Cliff Smith, Novell Australia's newly appointed managing director, intends to crush public perception that the networking giant is loosing its grip. "We need to communicate better. It's all about partnerships and being responsive."
Smith will run Novell's operations in Australia, New Zealand and the South Pacific, in addition to heading-up sales, marketing and channel distribution in the region.
Smith leaves behind seven years as managing director of Kyocera Electronics and replaces former managing director, Graeme Inchley, who relocated to Perth to join electronic commerce company Intellect.
Smith predicts that Novell Australia will undergo improved marketing and communication techniques in strengthening ties with its reseller channel and customer mind share.
With regard to Novell's channel partners, Smith said: "I want them to feel they can obtain the support they need from Novell and [for them to] clearly understand where the company is going, so they can have a profitable partnership with Novell."
As for the implications of Com Tech's recent shift in its distribution and reseller strategies, Smith said that because "Com Tech is acting as both a distributor and a direct reseller of itself, it means that Novell has to make sure that its other channel partners are comfortable".
However, it's the industry warming to intranets that has excited Smith. "I really believe that the intranet is where it's really happening in IT these days. That's one of the things that really attracted me to this job."
And while it's "a bit early" to be discussing product strategy, Novell Australia will work to maintain its "65 per cent" share of the local server market through stronger distribution. "We have to. The future of the IT industry is bound up with partnerships - it's not like the old days where a company owned everything and would do it all themselves for the customers. Those days are gone."