Enterasys Loses Top Channel Executive

Erdman resigned from Enterasys last week, according to a company spokesman, who said he didn't know the reason for Erdman's departure or whether he had taken a position at another company. Enterasys executives weren't available for comment.

Solution providers contacted this week hadn't been notified of Erdman's resignation, but they credited him with improving Enterasys' partner program.

"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 at Managed Solutions Planning Xperts, Arlington, Va. "They have a big organization over there. I don't think it's a one-man show," he added.

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.

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Last year, for example, Andover, Mass.-based Enterasys hiked 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 Boulder, Colo.-based solution provider. "If the field stays functional and the program doesn't change, I don't see [Erdman's departure] being a problem."

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

"[Enterasys is] 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 Portsmouth, N.H.-based Enterasys partner.

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. Enterasys hasn't yet determined whether a direct replacement will be named, the spokesman said.