B2B Tech Talk with Ingram Micro
B2B Tech Talk with Ingram Micro

Episode · 5 months ago

AI: How MSPs Can Offer Network as a Service at Scale

ABOUT THIS EPISODE

Network as a service is expected to grow at a compound annual growth rate of 34.5% over the next 5 years, and many MSPs are finding it hard to keep up with the pace of innovation.

Artificial intelligence may be their secret weapon in catching up.

In a special As the Gears Turn edition, Devaughn Bittle and Patrick Cash speak with Mike Anderson, leader of worldwide MSP channels at Juniper Networks, about:

- The factors contributing to the growth of network as a service

- The role AI plays

- The benefits of Juniper Networks’ MSP program

For more information, contact the Juniper Assist team (juniper.assist@ingrammicro.com).

To join the discussion, follow us on Twitter @IngramTechSol #B2BTechTalk

Listen to this episode and more like it by subscribing to B2B Tech Talk on Spotify, Apple Podcasts, or Stitcher. Or tune in on our website.

...you're listening to. B two b Tech Talk with Ingram Micro A place to learn about how to grow your business and stay ahead of technological advances before they become mainstream. In today's episode, we're introducing a new business and technology minded series brought to you by Ingram Micro's SMB Alliance community, called as the Gears Turn, hosted by to Ingram Micro SNB Alliance council leaders Mr Devin Biddle and Mr Patrick Cash both successful M. S, P s and both ready to call the business of I t. As they see it. So with that said, let's make it happen. Welcome to as the Gears turn. Welcome to another episode of B two. B Tech Talk with Ingram Micro Special as the Gears turn edition, We're your hosts. Devin Biddle from Computer Cations out of Frederick, Maryland, and Patrick Cash from Blue Store Networks out of Atlanta, Georgia. Today we are going to be talking to Mr Mike Anderson. He is the leader of worldwide MSP channels at Juniper Networks. Mike, thanks for joining us today. Thank you for having me. So, Mike, lately in our industry, we have been, uh, having a lot of discussions around topics like artificial intelligence network as a service. Cyber security, of course. And if you're listening because you wanna up your organization's game in any of these areas, they're the listeners are in luck today, right? Because, uh, Mike, you definitely know a thing or two coming from Juniper with with all of those topics, especially, yeah, especially if you hit Junipers Homepage. It's take me to your AI leader, which is pretty fantastic. Yeah, it's I'm very proud to be part of this organization coming from the Ms Side who was acquired by Junior for a few years back. I had the privilege of seeing a I truly measurable AI created, uh, and delivered to customers around the world. It's been an amazing experience. That's that's awesome. So tell us a little bit about that. Uh, you know, you the company culture. I mean, it's definitely take me to your AI leader is a is a little different when you go to a company like Juniper, who's who's big into networking, and an AI is such a hot topic right now. What are the folks that Jennifer give us a little bit of background on the company culture there? The company actually is is absolutely amazing. Um, I couldn't be happier working for Juniper, certainly with the thought leadership, the technology leadership. Uh, and essentially, this new motion that Juniper has really captured by its enablement and integration of AI into the technology is created an excitement around the entire sales organization. In fact, all organizations there, the sales could not be on a better trajectory than what we're seeing now. And obviously, that makes a lot of people happy. And then coupled with the innovation and the ability to have a front seat to that innovation has been a wonderful experience. And I think just the employees in general are truly happy working here as I am. Nice. Well, and we you know, I kind of alluded to your title in the in the introduction, but maybe give us a little bit more about about you and your role, and you know for sure thinks so. It's actually a relatively new role for me, so I joined Juniper. I was actually adopted by Juniper through its acquisition of Mist Systems, which is really the brainchild behind the AI that Juniper has adopted. Missed? I joined them in 2000 and 16, late 2016, and I was chartered with Building a channel Go to market for that company and who missed was is really a SAS approach to WiFi that was bringing in a new way of managing WiFi. That was from the end.

