Novell CEO Looks to the Future

The company plans to continue making innovative ecosystem plays with key partners, says CEO Ron Hovsepian.

SALT LAKE CITY - When Novell CEO Ron Hovsepian takes to the stage to open the company's BrainShare 2008 conference here March 17, he will talk about what has been achieved over the past year and what he hopes to do in the year ahead.

Part of that will be to stress the company's financial performance and stability, and its commitment to growing its product set and customer base.

He will also pledge to continuing to pursue the new ideas coming from its relationships with Microsoft, SAP, Oracle, Hewlett-Packard and IBM, while also introducing some new desktop and server partners into the mix.

Hovsepian will also talk about how Novell has remodeled its business, business model and reworked its focus as a team over the past year.

"We have got revenue stabilized at the macro level for the first time in a long while, our operating income margin went from a negative in the first quarter to a positive eight percent in the fourth quarter," he told eWEEK in an interview.

Hovsepian's plan is to stick to this company strategy, which he introduced shortly after becoming CEO, and not try to come up with yet another one, as was so often the case at the company previously, when customers never quite knew what the latest strategy de jour was.

However, Novell's strategy is not static and inflexible, and will be refined further around Linux, virtualization and identity, and what it can achieve inside those markets, he said.

Hovsepian also wants to further refine the changes made to its business model, while continuing to make innovative ecosystem plays with key partners.

"So at the end of [2008], what I would like to have is a long list of key customers that are taking advantage of heterogeneous virtualization tools from Novell, leveraging their heterogeneous identity frameworks, again from Novell, built on top of SUSE Linux as a core platform," he said.

In addition, Hovsepian also wants shareholders "to wake up with twice the profit they got last year and a company headed in the right direction with great innovations coming out."