Novell Rolls Out PartnerNet 2002

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At its Partner Summit Monday, Novell plans to woo the channel to its new PartnerNet 2002 program by offering lowered fees, enhanced training, baseline technical support, and by reinstituting the certification process.

As first reported by CRN on Jan. 3, the Provo, Utah, software company is reducing program fees for both Platinum and Gold partners, reinstituting the certification process and offering enhanced benefits to its named partners as well as to other partners based on accelerated revenue they bring to the company.

In line with its Clear Channel Program and new rules of engagement, PartnerNet 2002 aims to address some of the problems and conflicts that arose with Novell partners last year. For example, Novell will sign co-engagement contracts with named partners, appoint go-to named partners in each district and name the top Fortune 5000 accounts it will oversee in each district.

"We corrected some of the ills [with Novell's partner program of 2001 but we have room for improvement," said Ladd Timpson, Novell's worldwide director of channel marketing.

Novell, which is trying to keep partners involved even as it integrates newly acquired Cambridge Technology Partners, has cut program fees for Platinum partners in half, to $1,500 annually from $2,995, and by 25 percent to Gold partners, to $750 annually. Last year, the fee was close to $1,000.

Novell also has created two levels of Platinum partners: integrators that provide services only and Platinum solution providers that sell products and services.

Based on channel feedback, Novell also has dropped sales quotas on partners and reinstituted the certification process after a hiatus in 2001. The new certification requirements for Certified Novell Engineers (CNEs) will be more stringent; Platinum partners are now required to have six NetWare CNEs and four sales professionals on staff while Gold partners must have two CNEs and two sales professionals on board. In addition, Platinum integrators that focus on services only must have two directory specialists on staff. Novell will also offer steep discounts of between 25 percent and 40 percent on CNE certification exams. CNEs will have until June 30 to become certified on NetWare 6.

As part of its recently unveiled named account-named partner model, Novell will provide baseline technical support without any particular sales quota. While less generous than free incident calls offered in 2000, Novell will hand out 15 free tech support calls to Platinum partners and four to Gold partners. However, all named partners, and other solution providers, can earn accelerated technical support benefits based on the revenue they generate, Novell said.

For example, Platinum partners can get five additional technical support calls for every $30,000 they bring into Novell's coffers, executives said.

"Before, they got none; it was all based on revenue attainments," said Timpson. "Now there are no sales quotas per se but an opportunity to receive accelerated benefits based on revenues."

As part of PartnerNet 2002, Platinum partners will also get two free days of education and training at Novell Authorized Education Centers for NetWare 5 and NetWare 6 as well as a free sales study kit and online mentoring. Gold partners will get one free day of education and training.

While Novell has outlined the named account-named partner model for channel partners, it will not define a new set of rules of engagement for its large Consulting and Systems Integration (CSI) partners such as Cap Gemini and Deloitte and Touche, executives said.

While the acquisition of Cambridge Technology Partners was of particular concern to CSI partners given the vertical, high-end focus of the new e-services arm, Novell will continue to work closely with global systems integrators and sign specific co-engagements on a project by project basis, according to the company.

"In general, there are not really any new rules for working with the CSIs. As you know, much of our focus with the CSIs is around creating and delivering solutions that are based on enterprise identity management via integration into ERP [human resources systems and secure infrastructure for e-enterprises, e-business CRM or supply chain portals and hosted services," said Jo McCausland, director of Novell's CSI Alliances program. "There is a strong drive within Novell sales to work more closely with our partners, both the traditional channel and the CSIs. Solution sales will be driven based on qualification of specific business initiatives in large accounts. E-account teams will work with the CSI account managers to determine the best strategy and appropriate CSI partner to fulfill the requirements of the client. Based on Novell's internal competencies and customer need, Novell will also fulfill the projects with our own resources."

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