Operating Area Leader – Service Provider,
Middle East & Africa at Juniper Networks
Interview – Gulraiz Khalid.
Mr. Ravi Mali(Operating Area Leader – Service Provider Middle East & Africa at Juniper Networks) is one of most successful personalities in the telecom sector today. With experience in companies like Nelco, and over 15 years in Alpha Data, Mr. Ravi has been has been the Operating Area Leader – Service Provider, Middle East & Africa, for Juniper Networks, one of the biggest names in the telecom world. Mr. Ravi has over 25 years of technology experience in various roles in Sales, Pre-sales, Project and Business management and a Track record of achieving 100%+ targets since 1987 for most of the 22 years. Recently, Teletimes got the opportunity to have an exclusive interview with him. It is given as follows for our readers.
Starting off with the background of Juniper Networks Ravi said, We(Juniper) started as a company about 12 years back. The founder of the company is a person called Pradeep Sidhu. We are actually known as the innovators of the trends in routing. In those days, about 10 to 12 years ago there was big congestion in the internet world and what we invented was a unique technology that allowed us to route the entire internet at wire speed which solved the congestion problem for most of the worldwide operators. With this technology, we built a range of routing products. Some of our major customers from those days that are famous include France Telecom and Horizon many others. So being an innovative company we have developed key technology in the same area, and now we can say that our product portfolio targets enterprise customers as well service provider customers.
In a question about his personal role in Juniper Networks, he said, “me specifically? I am the operating area leader for the Middle East and Africa for the service provider business. I and my team basically look after North Africa, South Africa, Saudi Arabia, Middle East, Gulf and Pakistan. “
Talking about the solutions of Juniper is providing, Mr. Ravi told us that, “We can define them into two or three categories. Category number one would be helping the operators solve the internet issues. We have a lot of ISP customers who use our products and solutions. We also provide core multi-service networks. When I say multi-networks I mean, to provide solutions in which you can build a core and you can deploy voice, video and data on the same core. We have some customers in that respect all over the area as well. We also provide EDGE, so we provide metro networks. Our customers’ services connect to our core or metro networks. In terms of software, JUNAS is our software. JUNAS is our operating system. We are very unique in the industry as all of our products mostly use JUNAS as an operating system, which means it’s very easy for the operator to manage, and the cost of operations is very low as compared to that of the competitors basically because we are using a single image in the software. Recently we have announced some new products in October last year and one of the things very innovative things was that we opened the JUNAS software to the developers world, creating an ecosystem that allows people to innovate and bring new applications to the service provider network. We have recently got a client, Junas Pulse that sits on an iPhone or a smartphone and allows you to do WAN acceleration between the mobile set and the end user network.”
Later on, Mr. Ravi told us about Juniper’s strategy towards it’s partners, he said, “The way partnership works for us is that we are a very partner-centric company. We believe in selling through our partners. They’re categorized into three or four categories. Number one would be the alliances; these alliances are with companies like Nokia Siemens Networks and Ericsson for example. We have a joint venture with Nokia Siemens where a company is created in Europe, in which Nokia Siemens is also on the board and we are also on the board. We develop technology together as well as market our solutions together. The second one would be our elite partners, these people have the highest degree of certification in terms of people to support our solutions and they have some preferential treatment from Juniper as well. Then we have another range of select partners, we have partners like Premier Systems or Apollo from Pakistan based in Islamabad. In case of select partners, there is specialization in terms of a specified portion or part and not the whole product. The fourth category would be resellers who have indirect relationship with Juniper, that is they buy from our distributors and resell later. Even the select partners also buy through the distributors.”
Mr. Ravi talked about Juniper’s presence in Pakistan in an answer to a question, he told us that, “Since about 2004, we entered into the market of Pakistan. We were there, I would say remotely in the initial period. We have now a growing team in Pakistan and business is developing. It is reacting beyond our expectations and that is leading to more expansion. Presently, we have a team of a few sales people and support engineers based all over the country. The Pakistani market is very competitive. The price at which the service providers are selling is the lowest anywhere in the world, which means there is a very difficult and unique kind of competition. However, I can very safely say that Juniper is very well prepared for this. Here I would like to mention, we have so much functionality in our equipment that it allows us to do a lot of things with a few boxes. This means that the returns on investment for us are good.
Informing us about Junipers area of operations, Mr. Ravi said, “We are operating Egypt, Saudi Arabia the entire Gulf, Pakistan, South Africa and North Africa. We are also present in many other countries but they are not under me. On a worldwide basis, Juniper has its presence in about 140 countries. “
In the end, he talked about a little about the strategy of Juniper and what we can expect from Juniper in the future, he said that, “The strategy of Juniper is to build innovative new products and solutions. What I like to call the ‘crown jewel’, that is JUNAS OS is one of the most resilient Operating System Software in the industry. And through products like these, we are expanding our portfolio, and as we are expanding our portfolio, we are becoming more related to the large and innovative operators that want to do lots of things with less money. Due to the pressure, every operator is trying to bring down its costs, its OPEX costs, and we believe that we are and will continue to be able to cater to the needs of such operators. We will continue to innovate. Juniper has invested a lot in R&D and will continue to invest more in that area. You will always here new things from Juniper.”