Novell seeks to rejuvenate its channel

MARKHAM, Ont. — Novell is taking a different route to achieve its goal of becoming a dominant force in the Web services market.

According to Carv Moore, president of Novell Americas, Novell will no longer go it alone and has begun

to cultivate top VARs in North America.

“”We basically want to rejuvenate our channel. We all know what has happened to Novell over the past four years in terms of their move to direct resources and away from the channel,”” Moore said.

The carrot Novell is dangling in front of VARs is the chance to service and build solutions for several of the company’s named accounts — which were attained through Novell’s direct sales reps. Novell is offering VARs the chance to work together to further service named accounts or to develop solutions for them. Currently there are 80 named accounts in Canada from the City of Toronto to the RCMP that Novell will pass on to VARs, said Don Chapman, Novell Canada GM.

There are 20 platinum partners in Canada that will handle this accounts and Chapman expects this number to grow. More education and training will also be on the table as well as increased marketing coverage.

The message of a more channel friendly Novell comes from the top down.

“”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,”” said Novell CEO Jack Messman.

Moore added Novell direct sales reps are already overloaded and are not bringing in the revenue the company expects.

“”These individuals had too many accounts. We are reducing the number of accounts that they handle and turning them over to our partners,”” Moore said.

He went on to say that these internal sales people will help channel partners grow their business by an additional 20 per cent.

“”We will grow the business easily 20 per cent next year. Our biggest challenge will be in the mid-market and in the large accounts. We do not have enough sales people that can cover that market and we will leverage our partners to try and do it,”” Chapman said.

Novell VARs are pumped up about this new direction.

“”This is a really exciting time for Novell’s channel. I have no doubt that we will grow more than 20 per cent with this initiative. They will give us the power to penetrate new markets and the training to get us there,”” said Geoff Lindorff, vice-president of B.C. operations for GoldTech, one of Novell’s platinum partners.

“”It allows us to offer more complete solutions to our clients and, of course, a much larger number of clients with the named accounts. We are well positioned to take over that business and I can see Tenet gaining 30 to 40 per cent growth,”” said Carlos Paz-Soldan, vice-president of technology for Toronto-based Tenet Computer Group.

Paz-Soldan said that solutions, which incorporate Novell products such as identity management, workflow, messaging and portals are growing substantially.

Channel partners will still be able to sell competing brands, Moore said.

Novell has also appointed for the first time a North American vice-president of channels and three other channel directors.

“”Prior to January, partner management at Novell was scattered all over the map. There was no one individual responsible for our channel partners,”” Moore said. “”I wanted some one who wakes up every day and worries about the channel.””

That task belongs to Nancy Reynolds. Reynolds said that her priorities will be on partner training and to make it profitable again to deal with Novell.

“”We will be working with our channel partners on how we go to market. We are looking at both named and non-named accounts and we are looking to turn these accounts over to them from a revenue perspective. That is big,”” Reynolds said.

“”This is a first for Novell to work with the partners to turn over revenue to them and we will work with field sales people to grow the business,”” she added.

The company is also in the process of hiring no less than 19 dedicated business partner managers.

Novell is offering channel partners 27 free days of advanced technical training, including ZenWorks and consulting solutions training.

The company has also recently said it will acquire a small company called SilverStream to gain a stronger foothold in XML and in Web services.

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