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Enterasys in July 2008 was merged with Siemens Enterprise Communications as part of a joint venture between Siemens and the Gores Group, which was Enterasys' previous owner and controls a 51 percent stake in the combined venture.
Years ago, there had been discussion of Enterasys' products and partner programs being folded into the larger Siemens Enterprise Communications portfolios, but the two units have remained largely separate and, according to Van Pelt, will stay that way.
"We have our own channel, and continue to have our own channel and drive business through our own channel," Van Pelt said. "It's going to continue to be a separate entity, run independently of Siemens, but they're a sister company so we do work closely together."
Sometimes there are opportunities that benefit from joint Siemens-Enterasys engagement, but keeping the two programs separate is often helpful for Enterasys' channel growth. A number of solution providers, for example, carry unified communications products from Avaya or Microsoft or Cisco that compete with Siemens' own UC platform but that doesn't stop them from carrying Enterasys products in different segments, Van Pelt said.
The other big channel initiative for Enterasys going forward is expanding its vendor alliance partnerships, Van Pelt said -- those vendors that have product sets that complement Enterasys' own and are willing to work together on bundled solutions for sale through the channel. Palo Alto Networks and Polycom were among the vendor allies Enterasys hosted in Puerto Rico.
"We believe in best-of-breed and giving the best of both worlds," he said. "We want to give our partners the opportunity to do that. We don't have the firewall piece or the video piece, so it's important partners are able to offer best-of-breed across the board. Things are moving forward for partners there."
Van Pelt's role is unique at Enterasys, he said, because he focuses both on solution provider relationships and on strategic vendor alliances. He said channel partners and vendor allies told Enterasys during the partner conference that the company's marketing story isn't what it could be, and in that regard, his team will be working closely with Apparalaju's to pump up Enterasys' profile.