Enterasys' Smooth Ride

The networking vendor last week confirmed that John Erdman, vice president of channel marketing, resigned from the company at the end of January.

A company spokesman did not know the reason for Erdman's departure or whether he had taken a position at another company.

Enterasys executives were not available for comment.

Solution providers contacted last week had not been notified of Erdman's resignation, but credit him with improving Enterasys' partner program.

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"He was one of the key people, but from what I see and feel, I don't think anything changes," said Amir Sohrabi, executive vice president of Managed Solutions Planning Xperts, a solution provider in Arlington, Va. "They have a big organization over there. I don't think it's a one-man show," he said.

Under Erdman, Enterasys launched an aggressive campaign to bolster its channel program with high-value partners as part of an effort to pick up market share against networking rival Cisco Systems.

Last year, for example, Andover, Mass.-based Enterasys upped channel spending by 10 percent to 15 percent and launched a deal-registration program that grants partners a year of sales exclusivity and an extra 10 percent discount on new business across the vendor's product lines.

Partners said they are pleased with Enterasys' current channel strategy and hope it doesn't change in the wake of Erdman's departure.

"The people we're dealing with [at Enterasys] are bending over backward to help us close deals; they're giving us leads," said Lesley Taufer, president and CEO of

Boulder Corp., a solution provider in Boulder, Colo. "If the field stays functional and the program doesn't change, I don't see [Erdman's departure] being a problem."

Solution providers said sales of Enterasys gear are strong, offering higher partner margins and lower end-user costs than comparable products from Cisco.

"They're developing technology around customer needs, not just saying, 'What do we need to do to keep up with the competition?' " said Steve Thorpe, president of Adaptive Communications, a solution provider and Enterasys partner in Portsmouth, N.H.

The Enterasys spokesman affirmed the company's commitment to its partners, noting that its channel program will continue to fall under the domain of Cosmo Santullo, executive vice president of worldwide sales and service, to whom Erdman reported.

The company has not yet determined whether a direct replacement will be named, the spokesman said.