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Progress Report on Customer Suggested Improvements

Novell is committed to earning your loyalty. We value the comments and suggestions we receive from our customers and want to report on the progress we have made in improving those areas that are important to you. The information below highlights some of the specific areas in which we have made customer-driven improvements during the last few months. Thank you for helping to make Novell a better company.

Delivering Leading Product Innovation, Reliability and Enhanced Interoperability—We understand your need for Novell products to have high standards of reliability and innovative capabilities that deliver strong value. You also expressed the need for Novell products to continue to improve how they interoperate with your existing IT environment. We have responded with recent product releases that deliver innovative, high-value capabilities. We have also improved some standard practices, including how we receive your input on product capabilities and common development practices and standards. Many of our recent releases also deliver key interoperability enhancements to help increase the value they deliver when working with your existing IT environment.

Here are just a few recent product releases that provide enhanced value in these areas:
 

And to ensure that Novell products and solutions continue to meet your needs, we have also enhanced the web application, the Novell Requirements Portal, that we built for you to submit and track requests and ideas for product enhancements.

We have also announced our plans to compete and lead in the emerging market of intelligent workload management with our WorkloadIQ solutions and products. Our products today, and innovations we are developing, will enable IT organizations to optimize computing resources in a policy driven, secure and compliant manner across physical, virtual and cloud environments. We're delivering solutions to help you get the most out of your existing IT environment while taking advantage of new, rapidly emerging computing models. And we are providing the secure, yet flexible management and security framework we understand you need for that environment.

Delivering Faster and More Effective Technical Support Services—You told us how important your Novell Technical Support services are. We have made several improvements in areas that you suggested:

  • Quicker Service Request resolution: To speed up SR resolution, our service centers are setting new, more stringent targets to help us stay focused on resolving your SRs more rapidly. We hope you'll see a difference as you work with us on your next SRs.
  • Improved notifications about SR progress: Our support centers have implemented processes to proactively communicate with you more frequently with updates about what's happening with your open SRs.
  • Improved Novell India Support Center skills and accent: The ISC is a Novell office with Novell employees—it is not an outsourced vendor. We've implemented hands-on technical training, emphasizing both product knowledge and troubleshooting skills, to enhance the technical caliber of our ISC engineers. We have also implemented accent-neutralization training. Our goal is to make it easier to communicate with us—all of us.
  • Improved patch downloads and notification experience: We have improved the Patch Finder to make it easier to search for and find patches with just a portion of the product name or a even a quick list of all patches released in a certain date range. We are also making it easier for you to subscribe to the specific patch notifications that interest you most and adding RSS capabilities so you can embed patch notifications in your web pages or view updates via your favorite newsreader.
  • Easier SR escalations: To help with this, we've added a link that lets you chat with a customer service representative who can help with your request. This chat is also accessible from a "Request Escalation of SR" link in the left navigation bar in Novell Customer Center.
  • More thorough SR information review: We have process changes in the pipeline to help ensure that we completely review the information you've sent in electronically-submitted SRs so we don't ask you for something you've already provided. You should start to see a difference in the coming months.
  • Improved self-help support tools: We're providing a free automated self-help tool, Novell Support Advisor, to support and diagnose issues with SUSE Linux Enterprise Server, Novell Open Enterprise Server (Linux), NetWare, and associated products. Novell Support Advisor provides you with a streamlined way to perform both proactive and reactive system diagnostic tasks typically provided by Novell Technical Services, but in a local, secure and automated fashion.

Making Training More Available and Affordable—Customers suggested making training on Novell products more available and affordable due to budget and time pressures. We have responded by:

  • Continuing to build out the cost-effective Novell on-demand training (web-based eLearning) to include even more courses at all levels of training, such as certification level courses and Advanced Technical Training offerings.
  • We have worked to increase the availability of Novell training in local customer areas. Many of our partners are beginning to use virtual classroom technologies to provide Novell training to customers in areas outside their own cities so customers are not required to travel to access the training they need while still having an instructor-led experience. Customer satisfaction feedback with the virtual classroom training has shown customers to be very satisfied. (Look-up and Locate Training)
  • We continue to focus on offering a full range of training from basic through advanced on Novell products and have invited our training partners to offer the Advanced Technical Training courses to increase their availability. Many of our partners are working on blending on-demand training with their classroom training to provide a broader range of training topics to customers.
  • We continue to invest in certification areas of interest to customers. We rolled out the new Certified Novell ZENworks Administrator, Certified Workload Management Administrator certifications, and in January 2011 the new Certified Novell Identity Manager Administrator certification, to validate skills for the Novell ZENworks, PlateSpin and Novell Identity Manager products. Novell and Linux Professional Institute (LPI) announced a partnership in which individuals holding an LPI certification level 1 can apply for a Novell Certified Linux Administrator certification at no cost with no additional tests, which over 7,000 individuals have already taken advantage of.

Building a Stronger Ecosystem of Partners to Implement, Extend and Support Novell Solutions—Many customers suggested that Novell strengthen the Novell partner ecosystem to expand customer access to partners who can sell and provide services for their Novell solutions. We have retooled the Novell PartnerNet program to offer a value-based approach in recognizing and rewarding the unique value that each partner delivers in the marketplace; providing an engine for mutual growth and attainment of partnership goals. Resources and investment are aligned to value and commitment to drive maximum performance. We continue to focus on enabling partner business growth, investing in partner profit potential and accelerating partner business success. This move is allowing us to improve on the health of the partner ecosystem as demonstrated by:

  • We have seen a steady increase in the number of partners leveraging Novell training courses as well as using the diverse set of sales and technical enablement resources available through Enablement Central. Customers can find partners through the Novell Partner Locator to quickly and easily identify Novell partners who have the specific Novell solution competency required.
  • Novell recently received the five-star ranking for the PartnerNet program in Everything Channel's 16th Annual 2010 Partner Program Guide.

And customers are now helping to validate the quality of partner services by participating in partner satisfaction feedback surveys that are part of the value-based program requirements for partners to maintain their platinum and gold partnership level. This helps ensure that Novell partners have the skills and knowledge to effectively represent Novell and satisfy your requirements.

Building a Stronger and More Relevant Marketing Presence—We received your feedback on the need to continue to strengthen the visibility of Novell, our solutions and overall strategy to senior management and new customers. In 2010, we have continued to promote a consistent message to these audiences about our focus on Making IT Work As One™ and the challenges Novell can help them solve with strong marketing execution around our key solution areas. This includes new advertising, strengthened analyst coverage and more aggressive press coverage. Recent research underscores that this approach is working, with notable improvement in both awareness of and purchase consideration for Novell and our solutions among IT decision makers. The recent announcement of our strategy to focus on and lead in the intelligent workload management market with our WorkloadIQ solutions and products clearly shows our alignment and relevance as a key business partner to help address the IT challenges organizations are facing today and well into the future.

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