Users connected experience versus whether the network was up or down. So through that that experience and and creating a channel there I was fortunate enough to be part of Miss when Juniper came in and acquired. And while I was still running channels for Missed within the 1st 12 months, we eventually integrated it into the Juniper Partner Advantage program, which is a five star endorsed program. And I took on a new role and a challenge to build out a MSP go to market that would enable partners to build an offering and address the growth for network as a service. And we, quite frankly, couldn't be better positioned to do that. Uh, then leveraging this Marvis ai power behind the technology platform we're delivering to MSP s. It's a perfect fit, perfect time. And I think we have a great program, uh, to to enable partners to be successful with delivering that That's great. So, um, and and flows real well with my next question here. Uh, recent market research has shown that network as a service, uh, is expected to grow at a compound annual growth rate of about 34.5% over the next, uh, you know, four or five years. What fact? What factors do you think are contributing to that rate of growth? I think there's multiple factors. Obviously, Sass is having an implication there. I think the cloud public cloud is certainly impacting that, um, Dev Ops is also impacting that, really, where I t is spending their time and where companies are spending their time in, uh, really digital izing. Their infrastructure is moving them to address devops and mobility and how that impacts productivity go to market depending on the verticals and that that trickles down into how do they consume and manage networking and from the traditional, acquire the network. You own it, you manage it. They really need to evolve and focus on innovation versus management. And that's driving a lot of this. Companies now are looking to procure technology as a service and have it managed on top of that well, and we talk about pace of innovation a lot. And, you know, obviously this is one of those areas that it just It's so fast and a lot of organizations may invariably find it hard to keep up. So, you know, as we talk about growth and how it's significant and providers trying to, you know, kind of prepare for folks that are listening, you know, let's talk about maybe like network as a service and and maybe some areas that you know partners could focus on. So, yeah, network network is the service. Depending on on your technology catalog could be different, so I'll steer it a little bit towards the concept of how Juniper is addressing it. What juniper is, how juniper is approaching it is. We are leveraging a technology catalog, and that technology catalog encompasses four core technologies. It's WiFi because that is a critical access layer in most organizations. Today, we've also peeled out location. So as I mentioned in my earlier comment, as companies are looking to manage their employees different, certain types of companies are going to market differently. They're all leveraging mobility, meaning your WiFi connected laptop, your phone, your point of sale device. All these things are impacting difference. So location has a very important place in delivering network as a service security service also very important both in the public cloud and on Prem that's here today. That's going to be here tomorrow and then SD wan How do people connect their winds privately,...

...effectively and and truly in a simplistic fashion? All of these are critical elements in, in our view, on addressing network the service. There are more devices connecting than ever before more applications being used than every before. Companies are migrating their technical resources to building Dev ops. So it's critically important that these organizations and even those partners servicing them have a way to do it. That is easy. Where you have rapid time to resolving issues you can't afford eight hours downtime. You need to discover what that issue is within minutes or even seconds. And that's where AI comes into play. All this is really wrapped into our approach to it and what we're delivering to our partners when they come into our program not only programmatically but also from a technology operating model to really to really make them more effective and their customers more productive. So let's go back to an earlier topic that we, uh, started on with which was a I. What kind of role does that play in the MSP program that Juniper offers? It couldn't be more critical. When you look at a managed services provider, uh, their value to their customers is really delivering an S L. A. Those customers are consuming that application because they wanted. They want a level of service. It's got to be easy. It's got to be hands off. That means the managed services provider needs to be effective and their ability to enforce those SLA's. And they also need the ability to focus on the innovation and growth of their business and not be bogged down with managing. Imagine the resource consumption it would take for a manage services provider when they have an issue to resolve. And it takes eight hours and now through a I. It could be it takes minutes. No longer do they need to get in a truck and go to the customer premise and wait for that problem to occur again. They now have it all stored in the cloud. The AI engine has identified it, even given them direction on how to quickly resolve. It's critically important. I cannot imagine an effective network as a service model being ran without an AI component, uh, in the background, enabling them to be effective there. Well, and I'm I'm gonna slide us on a little bit of a tangent here. So, you know, as we're talking about AI, um, maybe kind of reach into your predictive technologies of your own And maybe, you know, let's talk about an area that you could potentially foresee AI being implemented in the future. We're we're not really discussing it yet. Oh, that's I think that's TBD. Uh, it's almost like it has not been written yet. Um, where where I do see a I coming in, but not exclusively on its own. I think with other technologies, as you see a lot of a lot of applications now using natural language to communicate with us, imagine a time where you can you can use a an application where you are actually asking the engine a question verbally. Now we can deliver that today. Juniper can deliver that today through the keypad. You can type in questions in the Marvis ai Cloud, which is an instrument in our MSP Technology operating model. And it will answer you, but imagine at a point where you can communicate with that differently. So ai, coupled with other technology I think is going to evolve Not only networking, but I would imagine other areas of our lives as well. Yeah, it definitely sounds interesting. I think, uh, I'm excited to see where AI takes us, because I think it can go in so many different directions and be used for a lot of different things. Um,...

