Novell brings clarity to channel after Cambridge buyout

Novell wants to clear the air on its account management practices and take a shared approach to customers with its channel partners.

The company has launched a program, called Clear Channel, which involves a co-engagement plan to promote the delivery of Novell’s technologies.

“We’re primarily focused on defining our channel strategy and demonstrating how critical our partners are to our overall go-to-market strategy,” James Simzer, Novell of Canada’s director of field and channel sales told CDN.

Simzer said Novell will choose “named accounts” within the Fortune 500 and Global 2,000 organizations and its partners will select a partnership level that will determine their involvement on the account. Novell will publish the named accounts to its partners. Cambridge Technology Partners, the consulting firm Novell acquired earlier this year, will also be a part of the co-engagements, though not likely in ways that would conflict with Novell’s resellers, Simzer said.

“We’ll continue to develop our solutions for our customers and Cambridge will focus its efforts on our Fortune 500 customers,” he said. “If you take a look at our partners selling with us across the country, we have a very deep relationship and strategies with those partners . . . we’re defining how to expand our partner network.”

Simzer said Novell will work with its channel in measurable ‘sell with’ relationships. These partners will receive high-level sales and technical support, in addition to being assigned an account manager. He added that Novell would continue to provide information and training to its broad base of over 20,000 resellers who choose to participate at a different level of partnering.

Carlos Paz-Solden, vice-president of technologies and services for the Tenet Computer Group in Toronto, said Clear Channel would prevent any potential conflicts that may arise between VARs, or between VARs and manufacturers.

“It’s good to know who is taking the lead with regards to a particular account,” he explained. “It makes life much easier when you approach the customer on a unified front.

“Sometimes with manufacturers, you don’t always know who your friends are. . . this will allow us to concentrate and focus on working with the client to bring them the right solution.”

Simzer said the opportunity for Novell partners is vast. Citing industry data, Novell stated the markets for server operating environments, enterprise system and desktop management, collaborative application and security will top US$40 billion in 2001 and US$65 billion in 2002. Those figures exclude the services revenue channel partners see as a part of the initial sale.

The Clear Channel plan also incorporates increasing the number of co-engagement customer wins with solution provider, consultant, and integration partners. Simzer said the sharing of technology and methodologies has become commonplace and that in 2001, the number of mutual sub-contracting agreements with solution providers has grown by more than 600 per cent to over 200 partners benefiting from the synergy achieved by working with Novell Consulting.

“We’ll do a co-consultation engagement with (the reseller’s) customer with the technical expertise that they may not have access to,” he said. “They may not be able to provide all aspects of that sale and this is a means to deliver a solution to the customer in a unified manner.”

Simzer added that the Clear Channel initiative would also foster joint business in vertical markets with large SIs through its Consulting and System Integrator (CSI) program.

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