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Novell and Partners: Still Some Work To Do

We're always encouraged here at RCPU when vendors talk about cozying up to partners, so we welcomed Novell's recent revelation that the company is trying to get partners more involved in deals. But, clearly, there are still some details to be worked out, as reader David points out:

"Next time you meet with Novell, find out what they plan to do about companies that use SUSE for their solutions. I see a big push for existing partners; if you look at the channel, most of the partners are service-based and rely more on partner consulting services than on new product sales. We have the only FIPS 3 identity-based encryption appliance available that utilizes a Novell solution stack, and yet since we are new to the market we can't get any help from Novell. I would be very interested to hear Novell's take on assisting new companies that bring their product to market utilizing a Novell stack. Are they only committed to companies with a customer base, or are they willing to incubate and assist companies coming to market? What kind of incubation assistance from Novell is available? SUSE is still new to them, and if Novell doesn't step up and do like Oracle, which provides incubation assistance for companies, how will Novell entice companies to risk bringing new products to market on SUSE? I'm not knocking Novell; we are just struggling to gain customer acceptance all on our own and feel our investment has been all one-sided and haven't seen support that we had hoped for."

David, you bring up a lot of good questions that we obviously can't answer, but we will say that our impression is that Novell's revamped partner strategy is very much a work in progress. And while we don't spend a lot of time writing about Novell -- RCPU is a Microsoft-focused newsletter, after all, at least in theory -- we'll bring this up next time your editor talks to his neighbors in Waltham, Mass. Or perhaps somebody from Novell will read this entry and respond. We'll see. But as with any undertaking that's really just getting started, a little patience might be in order, although we understand that you need a lot more than patience right now.

Meanwhile, Jim thinks RCP Editor in Chief Scott Bekker is all wet in his analysis of Dell's moves to bring distributors into its channel mix. Looks like Dell still has some explaining to do to get parts of the channel on board:

"I think I still have my copy of Dell Direct around here somewhere if you would like to refresh the memory banks on where they stand. OK, enough of the wet noodle slaps...

"Have you considered they also sell to Wal-Mart, Sam's Club and Staples? Is this really who we should be competing against? Last time I looked, the profit margins on these deals was 2 percent to 4 percent for resellers. Hard to pay commissions, much less make a living with those numbers. We're a small company dealing with other small (10-20 seats) companies so maybe this doesn't apply to everyone, but I have been burned by Dell in the past, and see them as nothing more than a nuisance and lower-end vendor in my area."

Have a response, a comment, a question or a rant...about anything? Send it to lpender@rcpmag.com.

Posted by Lee Pender on 03/26/2009 at 1:22 PM


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