By Matt Hurley, Corporate VP, Global Channels, Juniper Networks
It’s no secret organizations of all sizes are changing the way they run their businesses. The move toward a digital economy, combined with the need to always be on, means anything that can save time and simplify workflows is in high demand. Now, more than ever, seamless delivery — whether it’s music, email or network security — is where opportunity lies.
For channel partners, this opportunity translates into managed services. If you haven’t yet shifted your network security business to the revolution that is managed services, here are five trends that demonstrate why now is the time to make your move.
- Rise Of The Virtual Data Center: Traditional customer premises equipment (CPE) will come under increasing pressure as software transformation greatly reduces, and in some cases eliminates, the need for devices on site. In 2015, we saw the rise of the virtual data center; in 2016 we are seeing its operationalization in the enterprise come to fruition. Channel partners who set up their businesses to capitalize on this shift as part of their managed services strategy will see demand heat up. Whether you partner to make your virtual data center happen, or invest in establishing one yourself, put it on your agenda for immediate consideration.
- Avoid Lock-In: Make no mistake, technology lock-ins are stumbling blocks to your managed services success. Because change is constant, your customers are demanding flexibility, and they’re looking to you to help them remain agile to prepare for future industry shifts. The bottom line is your customers want more openness and customizability, which means channel partners need to be even more selective with their partnerships, only aligning with vendors who enable them to offer best-in-class solutions and managed services that address the dynamic requirements of their clients.
In 2016 and beyond channel partners who follow this trend, catering to customers with open solutions and services that are seamless, scalable and flexible to customers’ business needs, will hold the competitive edge.
- Customization Is Key: What we’re seeing in 2016 is professional services and DevOps are taking a front seat for channel partners as customers look for turnkey solutions and the ability to customize their environments. Vendor innovation will always be key, but channel partners can also benefit from placing a high priority on innovation.
This is especially true as the channel competes with the technology giants of the world who already have a huge and growing stake in managed services. As a channel partner, your agility and the insight you possess from your customer relationships can empower you to deliver on-point, customized network security services — something that the larger players, who more commonly compete on commoditization, simply cannot manage.
In 2016, your managed services offerings can and should be differentiated by the value add you deliver. Often, customization is the value you can bring to the table to gain a foothold against larger players.
- Be Automation Aware: Customers are looking to automation as the next cost reduction lever to eliminate legacy IT. As your clients’ most trusted advisor, the onus is on you to assess the automation capabilities that your vendors bring to the table — and the automation expertise that your in-house experts have to offer.
Make a checklist of how you can move automation to the forefront for your customers, delivering it as a powerful managed service that supports their goals. As you hold strategic quarterly or monthly client meetings, discuss how you can help your customers meet their software transformation milestones. Discovering ways to save time and costs should be a never-ending conversation.
- Vertical Market Transformation: In 2015, we saw the adoption of SDN (software defined networking) and NFV (network function virtualization) grow in small- and medium-size enterprises. In 2016, the channel will continue its move to open, integrated and seamless stack solutions, making SDN and NFV solutions more accessible than ever before through pre-designed and tested solutions, purpose-made for vertical markets.
Don’t fall behind the adoption curve. Now is your opportunity to ride the wave and adapt your managed services playbook to these top network security market trends.
Matthew Hurley is responsible for the direction, management and growth of Juniper Networks Partner Advantage (JPA) program. The program encompasses all categories of Juniper partners, including strategic alliances, resellers, commercial and distribution.