...let's take us back to, uh, the MSP program and the innovations that Jennifer has their, uh, one of the programs for technology tracks that you brought up Branch security, Uh, intriguing me. Can you give us a little story on how this is part of the program has been successful for someone I sure can. So when I did want to back up just a little bit because I think this is important to to lay a foundation. You know, Juniper has a very acknowledged channel program that has been endorsed by tech giants and analysts across the board, and it is changing it is actually elevating. So JP, a Universe Partner Advantage program, which has historically represented a reseller route to market, is elevating. And we have instituted this new program, which will now run in parallel to Juniper's reseller program, that we're calling the unified Managed Services program. And that's what I'm managing today. It's really a guideline, a set of rules as well as a technology back end technology operating all that we are delivering to enable partners to quickly go to market and address those network as a service markets in that we do have two different partner levels that partners can participate in because many of them have, you know, network as a service fits differently in their business. And then underneath that the four technologies that I mentioned before WiFi Location Security and SD wan from a security perspective, I think the needs are are equally strong, as you might see in the other technology portfolios. And we do have several cases where partners are having great success in the market today, one of which, without naming them, they actually created a kit. That kit encompasses a S R X firewall that is a I powered as well as an access point, and they're delivering it to their SMB customers as a service completely subscription where they, the customer, simply could subscribe to it, add it to their phone bill, and it's been the company will come out, deliver it, install it and that and users simply consumes it, hands off their networks, up running. The law is being enforced, and it's been very, very effective for this particular partner. Well, and as we're talking about partners, you know, going into 22 here, maybe there's areas where specifics are looking to improve or maybe refresh on their go to market infrastructure. And so, like, you know, here's a great example where a group is kind of packaged as a service, you know, are there are there areas in the MSP program that, you know, maybe offers other tools and resources that we could also incorporate? Absolutely. Differentiation is a critical consideration for any company that is operating either as a reseller or building out a network as a service. And as we look forward into how companies are using network infrastructure and their organization and how they might impact other areas of their business, such as marketing legal facilities. H R. All these things are coming into play, and with our local indoor location service track under this program, there is both architectural elements within the W Land or the WiFi platform, as well as the cloud element that can enable these partners to differentiate and create a service that they can deliver to their customers that nobody else can deliver or the partner that they might be competing down this week can. I'll give you an example of some ideas that I have seen. There are, uh, imagine a K through 12 at school, uh, and you may...

...have a visually impaired student there. Imagine now a partner who can create a service and deliver it to that school where that visually impaired student can now be guided through an application on their mobile device, from class to class to the cafeteria to the bookstore and just be more more efficient, have a better experience all delivered to that end user as a partner, branded as a service offering that they can charge recurring revenues for and differentiate. That's just an example of some of the things I have heard. There are many others I have heard of applications being built where a customer might walk into a doctor's office, how their application and they're automatically checked in that can be enabled through the ble infrastructure on the on the platform that we are delivering to our MSP partners. But the beauty about our program and this is that the partners can product ize. It created off the programmable network and call it all their own. So it the use cases there are almost limitless. That's really what the partners can think of and what the needs of their customers are. But that is a very unique application that I think Juniper can deliver that is truly second to none. Sounds very interesting. Uh, Mike, can you tell us, uh, tell us about some of the incentives or benefits for partners who choose to use Universe MSP program for sure. So I view the MSP program as a couple elements first, we do have the programmatic piece of that, and that programmatic piece of the program really delivers. Architecture is like fixed, predictable pricing. That's very important when you think about MSP because it's really an OM partnership with that, they're able to product ize it and really scale on their own. We have flexible sourcing options that enable partners say they would like to get the assets as a subscription. We do have the ability to do that or if they want to do a lease, they can certainly do that as well. We have a partner portal with with assets and tools that enable partners to build that service in other items, such as marketing, uh, leads in those attributes so that there's first there is the program and then, secondly, which I talked about a couple times. Here is the technology operating model. So when a partner joins our program, one of the first things we're going to do is we're going to provision a a what we call an MSP umbrella. To them, it's essentially a multi tenant console where they can they can really stand up their MSP practice. They don't have to use this if they don't want. They could certainly pull off all the A P s off the platform and integrate it into their current if they wish. But they're going to be enabled at zero cost to them, a platform that can help them stand up an MSP or a Nass offering rather quickly. But there's also elements of internal differentiation when partners come into our program and they commit to us and we commit to them and we jointly work together to create the service. We also promote them internally within our sales organization, and we identify their region, their capabilities, any additional applications they may have created. That way, our sales reps who are out there hunting for end customers can work with our MSP partners where they need. In turn, we can bring our partners into opportunities. And then there is the ability to differentiate externally on the street that is truly second to none. And I touch base a little bit on the ability to do that with the location application. There's other things that you can do through the WiFi platform than certainly the SD Wan and security platform that can enable them to differentiate. But the core elements of that programmable network really give them the tools and the muscle to do that, unlike unlike any other vendor out there. Well, and...

