Novell to launch Indian PartnerNet program in September

By Vinita Bhatia - 29 August, 2005

Following the acquisition of Onward Novell's stake in Novell, the software solutions vendor will roll out the PartnerNet program for its Indian channel in September 2005. Following this, it will assimilate its 2,500 Indian partners into the global PartnerNet Program, giving them access to all resources, which will help them effectively position Novell's solutions for focus customer segments.

The PartnerNet program has three categories-Platinum, Gold and Silver-for technology partners, solution providers and training partners. Novell categorizes solutions providers as VARs, distributors, resellers, consultants and system integrators who help take Novell solutions to market and provide business and technology services to clients.

Technology partners are ISVs and IHVs who own, develop, distribute and support commercially available applications and hardware that support or integrate with Novell technology. Training partners are academic and commercial education specialists who deliver online and classroom training to support the vendor's technologies and certifications.

Though most of its business is through the channel, Novell will continue to have direct relationship with certain leading enterprises identified as Key Novell customers. These comprise 130 key accounts, a list of which is furnished to the channel as well.

"The reason we do business directly with these customers is because we might have a global relationship with them, or because they have an extensive IT infrastructure and feel more comfortable dealing with us," explained Harish Mehta, MD, Onward Novell. He however brushed off doubts that this can create interest conflict with Novell's channel. Meanwhile, the company is placing great thrust for Linux adoption in India and has even set up a dedicated Linux Impact Team "to focus on creating a healthy open source ecosystem" said Harish. This group will handle the setting up of Novell Linux labs at several education institutes.

Currently one of the key reasons why customers are unsure for migrating to Linux is due to the lack of trained manpower to can service their systems. "By setting up labs within educational institutes, we will train the next generation of professionals on Linux, which in turn will propel its adoption in India," added he.Novell's interest in the open source domain is not surprising, considering that globally Linux is slated to grow at 20% in the server space and at 40% in desktop usage. And in India, these growth rates will be even higher, as the PC penetration is much lower. So there is a captive audience of first-time IT users who can comfortably start using open source-based applications, since they will not have used proprietary solutions at all. "Typically, people who are used to proprietary applications might have some reservations about moving on to open-source," noted J Veeraraaghavan, MD, Novell Software Development.

Novell is also working with independent software vendors (ISVs) to localize its Suse offerings, making it more suitable for the Indian users. It will unveil its localization strategy within a fortnight. The vendor is also training ISVs to help them port proprietary applications into open source, besides application creation.

Novell recently acquired the 50% stake held by its partner in Onward Novell, its sales and distribution arm in India. It will integrate the Onward Novell organization with the company's existing India operations, increasing Novell's investment in the region.

"In India, Linux and open source are increasingly permeating applications  such as mail messaging, file & print, and web hosting. Identity and access management solutions are also getting increased traction in the IT services and BPO sector in India due to privacy and compliance issues," said Praveen Sengar, Analyst, Software and Services Research, IDC India. "Hence, Novell's decision to take direct control of its business in India should enable it to have more focus on the Indian market and to deliver Linux and identity and access management solutions more effectively."

Said Rhonda O'Donnell, President, Novell Asia Pacific, "We have identified India and China as strategic growth markets in the APac regions and want to seize opportunities offered in these two countries." She added that Novell has great plans for India as research agencies are predicting that the region's IT industry is expected to grow by 25% in FY05.

Novell will soon establish a fully owned subsidiary in India, which will be integrated with the company's global operations. It will also have an MD for the new integrated organization in the country, following a similar appointment in China as well.
Talking about Novell's go-to-market strategy, Rhonda said that the company would focus on key verticals like banking and finance, government and ITES.

VINITA BHATIA
MUMBAI

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