"I'm here to convince you that our game is changing."
That was Juniper Networks CEO Rami Rahim (pictured) during his Juniper NXTWORK EMEA summit keynote in London this week.
He talked about his priorities for the company's portfolio, and why he's pivoting Juniper towards the enterprise market.
Top of the agenda is leveraging the network vendor's $405m acquisition of artificial intelligence-powered networking start-up Mist Systems into more of its portfolio.
18 months on from the merger, MIST is currently behind the vendor's wireless LAN offerings.
"However, anybody out there that believes that MIST became a part of Juniper primarily to build a wireless LAN gap in our solution is quite frankly, missing the point.
"Because the goal is to bring that super differentiated cloud platform, and that game changing AI technology to bear across all of our enterprise portfolio," he said.
"It'll take us fine, but we will do it. We're committed to it. We'll do it methodically and systematically because quite frankly, this is what our customers, what many of you are asking us for."
"We've made the hard pivot and are now set for great growth."
Key to that pivot is aggressively targeting the enterprise space, the more traditional home of rival, Cisco.
Indeed, his emphasis on MIST as powering true AI capabilities in Juniper was a shot across the bow of its long-time nemesis.
"There's a lot of AI-washing out there," he said.
"We know that we have to change; that what has got us here is not necessarily what will get move us forwards.
"We want to negate the legacy hardware centric value delivery models of our old school competitors.
"And the goal I've mentioned is the self-driving network."
Rahim claimed that the vendor is already at around 50 per cent of its network tickets being resolved by automated processes, without the need of a human engineer to intervene.
"I predict that within the next year or two, we can get that to 80 per cent and maybe beyond that, up to 100 per cent," he said.
In regards to the channel, Juniper's enterprise shift may reflect consecutive worrying financials for its service provider segment.
In Q3, Juniper's service provider segment dipped down 17 per cent year on year.
In Q2, that figure was negative 15 per cent.
"We have a lot of great cloud provider customers," he said.
"[But] our strategy really respects the biggest change that is happening in our industry, and that is this network evolution towards the cloud."
He acknowledged that some changes that are being made are painful, but insisted that Juniper partners should stick with the vendor that will truly "blaze a path to AI".
"With Mist, Juniper is one of a limited number of companies that can serve enterprises end to end. While Mist started by bringing AI-driven operations to WLAN, Juniper and Mist together will leverage this AI-driven approach across the IT stack," he said.
"This is an inflection point that we can capture with our solutions to gain share. And we developed great products like our cloud delivered SDN solution."
His parting advice was for his channel and customers to "embrace the change".
"Let's not resist it quite frankly, I think we can all benefit from spending time on higher order activities, value creating activities for our companies like advancing our strategy, like keeping the disruptors out and being disrupting ourselves."
Some say performance, others say money but it may be systems and processes that carry the day
Former Trustmarque boss will help grow AI and IoT practices in new role
The French channel giant is expected to close its 2019 with growth in operating profits, as cost-cutting efforts deliver €30m in savings
Champion success, highlight innovation and outpacing the market in CPI's New York MSP Awards 2020