...so we've kind of touched on the on boarding process a little bit there. Juniper's Unified Managed Management Service program, um, a little bit different than the Juniper Partner Advantage program. Are there specific qualifications for either of these that are usually kind of followed for? For new partners? Yeah, so it's really important. Uh, it's our goal. First, to not be over distributed in our unified managed Services program. We want partners that are committed to creating a service that are intending to address the market with a network as a service to come into our program. And in turn, we're going to give them all that we got all the benefits, the resources, both business development and technical to help them stand up that service part of the requirements. Um, obviously, department must have a knock. Um, if the network operation center and typically you see two flavors of that you see an eight by five or a 24 by seven. One of those is a requirement just to come into the program. We do ask for a business plan. It's very simple. We do have the template and we work with them on doing that because it's important that we're both on the same page of the intent to create the service and the investment to do so. So we do ask for that. Obviously, the partner must also have the ability to take it to market. And some, uh, strategy and marketing plan built around that. Um, if we don't have that, the likelihood of success diminishes greatly. So we do ask, you must have a knock. Uh, you have the ability to handle trouble tickets. You have the ability to take it to market. You have sellers that will be taken into market. The key attributes. And then, of course, if if it's a match, we will certainly bring you in to the program. Sounds like a well thought out program. Did you have any? Did you play a part in creating this mike? I certainly did both nights, weekends and every day, so I I authored the program. I started this process earlier this year. I don't want to imply that I did it all on my own. I certainly didn't we? We did a host of interviews with our partner community. We certainly worked with Ingram was critical in helping us and counseling us in this, and it's it's been an amazing journey, and I it's not ending here. We're constantly looking at ways to evolve it, uh, and and bring more value to our partners, make it easier for them to and shorten the time to market so they can be more profitable and successful. And so I'm excited what's here, and I'm excited about what's to come. What what would you say is your most excited about with the program? I think the technology catalog that we have and the technology operating model, I think is, is something that is truly differentiating, Uh, and I And while it's not embedded in the pdf of our program guide, it's part of it. It is the right hand where the program is is the left hand. They go together. I'm very, very proud of what we're delivering their think from a program perspective. I think it's fairly well thought out. It's easy. Um, I think it's it delivers a set of business benefits that really resonate to the partners and help them cool. So it sounds like I think both of those areas I'm very proud of, Right. So, Mike, one question we ask all of our guests won't be to be tech talks as the Gears turn edition is when you think of technology as a whole? Where do you see it going within the next year? Oh, I think we've said it many times on this call. I think AI is critical to just about every element of where networking is going. A focus on experience is critical and that that truly, is what separated juniper from the rest. And in...

...fact, what has propelled it into the upper right hand quadrant of the Gartner Magic quadrant. The most recent wired and wireless categorization is because it's innovation because of junipers, thinking and innovation there. But that's where the market is going. It is really about the connected experience. And to do that effectively, you have to have a I. I think that's where it's going. I couldn't I couldn't agree with you more on that, and you're absolutely right. It's been not only a topic of this conversation, but a topic of conversation throughout the entire year. As we've asked that question, we might even have to stop asking the question because I know yeah, other than ai. That may be how we have to have that. So we have to reward it Well, Mike, thanks so much I mean, we've we've covered a ton of information in a very short period of time. Is so for folks that are interested out there, uh, where can people learn a little bit more about you and a little bit more about Jennifer? Well, they can. They can always go to their Ingram folks. We are very deeply partnered. Partnered with them. Uh, they are part of us, and we are part of them, so they can certainly help. If anybody on the call is interested in learning even more, uh, an accelerated rate, they can certainly go to juniper dot net. And under that, there is a partner tab on the upper left and they can click on that. And there will be, uh, they can punch into further details on J. P A. In general and certainly in this program. And there is contact information that is listed there as well. Well, on behalf of Devon and myself again, just thank you so much for diving into a lot of this with us today and joining us. It's my pleasure. Thank you all. There's more information for this episode found on the Ingram Micro SMB portal. If you're already a member. You can access this information at any time. If you have a specific question, you can always reach out to your Ingram Micro rap. For more information on how you can get involved with the SNB, thank you for tuning into as the gears Turn and subscribing to B two b Tech Talk with Ingram Micro. You've been listening to B two b Tech Talk with Ingram Micro Special as the Gears turn edition hosted by Devin Biddle and Patrick Cash. This episode was sponsored by Ingram Micro's SMB Alliance B two B Tech Talk is a joint production with Sweet Fish Media and Anger. Micro Anger Micro Production handled by Laura Burton to not miss an episode. Subscribe to the show on your favorite podcast platform. If you're listening on Apple podcast, we'd love for you to leave a quick rating of the show. Just tap the number of stars you think the podcast deserves until next time. Mhm, yeah,.

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