• United States

Novell aims to recognize partners that influence government sales deals

Apr 29, 20043 mins
Enterprise Applications

* Novell U.K. introduces Demand Agent Program for government resellers

If you’re in the business of selling NetWare, recommending NetWare or maintaining NetWare as a third party (i.e., “outsourced” support) then a program Novell has just instituted in the U.K. might be of interest. Of course, it’s of great interest to those in the U.K. but it’s also of interest to the rest of you either because Novell may already (or soon will) have something similar, or because you could use it as ammunition to encourage an equivalent program in your country.

As in most government-vendor relationships, the amount of paperwork, red-tape, hand-holding and out-of-pocket expense that you need to expend in order to have your products available to those who make the purchasing decisions can often cost much more than the potential profit you might realize. Those of you who have tried to get listed on GCat and GSA Catalog, the respective catalogs of the U.K. and U.S. governments, will understand what I mean.

But if you aren’t in the catalog, then your chances of making a sale are very slim – especially when it comes to computer networks and server operating systems.

You could establish a good rapport with the buyer, answer all of their questions, draw up scenarios and white papers for them only to see the actual sale go to some office products store that gets to list NetWare in their catalog. Even if you do spend the inordinate amount of time to get listed, some warehouse operation with no support for the customer will invariably undercut you on the price. Government beancounters don’t want to hear about support (either pre- or post-sale) so insist the agency go with the vendor that offers the lowest invoice price. It doesn’t seem fair, it really isn’t fair and now Novell is doing something about it.

In the U.K. Novell has introduced the Demand Agent Program (DAP) for vendors that offer consulting services to government agencies but may or may not get the actual sale to book when the agency finally decides to buy. Ben Bulpett, enterprise sales director at Novell U.K., has been quoted ( as saying: “This is aimed at our Business Experts that work in the government sector but are not members of GCat [the government catalogue]…What we are saying to Business Experts is that if they influence a deal we will reward them.”

This is a much friendlier (to the channel) Novell than we’ve seen in quite a while. If you’re a Novell partner, maybe it’s time to re-think the amount of attention you want to pay to government agencies. Remember that there’s a big move afoot to have government agencies favor open source products. Novell has lots of open source, with more coming, and now they want to reward you for influencing its distribution. Thanks, Novell.