Novell Looks Back and Looks Ahead Amid Attachmate Deal
Without exception, the top challenge in
Sponsored Blog: As another year draws to a close, it’s a good time to reflect on the preceding 12 months and look ahead to what the new year promises. I recently had the opportunity to speak with several Novell channel partners on this topic. It was very interesting to hear their views.
Without exception, the top challenge in 2010 mentioned by partners was the uncertainty of Novell’s acquisition. This uncertainty made it extremely tough for partners to get to strategic infrastructure discussions, as customers were primarily interested in knowing who was purchasing Novell and what the future held for the company’s products.
With the announcement of the Attachmate acquisition, that uncertainty has been resolved. Mike Zepernick, president of Computer Integrated Services, put it best: “The announcement and pending acquisition by Attachmate is a good thing. It takes away the uncertainty. We are very happy to know that the Novell and SUSE brands will continue. This will be good in the long term for customers, partners and employees.”
Opportunity 1: Less Direct Sales Competition
One of the primary opportunities that Novell resellers mentioned was the transition from direct accounts to more channel sales. Paul Anderson, CEO of Novacoast, sees this as both a challenge and opportunity: “Novell, like many software vendors, is migrating away from direct consulting. These vendors are making more introductions of channel partners to what used to be their direct business. The opportunities are obvious. However, when you’re servicing large enterprise customers the likes of Citibank and Morgan Stanley, your business has to mature a little faster than perhaps you initially planned. Still, that’s a good thing.”
Dan LeGrow, Global Software Alliance Manager at OnX Enterprise Solutions Limited, agrees: “Novell has renewed its commitment to resellers with a more partner-friendly selling model. Today, Novell competes less with the channel. This builds trust. As a large Novell reseller, we know we can rely on Novell whenever needed.”
Opportunity 2: Virtualization
Another area where resellers see increasing opportunities is in virtualization. With the proliferation of virtualized server operating systems and applications, the announcement of the Novell-VMware partnership has been well received by the channel.
“Novell’s partnership announcement with VMware was huge,” said Anderson. “Everything is being virtualized these days, whether it’s going into the cloud or onto on-premises virtualized hardware. I can imagine that within the next three years it may be rare to find a non-virtualized server application.”
This partnership offers many cross-selling opportunities for channel members, as now they can leverage their VMware customer relationships to sell Novell solutions into those accounts. It also benefits customers, as they can now more easily get a SUSE Linux Enterprise Server license with their vSphere solution, for example.
Opportunity 3: Windows 7 Migration
Talking with channel partners, the third big opportunity for them has been Windows 7 migration. And it appears this opportunity will continue into 2011. It’s on everyone’s mind: How are you going to get to Windows 7 painlessly and with minimal disruptions to users?
Zepernick answered without hesitation: “The Windows 7 migration is a major opportunity for us. And being able to show customers how easily and painlessly we can migrate them to Windows 7 using ZENworks Configuration Management has opened doors. This opportunity should continue through 2011.”
Opportunity 4: Identity Management
The final opportunity that all the channel partners I talked with agreed on was intelligent workload management and the increasing importance that identity plays in security and compliance. According to these partners, more and more CIOs are coming to understand the value of identity management and its critical role in the enterprise—especially as more workloads move beyond the corporate firewall and into the cloud. In fact, the partners see four key opportunities ahead.
“We have done well with Novell Identity Manager 4, and we expect to do better still in 2011, as more companies migrate increasing numbers of their applications to the cloud,” said LeGrow. “Right now, we see some 20 to 30 percent of companies moving workloads to the cloud. That number should increase throughout next year.”
Looking Forward Looks Bright
For Novell channel partners, 2010 was a year of challenges as well as opportunities. And 2011 looks very promising indeed. I’m excited to see how well channel partners do in the new year.