Enterasys Cements Channel Gains, Seeks Greater Partner Presence


The fruits of Enterasys Networks' labor are starting to show a year after it made big bets on a converged networking-data center strategy and that solution providers would be more receptive than ever to alternative vendors with a good channel story to tell.

Enterasys has increased sales through partners by 25 percent, has won over industry analysts that were initially skeptical of another vendor with a so-called fabric strategy and has a fattening pipeline of business with partners in key verticals like education, healthcare and government.

Enterasys, a Siemens Enterprise Communications company, substantially retooled its partner program in early 2011 and, with its partners, focused heavily on data center, wireless networking, and security, among other areas. All of those markets are important to OneFabric, Enterasys' open, standards-based platform that can be deployed using a customer's existing infrastructure, gradually as a customer expands his usage needs and upgrades products, and offers a stem-to-stern management platform for everything from mobile devices to the core data center assets.

 

[Related: Enterasys Partners: OneFabric Strategy Gives Us An Edge]

It's a winning strategy, said Ram Appalaraju, Enterasys vice president of marketing.

"Customers want to solve problems using fewer resources and not have ongoing management headaches," Appalaraju said, in a recent interview with CRN at Enterasys' Andover, Mass., headquarters. "We understand the nuances that come from virtualization all the way to mobile devices, and we've made a network pertinent to them. The phased approach is the key. Businesses are able to foresee what needs to come next, and that makes their decisions strategic."

Charlie Van Pelt, director of North American channels, said Enterasys has spent less time in the past year recruiting "transactional" partners than targeting solution providers who can sell infrastructure and data center and tell more of the convergence story.

Enterasys has brought on about 400 new partners around the world since 2011, and about 90 percent of Enterasys' sales now go through the channel. But, the goal is quality partners and also encouragement of existing partners to offer the whole Enterasys portfolio.

"We're being more selective," Van Pelt said. "About 20 percent of our partners are fully able to sell that way now. We want to have much more presence in our partners, and we're getting that."

Some of its recent channel incentives have helped the effort. Enterasys spiffs partners who bring in new opportunities, for example, and also provides back-end rebates for successfully closed new business.

But, it's also continued to expand OneFabric, with such recent offerings as the Enterasys Mobile Identity and Access Manager (IAM) -- a piece of OneFabric's Security offering, available as a physical or virtually-deployed appliance for about $8 per monitored mobile device.

"This is tangible -- these are things they can make money with," Van Pelt said, describing the way Enterasys wants to build channel offers on the OneFabric concept. "Our customers don't have to replace everything, and we can manage it, very simply, whether wired or wireless."

NEXT: Getting Partners To Think About OneFabric In Terms Of SDN Trend