It's perhaps a bit of a cliché, but people can be a company's greatest asset. With that in mind I've been spending a large chunk of my time towards the end of the year on HR activity - ensuring alignment of skills with aspirations and strategic requirements, reviewing top talent, thinking about long-term succession planning. It all ties into excellence in execution, one of Juniper's five key objectives. Get the people right and other key objectives such as customer focus also fall easier into place.
Along with other executives I've also been finalizing the detailed business plans for 2010. As well as ensuring our internal people are all aligned, we've been giving a lot of thought to our channel partnerships and resources, around skill-sets, capacity planning and the like. The model is the fundamental plank of Juniper's Go To Market strategy, so full alignment with our plans for the New Year are key. We have several dimensions to think about in EMEA, with enterprise and service provider segments, and corporate initiatives that need to be executed locally where markets and cultures can vary massively when you hop over the border.
Despite all this planning and reviewing I have also managed to fit in one of the activities closest to my heart - spending time with customers. For me, these are the conversations that set the context for the planning and alignment year in, year out. I was particularly interested by a conversation with a large cable operator last week. Like most service providers they're seeing a massive take-up in bandwidth, and are specifically attributing this surge to the popularity of HDTV via YouTube in their region. This has led them to reassess their content delivery structure, and they are now thinking about content caching at the network edge to minimize unnecessary capacity absorption.
I've also spent a day in snowy London talking to another key set of people within networking - a group of industry analysts from a number of leading firms who joined me for lunch ahead of Christmas and the New Year. It was very informal and really enjoyable, and we talked about lots of topics beyond networking. Inevitably though, we did stray into thinking about the issues for 2010 - I think the summary list we covered would include mobility, sustainability, applications, compliance, and more for less in the network.
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