Don Chapman, the long-time vice-president and general manager of Novell Canada, knew that if he and his team could execute the Clear Channel strategy announced a year ago, that 2002 would become the most significant year under his command.

And, execute they did. Clear Channel is a plan that

will see Novell give up control of several of it high-profile accounts to its reseller partners. The goal of this rejevenated channel was to have 20 partners on board by the end of 2002. By the company’s year end in October, Novell Canada had achieved that target.

For 2003, they are looking to grow the partner base even more.

The plan may have drawn some skepticism, for Novell was not the most channel friendly company in the past. But that changed when Jack Messman became the company’s CEO, said Chapman.

One of Messman’s more famous quotes is: “We need the channel more than anyone in the business. Novell can’t reach all of our customers with our field-sales force. We need other means to get to the customer.”

Besides Messman’s corporate philosophy, Chapman said the infrastructure behind the philosophy had to be in place. To do that Novell produced a partner handbook and developed an extensive amount of training to get partners ready to take charge of these accounts.

“When you look at the corporate strategy and vision, how do you deploy that vision or mission globally? The partners are a key component for doing that strategy,” Chapman said.

Novell partners like what they hear so far.

Geoff Lindorff of GoldTech said: “This is a really exciting time for Novell’s channel. I have no doubt that we will grow more than 20 per cent. This will give us the power to penetrate new markets”

“Novell now allows us to offer more complete solutions to our clients and, of course, a much larger number of clients with the named accounts,” said Carlos Paz-Soldan, long time channel veteran for Tenet Computer Group

“We are well positioned to take over that business and I can see Tenet gaining 30 to 40 per cent growth.”

Novell also made news by announcing:

• ExteNd, which was acquired from SilverStream;

• ExteNd, a suite of tools that can integrate existing information assets;

• Destiny, a Web services roadmap that was started when Novell submitted a universal description, discovery and integration (UDDI) specification to the Internet Engineering Task Force. The UDDI specification could be used in conjunction with a lightweight directory access protocol-based database, such as Novell’s eDirectory;

• And, Nsure, a batch of solutions in the secure identity management portfolio. Novell also struck partnerships with 20 channel partners for Nsure.

“It’s a world without information boundaries where the right people are connected to the right information at the right time,” said Chapman of Novell’s major announcements this year.

One of the obstacles Chapman faced in 2002 was making sure all of Novell’s major partners were ready for the challenge of taking on significant new business.

Education, he said, was the key. “(We needed to) put them in a position to deliver on those solutions.

“In looking at that when you go out and solve customer problems, we knew we had to enhance the capabilities of our partners to be able to go out and solve customer problems,” he said.

Chapman added that partner training will be further enhanced in 2003.

Another goal for 2003 will be to grow by 20 per cent.

“We achieve single digit growth in 2003 ahead of our plan and if you look at the industry we have done very well. Our plan is two-digit growth. That is 20-plus in for 2003 and growth will come from secure identity management ExteNd, consulting services growth and Zen.”

Carv Moore, Novell Americas president has noticed Chapman and the performance of the entire Novell Canada team in 2002. “The channel is extremely important to Novell and we’ve seen particularly strong results in Canada,” he said.

Moore added that the Clear Channel strategy is paying off.

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