Novell Kicks Off PartnerNet 2007


As part of the program, kicked off on Monday, Novell will require solution providers at the Platinum and Gold levels to specialize and earn certifications in at least one of four areas: Linux, security and identity management, resource management and workgroup. Silver-level partners won't be required to specialize, but they can specialize in Linux as a way to jump to higher levels, according to the Waltham, Mass.-based company.

Ladd Timpson, channel vice president at Novell, said the company began rolling out the new program to partners earlier this month, but partners will have until mid-2007 to comply with the new requirements.

The specialization focus is designed to evolve what is now a program into a business development platform for partners, he said. For example, Novell plans to offer discounted products, focused training in technology and marketing, improved sales opportunities, incentives and rebates, and qualified leads tuned for each specialization.

"It's market-focused, and rebate and incentive programs will be aligned with key markets," Timpson said.

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With PartnerNet, Novell also is creating two new partner types: Global Strategic Partners, and Distribution and Fulfillment Partners.

As Novell moves away from a services and consulting focus, the company is zeroing in on some top global systems integrators -- including Dell, Hewlett-Packard and IBM -- to drive more share in the Linux and other key software markets, Timpson said. That will allow Novell to tap into the channels and service capabilities of HP and IBM. The systems integrator and distribution tracks are independent of Novell's Platinum and Gold levels for solution providers.

"It's a totally different model, a strategic business model," Timpson said, explaining that the intent is to jointly approach major customers. "We have not realized the true benefits of those relationships in the past." On the security and identity management side, for example, Novell is fostering relationships with Accenture and others, he said.

In addition, Novell announced that the first phase of its redesigned partner portal will go live in January.

The streamlined portal will simplify partner interaction with Novell and leverage Novell's CRM and PRM systems, Timpson said. It also will include revenue tracking and opportunity information, rebate status, information about outstanding service requests and new tools to measure and manage their sales opportunities with Novell. "It's going to be best-in-class," Timpson added.