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March 2008

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Tech Talk 3 by Cheryl Walton

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Just when you think your IT systems are doing everything they can to give your organization a competitive edge, someone devises a way to make them do more. Whether it's automating new-hire orientation or monitoring your sales fleet's performance, you can bet the industry's next new IT service will soon become your company's competitive imperative.

With no end in sight to the number of business practices you'll eventually need to automate, it's little wonder that the question of support comes to mind with each new project you undertake. After all, each new initiative introduces yet another layer of complexity. Fortunately, with solutions from Novell underpinning your IT initiatives, the availability of award-winning support is never in question.

A leading provider of quality programs, services and products, the Novell Technical Services organization (part of Novell Services) recently made changes that eliminate guesswork about your support options while providing new technologies and tools that make getting the support you need—when you need it—easier than ever.

A Better Way to Meet Basic Support Needs

On February 1, 2008, Novell announced a new Volume License Agreement (VLA) maintenance program that gives customers unlimited access to the industry-acclaimed Novell support organization. Partners also get unlimited support for products within their specialties through the 2008 Novell PartnerNet program.

If you are a VLA customer, you know that before this announcement, you had the option of purchasing, for any of your Novell products, a maintenance agreement that covered upgrade protection and support. Your total spending on these separate maintenance agreements determined the level of Premium Service to which you were entitled. And like some VLA customers, you might also know that under this program, the level of Premium Service to which you were entitled might not have met your basic support needs. In this case, you might have purchased additional support that offered a specific number of service requests (SRs) or paid for support via credit card at a SR-based price—a method that would have made budgeting difficult, to say the least.

Under the new program, maintenance agreements are not optional for the first year you own your product licenses, although they are

optional thereafter. Instead, you purchase affordable, year-long maintenance with your licenses under a single product code. How affordable are the new maintenance options and what do they give you? The answer to this question may surprise you: for less than the price of an upgrade license, you get product updates, unlimited online technical support and unlimited online training.

In other words, you have at your fingertips every resource you need to get your new products and solutions up and running quickly and flawlessly, which means you'll enjoy the best-possible experience with your Novell products and solutions. (Online training courses are not available for all Novell products. For more details about how the new program will affect you as a VLA customer, visit novell.com/licensing/collateral/vla_programguide.pdf.)

New and Improved

The task of providing unlimited support is arguably a tall order—especially if you are committed to delivering the same high-quality support that your customers and partners have come to expect. To keep its commitments without sacrificing quality, Novell has invested in several new technologies. You may have read about some of them in Pursuit of Excellence, in Novell Connection magazine in February.

If you read that article—or if you've checked the news on the Novell Support Web site lately—you may already know that Novell is upgrading its Knowledgebase search engine. Finely tuned document tagging and other new capabilities will make the search engine smarter than ever. And it will include features such as Best Bets, document rating and favorites. Best Bets will allow Novell support engineers to tag documents they think are especially useful, document rating will enable you to rate documents and share your ratings with others, and favorites will enable you to save your favorite documents for easy reference.

The upgraded search engine is now in the final phase of user-acceptance testing. Novell Technical Services will validate its new features at BrainShare and will release it shortly thereafter. For details about the search engine's many new features and benefits, visit support.novell.com/search/about.html.

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