Novell Returns To Roots

Details changes to partner programs, including reduced fees

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Novell formally launched its PartnerNet 2002 program and created a new channel chief post during its Partner Summit, held here last week.

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

At the Partner Summit, Novell also said it plans to launch a major ad campaign and create the position of vice president of channels for North America, which solution providers at the summit said is designed to improve channel relations.

Novell cut program fees for Platinum partners in half to $1,500 annually from $2,995 and by 25 percent to $750 from $995 for Gold partners. Solution providers were miffed last year because for the first time PartnerNet 2001 raised annual fees and imposed quarterly revenue requirements on its Platinum and Gold partners.

"The new [PartnerNet 2002 program appears to have been realigned with the more traditional pieces we liked most in past years' Novell partnership programs," said Terry Calloway, president of Data Technique, a Novell partner in Pittsburg, Kan. "Local account support, local training and reinstating certification requirements to say the least make it a better program. Am I willing to pay for it? Heck, yes. The return on investment with our Novell partnership is always in the black."

Paul Anderson, CEO of Novacoast, a named partner in Santa Barbara, Calif., said, "Novell spent a lot of time going over the model for partners to engage with Novell, and this is the most serious approach I've seen."

PartnerNet 2002 aims to address some of the problems and conflicts that arose with Novell partners last year. The named accounts-named partner model pleases those who are named partners, but not all in the channel.

"I was a Novell Platinum just over one year ago, but now I'm so disillusioned with the company and its interest in the channel that I've had little to do with [Novell," said one solution provider who requested anonymity. "There would have to be a significant outreach effort on the part of Novell to interest me at this point."

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