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May - 2009 - issue > Company Spotlight
A Novel(l) Way to Succeed
Jaya Smitha Menon
Saturday, May 2, 2009
“It is a very defining and exciting period”, says Sandeep Menon, Country Manager, Novell India. He sounds quite optimistic and confident, though the economic recession is looming large over the IT Industry. According to him the industry is churning the cauldron towards Open Source. Recently, open source and open standards have begun looking a lot more appealing to CIO’s. Why pay more for commodity information technology services such as operating systems, Web servers, and relational database management systems? Choosing open source components and the right combination of service, support, and consulting from the preferred vendor save costs, and the money saved can be spent on unique business priorities.

These days Menon is busy strengthening his strategy and approach to cash in on this opportunity. He is driving Novell’s two-pronged enterprise Linux and IT management software strategy by focusing on meeting customer demand and delivering value through Novell’s innovative technology and a strong chain of customers and partners.

As a strong player in enterprise-class infrastructure software and services, offering flexible solutions that combine open source and commercial technologies based on open standards, Novell delivers well engineered, most interoperable Linux platform and a portfolio of integrated IT management software that help customers around the world reduce cost, complexity, and risk. With its infrastructure software and ecosystem of partnerships, Novell integrates mixed IT environments, allowing people and technology to work as one.

The company recently announced its latest offering in SUSE Linux - the Enterprise Version 11. This was a crucial release since it addressed the major concern of the customers, namely certifications. Enterprise Version 11 underwent a strong certification process before release, and is chiefly aimed at rationalizing complexities in datacenters, and to be the Linux operating system of choice in mission-critical applications globally. In short, SUSE Linux Enterprise 11 offers high availability, better energy efficiency, and support for virtualization and cloud computing. The company is introducing the Enterprise Version 11 to the market around three themes: Ubiquity, Interoperability, and Mission-critical Computing.

Market Moves

Keenly observing the market, the company today is targeting the market both in organic and inorganic ways. It recently acquired SiteScape, a player in open source team collaboration with innovative and open collaboration solutions. “Our strategy in growing organically is a two pronged one,” says Menon. One of it would be to provide focused offering to the customer after a close study and gap analysis. “Our focus is to add value to the customer through a combination of solutions as per his requirement,” adds Menon.

For example, a growing law firm was moving towards a paperless office environment, and was planning major enhancements of its core systems, including the introduction of scanning technology to digitize correspondence. They wanted an infrastructure that could guarantee business resilience, even in the event of a software crash or hardware failure and approached Novell. After the study, Novell suggested Open Enterprise Server running SUSE Linux Enterprise and hosting Xen virtual environments. By moving to this, they got the best of both worlds: open source technology backed by enterprise-class support.
As a part of its growth strategy, Novell also focused and continues to focus on building partner ecosystem to increase revenue and profitability for solution providers and consulting partners who specialize in selling Novell technologies. Novell India started focusing and investing on this indirect business model in 2008. By sharing its range of growth programs with its partner community in India, Novell also ensured profitable growth for everyone in the ecosystem.

The vendor has also made real progress in expanding its partner ecosystem, by signing agreements with Capgemini, Dell, IBM, Lenovo, Microsoft, SAP, and more. Novell is also currently putting increased focus on solution providers and consulting partners.

This fully integrated partner program provides a platform for establishing, managing, promoting, and measuring the company’s indirect routes to market. The company also has invested significantly to ensure that it has the right partner sales and delivery capacity to support its key growth markets.

The India Picture

Menon says that the Indian market is evolving and holds tremendous prospects. According to him the Indian market for Linux itself will be approximately around 25-30 million by internal estimates. India is still a Unix-friendly country, but he is optimistic that a lot of Unix-friendly users will gradually transit or migrate to Linux. Speaking about the market opportunity, Menon also points to a recent study, which states that 50 percent of the CIOs want to migrate to Linux and open source. He substantiates his claim by pointing to the SAP mission-critical application migration to Novell’s open source based technologies.

There is a great traction for collaboration tools and solutions in India., Novell has some large organizations like HPCL and L&T as its customers for collaboration tools. Virtualization management is yet another area which is gaining momentum. Realizing this, the company is making its portfolio for datacenter operations more efficient, including help provisioning dynamic storage. Another major trend is the result of the advances in Web 2.0 technologies that are driving new opportunities for unified communications (UC) and team collaboration.

In India the traction is in the government sector and the banking sector. Traditionally, these sectors are strong proponents of open source technologies. Though large part of the software used in the banks is proprietary in nature, Novell is planning to explore opportunities in the core banking side and the front end. While in the government sector it plans to focus on e-governance projects of various departments.

Though adoption of open source technologies is definitely becoming faster, Novell understands the need for building the entire ecosystem, which includes service providers, partners, alliances, applications, and focus on this initiative of building the ecosystem. But competition in terms of hiring competent resources is also a major challenge. “Today we have a very low number of Linux certified professionals in the market to cater to the growing adoptions,” points out Sandeep.

Today, mixed IT environments are a reality for almost all organizations, and this trend will continue for some time as more and more CIOs understand the benefits of opensource. Through its effective infrastructure software and ecosystem of partnerships, the company is truly emerging as a winner in an adverse market.
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