Ardent axes sales staff

Just weeks after launching a new service that allows large enterprise customers to prioritize applications traveling over their WANs, Ardent Communications Inc., formerly known as CAIS Internet Inc., laid off about 50 salespeople.

Ardent spokeswoman Allison Tobin said she is not sure what percentage of the sales force the layoffs represent. Before the layoffs, Ardent had just over 300 employees in total.

Tobin said Ardent will continue to operate into the foreseeable future and she is not aware of any plans to file for bankruptcy.

"Our goal is to become cash-flow positive, and the layoffs are a step toward that goal," she said.

Until Ardent began offering its new WAN service, known as MPLS-VPN, it sold mostly cheap pipes that required a lot of sales support, Tobin noted. Now that it is offering MPLS-VPN, a more complex, high-end service, the company is taking a more "consultative" sales approach.

Ardent has made no cuts to its engineering or customer service staff, Tobin added.

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