Channel Influencers Should Possess a Firm Understanding of Partner Landscape and Eco-System

Channel Post speaks to Kristian Kerr, the Head of Channel, Alliances and Commercial for EMEA at Juniper Networks about the qualities a channel influencer should possess to lead the channel

Kristian Kerr, the Head of Channel, Alliances and Commercial for EMEA at Juniper Networks.

What is your career history to date and key career achievements?
I have been working for 20 years in the networking space, mainly in the partner eco-system with traditional channels, distributors, strategic and alliance partners, spanning multiple regions.

What are your roles and responsibilities in the company as a channel influencer?
I am responsible for overall channel go to market sales, strategy and investment. I am also a major stakeholder in program and rewards evolution in the EMEA region.

What qualities should a channel influencer possess to lead the channel?
Channel influencers should have a firm understanding of the partner landscape and eco-system with a strong grip on technology trends as they evolve. It is critical for Juniper Networks to understand the needs and requirements of our partners so we can continue to develop and grow the partnership to address existing customers and invest in new market and technology opportunities.

For me, it is very important to have close connections with our corporate teams to support the shaping and evolution of our partner strategy in EMEA, ensuring it is aligned with our market and partner requirements.

What is your advice on finding success in the channel?
My advice for success is to be committed to investment, transparency, integrity, alignment and engagement at all levels. We need to remain flexible and dynamic to ensure we and our partners keep up with the speed of innovation and the changing technology landscape.

How would you assess the current state of channel?
The market is moving extremely fast with new and advanced technologies such as security, data center, cloud, analytics and big data. This creates huge opportunity for partners to increase their value to the end user, bringing more service and customer ‘stickiness’. We, as vendors, need to provide the right tools and incentives for our partners to invest and capitalize on these opportunities.

What is the biggest challenge facing the IT channel in the region?
There is a continued shift towards virtualization and SDN and partners need support and guidance from vendors to ensure early time-to-market to gain a competitive edge in these areas. Cloud, managed services and XaaS with operational expenses (OPEX)-based consumption models are key growth areas, as many partners are building practices to support this dynamic market.

If you could improve one thing about the channel business what would it be?
It would be further development of repeatable solutions incorporating Juniper technology with application and infrastructure integration from the partner. This will allow us to scale even more effectively. These can be industry specific or horizontal solution plays.

How can partners work effectively to generate growth in the channel?
Investing early in new markets and technologies to complement the vendor’s growth strategy such as security, SDN and data center.