Ashley Wearne, MD of Novell Australia, has been quick to defend a new pilot reseller program, announced after last week's approval of Novell's merger with services company Cambridge Technology Partners. The program effectively sees the vendor move one step closer to its customers.
"Everyone is blaming this change on vendors going direct, but vendors don't want to go direct. It's too great a drain on their reserves," Wearne told ARN.
"The more mission-centric the technology becomes [for the customer], the closer the relationship they demand with their vendor. This means that integrators and solutions providers can't work to a set model."
Wearne claims the shift is a means of survival in a changing channel. "The idea of a channel, where the reseller is effectively a sales force for the vendor, is becoming a tricky and outdated concept," he said.
As such, Novell is piloting a new partnering methodology with a small list of resellers, including Com Tech, Protech, Icefire, Heathertech and Somerville Group.
The idea, claims Wearne, is to have a list of affiliated partners with different specialties. This allows the vendor to select the appropriate partner for the solution, effectively adding to its own skills base and staying ahead of the demand curve.
Taryn Case, general manager of Queensland-based reseller Icefire, said the skill for resellers is to be the best in their niche so they are selected when the relevant job comes up. "If you specialise as the best, you will always be recommended as the best," she said.
The Novell concept, according to Case, does involve a close alignment with the vendor and an acceleration of its services push. Icefire doesn't sell Novell products, sticking purely to the project management and integration of the vendor's Internet Office solution, which allows businesses with scattered offices to use the Internet as their network as opposed to costly WANs and servers.
Novell's multi-pronged channel strategy includes:
-Selling directly to large enterprises.
-Working with systems integration partners where it makes sense.
-Selling through value-added resellers and small-to-medium businesses.
-Targeting large enterprise customers in vertical markets such as government, transportation, utilities and healthcare.