Novell slims local workforce

Novell slims local workforce

Novell has announced that 23 staff positions will be lost or re-jigged across its Asia Pacific operations in coming months, in response to the software mammoth's shift towards consulting and Web services.

Ashley Wearne, managing director of Novell Australia said 19 technical support positions and four middle management/marketing roles are scheduled for redundancy, however he is keen to distinguish between 'positions' and 'staff'.

"We are making alterations to our technical support area as we look at supporting customers in a different way," Wearne told ARN.

He stressed that the majority of staff will be reabsorbed into more on-site roles with some people heading to the US. "There will be people who go because they don't fit into the new model," agreed Wearne. But losses are expected to be minimal.

Wearne said the transition to selling Web-based solutions has meant that Novell's traditional call centre support structure is insufficient. "It was fine when we had three of four products but as we added more, and the solutions got more sophisticated, the customers' installations got too complex to handle over the phone."

"This is a new resource for partners," adds Wearne. "They need faster reactions from Novell than the phone could deliver."

The new model will see Novell specialists going on-site with value added resellers (VARs) in a non-competitive approach. "They [the integrators] were calling us anyway. Integrators are typically trying to pull together a bunch of disparate technologies and Novell has no intention of interfering with that," assured Wearne.

Novell announced worldwide staff cuts of 5 per cent on the back of weak Q2 figures at the end of May. While revenue in Australia was up 14 per cent compared to the same period last year, the worldwide group posted a lost of $0.48 cents in the dollar and revenue of $US241million.

Novell CEO, Eric Schmidt said the group is on track to recovery and is expected to return a profit by early 2002. This turnaround will be achieved through job reductions and cost savings in the areas of travel, advertising and recruiting costs.

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