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Novell turns to consultancy

In bid to solve go-to-market issues, technology vendor channels sales through heavy-hitting consultancy firms.

On the back of a difficult financial quarter, and with more likely to follow, Novell elaborated on ways it will adapt its go-to-market strategy in order to overcome limitations in its sales know-how.

According to Gavin Struthers, general manager for Novell Middle East, one of the biggest challenges the company has faced is transitioning from making pure-technology sales to IT departments to making business-benefits sales to CEOs and board-level decision makers.

“You can sell technology as long as technologists are buying it. But now that doesn’t work, and you have to be selling it in terms of what it means to a business,” says Struthers.

Novell believes the answer lies in partnering with the big consultancy groups. “March First, Deloitte & Touche, Cap Gemini, Ernst & Young, IBM Global Services, all of those that you would expect in that space—that is really the target that Novell is going after,” says Struthers.

“These are the people that talk business, put strategies together, and embrace technology as a piece of that business,” he added.

The difference from Novell's point of view, is that its technology will be only part of a solution put forward by March First, something that Struthers says is a whole new concept in doing business in the region.

“If we are providing a customer with a solution, there are going to be various players providing the pieces, and the market isn’t used to this yet,” says Struthers. “'The way it goes here is that a vendor goes to a customer and says ‘I’ll give you an e-business solution, but you have to use all my products.’”

The new partnerships will mean an evolution in the role of the traditional channel too. The task will fall to its Business Experts to become the implementers of Novell’s e-business solutions. “The channel that doesn’t deliver any value will probably only sell commodity-based platform stuff,” says Struthers.

“The consultants will put the strategy together, we will provide some of the technology, and maybe even some of the services, and then these local Business Experts can implement the solutions,” added Struthers.

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