Novell seeks more specialised partners

Novell seeks more specialised partners

Novell is to introduce a new range of specialised partner programs designed for resellers that don’t fit its traditional networking model.

The new programs, due to be rolled out in January, will offer categories based on specialist expertise for the vendor’s Nterprise, Nsure and exteNd products. Nterprise partners will be certified in cross-platform network services; Nsure will offer certification in secure identity management (SIM); and exteNd in Web portals and enterprise application integration.

“The Novell model hasn’t developed with our business and reseller partner programs have been generic,” said Novell manager of partner relationships for A/NZ, Steve Martin. “Our programs don’t yet accurately reflect skill sets and services to partners looking to play in these spaces.

“For a number of our offerings, certified engineer skills are not required. We are not asking existing partners to jump through more hoops, we are looking for partners specialised in our new solution areas.”

Martin estimated that Novell had more than 120 partners in the A/NZ region, only 10 of which had expressed any interest in getting involved with its Nsure offerings.

“We have spent the past three years focusing on Nsure but SIM is about understanding identity within a business and integrating it across all systems – it’s not networking at all,” he said.

“The required skills in that area are based on XML, integration or directory and our new partner program will better reflect what is needed to be successful in that space, allowing us to more easily identify and partner with companies we would not come across in networking.”

Martin said the exteNd part of Novell’s business had grown in part because of its acquisition of Web services outfit SilverStream.

He said it would look to work with partners that had specialised applications development skills such as J2EE, XML, open standards and service orientated delivery of applications (SODA).

The new plans aim to build on recent successes, Novell claims to have increased its number of A/NZ channel partners by 35 per cent during the past six months. Martin also estimated that 45 per cent of channel sales during the same period had been with new customers.

“We have had much stronger than expected results from new customers," he said. "This shows that our partners are actively taking products and putting them in front of prospective customers,” he said.

“The majority of exteNd and Nsure business is new because these are emerging markets. SIM opportunities are rife at the moment as CIOs increasingly realise the need for an enterprise-wide approach.”

Martin also pointed to a recent Tech Pacific survey as proof that the vendor’s renewed push into the small business market was paying dividends, claiming 60 per cent of 429 SMB partners contacted had expressed an interest in the Novell small business campaign.

“This is a phenomenal result from our point of view because only a dozen or so of those surveyed were existing Novell partners,” he said. “It proves we have come along at the right time.”

Novell put together a free small business networking software redistribution kit in May worth more than $2000. Channel partners in A/NZ were invited to buy the Novell Small Business Suite 6 for a one-off fee of $80 and could then resell it to an unlimited number of customers.

Martin said there had been a four-week delay in delivering the media kits to channel partners because of a small error encountered during the manufacturing of the CDs. Indications of how the incentive is progressing are expected in October.

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