Novell wants partners to specialize

Novell is making major modifications to its flagship PartnerNet program. The underlining message the enhanced program is intended to deliver to solution providers is that they need to be specialized and in a hurry.

“We want to attract new partners to this program,” said James Simzer, director of partner sales for Novell Canada, based in Markham, Ont. “It will be based on business value and their level of commitment to specialization. We want them to see the value (PartnerNet 2007) brings to each other’s business,” Simzer said.

PartnerNet 2007 is a targeted program aimed at solution providers who can specialize in Linux, security and identity management, systems and resource management and workgroup.

The program has expanded to offer a solution provider track, which focuses on specialization in the those four areas as well as:• Training partner track for academic and commercial training partners;• Technology Partner Track for ISVs and other solution providers to help them properly license Novell technology;• Distributor and fulfillment track for companies such as Ingram Micro, Tech Data, SoftChoice, Insight and CDW Canada; and • Global Strategic Partners for channel players who have multi-national customers.

“It’s out there,” Simzer said. “There is an opportunity here to specialize and it starts with us. We want to have new conversations (with solution providers) and work with them in a laser-focused way.”

PartnerNet 2007 will be split into three tiers: silver, gold and platinum. Program resources will be aligned to partner specifications. For example, sales leads will now match the partners’ specialization. The same goes for rebates, incentives and sales and marketing collateral.

One of the goals of PartnerNet is to lower the cost of doing business for the partner in areas such as training, marketing, investment and with Novell itself.

“We are trying to move away from generalists,” Simzer said.

Qualified leads in Linux will go Novell partners who specialize in open source. Simzer added that the company plans to roll out a common business practice framework to help VARs. Partners can file their business plans online, which only have to be one page long. Also, marketing plans can be repurposed.

“This is about saving them money. For those who are looking to specialize and can do skills- based assessment, we can give them the content to be specialist and bring them there. Novell will provide specific works plan for them,” Simzer said.

Novell Canada also is looking for partners to be vertical specialists, especially in health care and in telecommunications.

PartnerNet 2007 will also offer a global partner help desk, a password-protected PartnerNet portal that will be personalized and a new incentive base.

“Incentives are based on their commitment. As they move from silver to gold we’ll provide entitlements back to them. There is a Demand Agent Program inside that is focused on entitlements for platinums. For example, for net new revenue the solution providers receive 15 per cent margins. The net new at the gold level is 13 per cent and in silver it is 11 per cent,” Simzer said.


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