t as familiar with Juniper’s Junos operating systems as service providers are. Instead, they know the operating systems that ran on older Juniper security equipment, another hindrance to sales. However, today most Juniper hardware runs on Junos. Once managers understand that and see the advantages of Junos, Dathan said, sales are easier.



Related Download
Real-time visibility Sponsor: Interactive Intelligence
Real-time visibility
Get real-time visibility in the contact centre. See immediate benefits. Real-time visibility in the contact centre is crucial. When you do not have the info you need to make decisions, you lose out on the single best way to create a competitive advantage. Solving this issue is simple, though.
Register Now