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Flying high

shayganIn his first visit to an emerging market after taking over the reins at Juniper Networks, CEO Shaygan Kheradpir sat down with us to talk about his vision for the company and strategy for the new era of IT.

You have met some of your biggest customers here. What are they telling you? Any common themes?

Growth. There is a big growth happening in this region centred around networks. It’s the same trend across the planet but it is more accelerated in the Middle East. I see big ambition everywhere. The world is pivoting towards everything-as-a-service, delivered through big networks, otherwise known as cloud.

What is the integrated operating plan that you have announced recently? Do you have any plans to re-evaluate your portfolio and streamline R&D?

IoP’s focus is on the ‘big areas’ that matter to customers, who are building the technology for the new-age cloud network. We focus on high-IQ networks that deliver a lot of intelligence to the applications. IOP is about focusing on the rapidly changing world and making sure that we catch those winds. We focus our R&D around those areas, and also the way we work. In a sense we are taking the company back to its roots, which is entrepreneurial, agile, and very much with our customers.

Is this internal restructuring ‘One Juniper’ all about?

I wouldn’t call it restructure but refocusing the company on innovation that matters most to our customers. We are refocusing on high-IQ networks and cloud building, and as I said earlier, taking the company back to its roots.

You have your roots in the service provider business. Will that be the primary focus of business?

Service providers are our heritage and we are very focused on them, partnering with them on the journey to the next wave of growth. We are also focusing on other vertical segments, where the network is mission critical.

Do you feel the line blurring between service providers and enterprise markets?

The line is blurring in the sense that there is a set of enterprises that have all the attributes of a service provider. For example, are Google and Amazon service providers or enterprises? We have dealt with a couple of airport operators with mission critical networks that are serving the airlines, immigration services, etc. On one hand, these are massive service providers from a mission critical perspective. On the other, you have an amazing retail experience being built into these airports. So there are two elements. One is an enterprise network that caters to consumers and other that provides services to small and medium businesses. You can’t design your grandfather’s network for him. Before, in the enterprise everything was centred around data centre design. Now forward-looking enterprises consider cloud services that emanate from these data centres. Earlier, it used to be all about servers, storage and networking. Now, it’s the reverse with networking being number one.

Networking has become the first mover in creating these ‘cloud ecosystems’ and there is a reason for that. What people want to do is deliver everything as a service, be it through public or private cloud. You need to have big scale, reliability, Fort Knox security, massive automation and multi-tenancy. Those characteristics define enterprises today, and these are our customers today.

Juniper is the only pure-play, high-performance IP networking company in the market today. There isn’t a second one. Customers come to us to help – and in some cases co-create with them – innovative networking solutions that can roll out services so they can stay competitive.

Are you going to review your product portfolio? There is speculation that you might stop selling some of the older brands?

We are very happy with our cloud builder, high IQ network strategy. Things which fit that include routing, security, switching with a lot of intelligence on top, putting it all together. That is what we do and we are very focused on it. We are not selling storage, radio access networks and servers. This is good because at this moment in time the network is the first mover; it’s a world where everything is available as a service today. And we are presently at the core of it- Layer 3 all the way to layer 7; we are sitting in a very good spot.

You have been able to grow your switching business by 45 percent, and yet your overall market share is just 3 percent. How do you plan on competing with Cisco, who still has the lion’s share?

The market for switching is growing by 3 percent. So why has Juniper’s business grown over 3 percent? This is because enterprises are building for the future and they want all the characteristics I have mentioned before – the new tech because the old word doesn’t work anymore. Smart customers who are pushing the boundaries with innovation are cutting Juniper’s way and we are thrilled about it.

We are very fortunate to have been announced by AT&T as their selection for what they call domain 2.0. We won a very large, global financial services company, all going on Juniper for their internal high IQ network and cloud. Our growth in the first quarter came from Web 2.0.
Here you have to ask yourself why Juniper was chosen? It is because these customers want pure-play, high-performance and most importantly an open solution that can be easily scaled-up and scaled-down.

What is your vision for Juniper in the next 12 months?

We want to make sure we are able to cater to the needs of new world – the power of the network is so dynamic that the challenges are also multi-fold as businesses have greater responsibilities due to changing customer demands. Everything is possible today. When I was growing up, it was a luxury to be able to take your work home – now you have millions of people who are in control of their lives in every way. The rise of the creative planet has turned everything upside down for them. We understand new tech extremely well. We understand our customers really well – we co-create with them their future business.

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