Novell is to axe a third of its distribution partners in Europe, the Middle East and Africa, in a bid to tighten the focus of the networking giant's channel base.
According to James Pattinson, director for European channel sales, "There are too many distributors and not enough focus. We want to put more resources into pre- and post-sales to ensure better marketing." It will retained around 65 distributors from the existing list.
Novell has said 37 of its 102 distribution partners will be cut, with the sacked partners having already received notice, but Pattinson would not reveal names.
One of the company's long time distributors, Computer 2000, immediately issued a statement welcoming the move.
Pertti Ervi, co-president of Computer 2000, said: "In many countries Novell products have been over distributed, leading to decreasing focus to support new and existing projects. With the change, Computer 2000 and other distributors can better team up with Novell to increase local support levels in countries."
Pattinson said Novell has set "objective criteria" to wheedle out unwanted distributors. These include past history, plus the amount of resources put into technical support, product management skills sets, and local market performance.
In return, retained distributors will enjoy fewer competitors targeting the same reseller community, but terms and conditions will largely stay the same. In June Novell confirmed it has slashed discounts available to distributors by 10 per cent, down to only 30 per cent, in line with the rest of the market.
Pattinson continued: "The distributors that will now partner Novell have been evaluated on past performance, not on future promises. Good relationships with our distributors will simply create a more sophisticated channel from which both they and Novell resellers will benefit."
This drastic move is the latest in line of reorganisations to Novell's channel - the backbone of its sales strategy. Novell is in the middle of scrapping its previous three-level reseller model with a two-tier scheme, forcing all partners to reapply. The idea is to attract resellers with a global presence and simplify terms and conditions.
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