Novell says its newly unveiled PartnerNet program has evolved from the traditional partner program into a business development platform.
David Lenz, Novell’s worldwide director of partner programs, says the program allows his company to better serve its partners through matching the right partners to the right customers.
“Novell provides a level of personalised service other vendors don’t. Every partner – from the biggest global organisation to the smallest solution provider – has a specific person at Novell attending to them. Partners will know this person by name and can always contact them,” he says.
With its increased focus Novell believes partners will benefit from increased profitability through incentives and rebates aligned to specialisations, shorter sales cycles and access to larger deals.
“Specialisation ensures partners have what they need and not what other partners might need,” says Lenz.
Lenz says partners receive qualified leads matching the markets they serve. Additionally PartnerNet allows them to develop repeatable, market focused business practices and demand-generation activities.
In keeping with its new channel management structure Novell has increased the number of partner tracks from three to five and it is possible for partners to choose to join different tracks.
Lenz says that in today’s market partners are specialising in either a solution or vertical market.
“Novell wants to support this move and provide the right tools. There are still generalists out there but many are concentrating on their areas of strength. PartnerNet is about working together in focused areas to exploit our common strengths and maximise returns.”
He adds that this approach helps partners generate new and incremental revenue and gives customers the confidence with businesses offering specific expertise and solutions.
To ensure partners get the most out of the program Jacinta Scott, Novell’s Asia Pacific partner programs, recommends regular use of the PartnerNet Portal.
This portal is a fully integrated platform combining a range of features including a licence administration system, deal registration, a financial system and ordering.
“It allows our partners to quickly and easily see where they sit with Novell and how their business is progressing. It also provides them with details of how to access their benefits and find the tools they need to drive revenue,” she says.
In particular, says Scott, tools such as Campaign Central allow partners to put together marketing material around specific solutions to help generate demand.
“Some partners have found the tools Novell provides useful but many have yet to explore the range of sales, marketing and technical tools. To ensure partners leverage everything the program has to offer they need to regularly visit the portal.”
Novell has also changed its certification as part of the new program with technical and sales certifications now aligned with specialisations.
“Instead of a technical person requiring general skills to qualify they can now concentrate on the skills they need to sell a chosen solution,” says Lenz.
Sales certifications are just as important, he says, and these have also been revised to reflect the knowledge required to sell different solutions. All sales courses and exams are available online.
* Novell’s Reseller Community is suitable for partners who are interested in Novell, but aren’t quite ready to join the Novell PartnerNet program. It allows new partners to register their company with Novell and provides access to basic information via the PartnerNet Portal and PartnerNet newsletters.
* The Silver level is the entry point into the PartnerNet program for partners wishing to develop a deeper relationship with Novell. It provides partners with a set of program benefits and the opportunity to develop their skills and progress within the program by specialising in focused solution areas.
* Silver, Gold and Platinum specialist partners must meet specialisation requirements.
* Solution Provider Track – is a new value proposition around partner specialisation allowing providers to focus on their activities and receive tailored support and resources. Solution partners are now categorised according to their strengths in the following areas of specialisation – Linux, security and identity management, systems and resource management, workgroup. Platinum and gold partners are required to specialise in at least one area while silver partners can specialise in Linux.
* Technology Partner Track – allows ISVs and IHVs to license Novell technology, develop and certify products and then sell or market them through Novell or their own channels.
* Distributor & Fulfilment Partner Track – meets the unique requirements of distributors and software fulfilment agents
* Training Partner Track – addresses the needs of academic and commercial training partners.