Novell PartnerNet Program Changes Include Simplified Deal Registration

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Novell is rolling out an overhauled channel program designed to drastically reduce the complexity of registering deals and also simplify the process of reaching revenue targets across the board.

Most important to VARs might be the reduction of 13 deal registration programs down to one in Novell's PartnerNet program, said Scott Lewis, vice president of partner marketing and enablement at XChange Solution Provider in Orlando, Fla.

"Before, partners had to choose from all different programs, with which promotion is the product participating in. It cost us time and it cost them time. It was frustrating for everyone concerned," Lewis said. "We'll hide all the details behind the scenes. We'll figure out the rest."

Novell started development on the new program last November and is just beginning to roll it out live to partners, Lewis said.

The change comes on the heels of another alteration to PartnerNet that came late last year: separating revenue targets for Platinum, Gold and Silver levels based on individual specializations. Now a partner's level is based on overall revenue with the company, in addition to customer satisfaction and competence, Lewis said.

"First we measured all three areas by specialization. It was more complex than it was worth," he said. "The competence component makes sense for specializations, but the revenue threshold [based on specializations] was too much for us. This is easier for [VARs] to understand and for us to measure."

In the past, VARs might have focused on improving business in a specialization where they were lagging at the expense of another space where there was more opportunity, Lewis said.

"The rewards for VARs are taking care of the customer no matter which solution the customer buys," he said.
Other recent improvements in Novell's PartnerNet program include reducing partner performance reporting to quarterly intervals instead of monthly, Lewis said. The move was made because there wasn't typically enough movement in a 30-day period to justify the costs of producing the reports so often, Lewis said.

Now the reports are based on a rolling 12-month period each quarter and partners won't drop a level until the third consecutive quarter of not meeting goal, he said. "We notify you twice before taking action. On the flip side, if you're growing the business, say from gold to platinum, you can do that in that first quarter."

Overall, the new PartnerNet should enable to VARs to have a simplified and improved channel experience with Novell, Lewis said.

"We've gotten mostly positive feedback. Certainly, they felt pain registering a deal the wrong way. From that perspective it's very positive," Lewis said.

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