The world is quickly moving towards 5 billion connected people and beyond. I have watched this amazing transformation happen with passionate intellectual curiosity over the course of my thirty year career and I have been fortunate to contribute my share. Thirty years ago, innovation was a one-way street: business-to-business with consumers as an afterthought. Today, the balance of power has shifted. With close to half the people on the planet connected to the Internet, consumers are now in control and demanding innovative services and applications that matter to the quality of their life at their pace and on their terms.
The world is at an inflection point as this insatiable demand from people has businesses and institutions in every sector of the economy scrambling to keep innovating at a rate and pace never before seen in our history. I have participated in the early stages of this transformation throughout my career – in telecommunications, financial services and the customer segments they serve across the globe. The new delivery engine for this consumer-driven innovation is the Cloud. And, the key strategic driver to unlocking the potential of the Cloud is…you guessed it…the network. The network is the ‘nervous system’ making the connections across information resources, computers, storage and personal devices, network elements, sensors, homes and business. With this amazing connectivity, people, companies, and institutions across the planet are busy creating experiences that you could characterize as ‘Star Trek’ like!
What better time to be at Juniper Networks, an iconic company, to be part of creating the future that will unlock the network’s full power? I believe Juniper’s phenomenal assets – deep customer relationships, great technology, fantastically talented and passionate people – will solve the most pressing network challenges for our customers, and ultimately, society.
During my first eight months my leadership team and I have worked on liberating the creative talent of our people, shifting our company to a 21st century design, and focusing our resources on the growth sectors of the market. We are giving the keys to our practitioners – people closest to the action, removing bureaucracy, layers, and silos, thereby allowing our talent to get better connected to each other – and to the imperatives of our customers. All this has also resulted in more efficient cost structure. While we’ve had to make some hard decisions over the past few months, I am pleased with our progress and confident that we are on the right path. I see this every day in the reactions of our customers, employees and partners as they learn about our new vision and direction as a company – and see us in action.
We now look to accelerate our growth through two strategic imperatives.
1. Focus on Cloud Builders and High-IQ Networks
Why Cloud Builders? Because in this current, “everything-as-a-service” application-driven economy, the cloud is our customers’ new delivery engine of innovation to their customers. As enterprises and service providers adapt to this new business model, the network experience is critical to their business. Juniper understands how to unleash the power of the cloud through High-IQ Networks.
A key concept to understand is what we at Juniper have defined as a High-IQ Network. At Juniper, we believe in more than just connecting things to things or data to devices, which is commonly referred to by the networking industry as the Internet of Things. Whereas many of our competitors stop here with the discussion, we are moving beyond just focusing on the question of ‘what is happening’ to answer the question of ‘why it is happening.’ Networks of today are static systems meaning you configure it for an outcome, input data into the system and then expect the system to work in a certain way. The problem with this type of approach is threefold. First, it significantly reduces agility and the ability to change quickly; second, it adds a great deal of cost; and third, it is incapable of delivering insights for implementing new thinking or enhanced and quantum business performance, be it for efficiency, quality, revenue or breakthrough innovation. In essence, a High-IQ network is a network that knows.
A High-IQ Network is a very different, dynamic system approach as it self configures based on what is needed from the network and what is the highest priority for the network at any moment in time. It does this much like a biological nervous system, getting input and understanding from all the connections and data flowing across the network, and feeding that back to intelligently and automatically update and optimize network operations.
Imagine if the network could tweet, telling you instantly something you didn’t know. Imagine an abnormal pattern of network activity at 2 a.m. A network that knows immediately identifies the source, flags it for action and limits further activity until the issue is resolved. A network that knows alerts you to the need for increased bandwidth when a social media video goes viral, automatically load balancing for a seamless experience. A network that knows allows you to deploy a competitive, new high-value service on the edge, automatically turning on in three new geographies once benchmarks are met – not in months but in minutes.
Given Juniper’s heritage, our vision, and our renewed focus, Juniper can uniquely deliver the high-performance, agile, secure, context-aware networks that our customers need in the connected future.
2. Co-Creating with our Customers Another key aspect of the changes happening around us is about new ways of innovating for our customers, as well as having new and differentiated technology. The world is changing, going from a linear “bucket brigade” model of work, to a place where innovations frequently happen at the boundaries of traditional disciplines and organizations: in a nutshell, we believe that you can’t generate and execute on new ideas with old thinking.
In this world, we need to work back-to-back with our customers to create and deliver new use-cases that are accretive for them and capture the imagination of their customers. The hidden opportunities in this new, exciting world only expose themselves when we camp at our customers’ doorsteps, co-creating with them. When you do this, you unleash the full creative potential for our customers and individuals everywhere. We call this approach co-creation: intensely collaborating with our customers to address their toughest business challenges, offering an open environment that can be adapted to their unique and evolving needs, and staying with them until we have a solution.
Fusing the outside-in customer imperatives and capabilities with Juniper’s inside-out art-of-the possible is who we are – a company with a pioneering spirit. We are not afraid to wrestle down the big challenges that come with this vision and co-create the future with our customers. We are not only optimistic about our joint future. We fully embrace the changes necessary to make it happen!
This approach is the precise reason that just in the past few months we were selected by AT&T for their Domain 2.0 User-Defined network Cloud; by Cloudwatt for their large-scale public cloud deployment; by UBS and NIKE, Inc. to help them build global, next-generation data centers to enhance flexibility, ensure carrier-class resiliency and improve application performance to better serve their clients.
And the Drumbeat Continues As I’ve traveled the world, listening to our customers, I hear a clear call to action to the networking industry: “Help me build new technology that will scale for the future so I can take advantage of the cloud, innovate for the ever-changing demands of my customers, deploy services faster than my competition and …all at lower operational costs.” Tall orders, I know, because I used to be that customer!
We are on a mission to answer this call. We are helping our customers cross the chasm from old-tech to new-tech as they look to serve people across the planet in new, creative ways. I see great opportunity with our customers, and our teams around the world are motivated and energized to roll up their sleeves and co-create every day.
Leading the Next Wave of Innovation
As the world continues its move to the cloud, a new wave of network innovation is required. I am confident in our strengths and leadership in systems, silicon and software. We are now creating the right products that will be the foundation of the next wave of networks that fit where our customers want to be, and importantly, where the market is evolving to – high-performance, agile, secure, automated, and context-aware networks in an open framework.
These High-IQ Networks will be fundamental to the next generation of Cloud Builders and users. And just as important, we will walk the path together with our customers across this bridge to the future. Technology is one aspect of what is required; the other is to help guide as to how processes, work cultures and new technologies will need to work together in new ways to operationalize this vision.
This is why co-creating with our partners and customers together will be crucial: you can’t implement new ideas on old thinking.
This is our Heritage and it is our Future
As the world moves towards 5 billion connected people and beyond, I could not be more excited about our opportunity to help our customers build a bridge to their future and contribute to the rise-of-the-creative-planet. As we continue this exciting journey together, I look forward to broadening and deepening the conversation and sharing my observations about the technology industry and its impact on business with you in future blogs.