Handing It Over

By eweek  |  Posted 2001-03-26

In an effort to boost partners profits and customer retention, Novell is outsourcing its Volume Licensing Agreement (VLA) renewals and upgrade protection to Rainmaker Systems.

The deal calls for 5 percent of renewal and upgrade sales to go to channel partners who originally secured the customers. Partners also will receive migration, integration and add-on product sales leads from Rainmaker. Initially, Rainmaker will call on North American customers of Novell Gold and Platinum partners.

"Our partners have been selling more VLAs versus box sales," says Michael Jackson, Novell marketing manager, "and upgrade protection is popular with those customers." The upgrade protection option ensures that a customer receives the latest versions of Novell products during the VLAs two-year term.

But partners tend to focus on big-ticket new VLA sales, neglecting the relatively small revenue streams available from renewals and upgrades. Thats a mistake, as Novells customer surveys show. "Customers who have upgrade protection agreements have higher satisfaction levels and buy more product and services from the channel partners who service them," says Mark Taylor, VP of channel sales for Novell.

The Novell VLA Services initiative is "definitely for the better," says Novell Platinum Partner Robert Diaz, president and CEO of RDA Enterprises. "I will be able to convert more customers to a higher VLA, so it is a plus for Novell, RDA and our customers," Diaz says.

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