New Novell Americas channel chief takes action

Former Novell Canada president Katie McAuliff is looking at ways to improve channel partner profitability in her new role as Novell Americas channel chief.

McAuliff, who was promoted last month and replaced in Canada by Novell Canada veteranRoss Chevalier, has already upgraded resale margins for Novell partners by 15 per cent.

”We need to invest better in the market and with strategic partners to enable them to quickly get to market and make money on our solutions,” she said.

Part of getting Novell there will be more internal changes to really become a partner-centric organization. The 15 per cent margin bump, for example, will be based on a partner’s level of specialization. “So if you are in platforms there will be more margins there on the resale of the software. That is working well, and in the second half we’ll be looking at ways we can run promotions around influencers to get certain types of behaviour in our channel,” McAuliff said.

As the new Americas channel chief, McAuliff will also be working with distributors and value added distributors to establish a better economic value proposition versus what the company has in place today with solution providers and global solution providers such as IBM, SAP, Accenture and Dell. “By type we are doing a lot of detailed work there as well as not treating every channel organization the same,” she said.

What McAuliff looks for in a partner is commitment, and in return promises not to offer Novell services, leaving that business to the channel.

”As a billion dollar software business you usually drive two times the services, and at our current capacity we are less than $100 million in services. This is a crucial point for Novell in our switch to a channel ecosystem,” she said.

The Novell channel ecosystem will bring about a common set of terms and partner types. Some of the channel roles in this ecosystem will be similar to other common terms such as distributor, reseller, influencer and system integrator. Novell will also select top partners by solution and call them leaders.

For Canadian partners, McAuliff said that this group consistently brings value in the Americas. Currently Novell has spent five times more on the channel than it did last year. In Canada, the global partner program is holistic and it can help partners here with proven strategies and best practices, she said.

Under Novell’s worldwide channel chief Pat Barnard’s plan, the company will have four channel pillars: making partners profitable, investing in the growth of partners’ businesses, enabling partners with sales and technical support and creating a partner-centric organization. McAuliff has the same mandate in the Americas channel and has already decreased direct coverage and increased the amount of staff for the partner business, she said.

”We are trying to raise the bar to have a direct contact with Novell. All these moves drive more revenue through the channel and makes them more profitable. The next step is internally with the ecosystem. We’re asking ourselves specific questions, such a how do we make a partner more profitable or what makes a system integrator profitable and in distribution, what are the differences? We’re getting granular on that, and you’ll see results in the second half and in 2009,” she said.

Also, McAuliff has a mandate to recruit more partners, especially those with a specialty or expertise in security. McAuliff has not set a numeric goal in Novell’s partner recruitment drive for 2008.

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Paolo Del Nibletto
Paolo Del Nibletto
Editor of Computer Dealer News, covering Canada's IT channel community.

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