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Fresh off a year it says spurred "record progress" in its channel, Enterasys Networks is hoping to maintain that momentum in 2014 with a new presales partner certification, increased market development funds (MDFs) and heftier discounts on partner-initiated deals.
The updates come as Enterasys is set to be acquired by fellow networking vendor Extreme Networks. The deal, announced last month, is set to roughly double the companies in size, and has, so far, won the approval of both Enterasys and Extreme partners.
"We are very excited about [the Extreme acquisition] because we feel like it gives us the size, in the marketplace, to make a huge difference," said Charlie Van Pelt, director of North American channels, at Enterasys.
Van Pelt stressed that, for now, it's still "business as usual" for Enterasys partners. He declined to offer specifics around the integration of the Enterasys and Extreme partner programs, but said a plan is in the works.
The Enterasys Network Advantage Partner Program updates for 2014, according to Van Pelt, are targeted largely at partner enablement and allowing solution providers to sell Enterasys products more independently than they have in the past.
"Our claim to fame is customer service and support. We are very good at taking care of customers -- that's our brand, and this is who we are," Van Pelt told CRN. "But sometimes that means that, because we do such a great job taking care of [customers], we now need to make sure our partners are enabled to do that too."
One way Enterasys hopes to boost partner enablement is through a new partner certification called Enterasys Certified Solutions Engineer (ECSE). According to Van Pelt, ECSE is the first sales-, rather than technical-focused, partner certification to be included in the Enterasys partner program.
ECSE will focus primarily on partners' presales capabilities, and within the next year, will be a requirement for partners to reach Gold, Platinum or Diamond status within the Enterasys program.
"We will give a grace period, but are still working out the details there," Van Pelt said.
There will be three different types of ECSE certifications: one focused on Enterasys' BYOD or mobile edge products, one focused on its data center technologies, and one that encompasses both these technology sets, along with Enterasys' One Fabric offering.
In order to receive an ECSE certification, partners will need to complete a series of training requirements and perform a live demonstration of Enterasys products to an internal Enterasys systems engineer. Partners may be able to test out of certain requirements, Van Pelt said.