Resellers have raised concerns over Novell's plans to restructure its channel programme, since it will reduce the number of accreditation levels available to partners.
The scheme, which will be launched in the UK and Ireland on 1 May, is based on Novell's PartnerNet programme where partners are accredited as one of three categories of reseller - authorised, gold or platinum.
However, the latest incarnation of the vendor's internet-based scheme has meant partners will subsequently be accredited as either a Novell business partner - an entry level qualification - or a Business Expert, for more corporate-orientated businesses.
Keith Jones, sales director at Altringham-based reseller Xenon Computers, said: 'We are a platinum partner and I don't understand where this would fit in.'
He added: 'I'm not sure what this restructure would bring to the party as there are people with different services in diverse areas.'
Richard Thwaite, joint managing director at OS Integration, said: 'It depends on the benefits. Novell needs to focus on companies that want to work with it.'
Murray Treece, channel sales director at Novell UK, said: 'Customers want skills and services - where the higher margin is made - so that products become almost by-products.'
Treece added: 'We have been in discussions with the key partners and once it had been made clear and simple, they could see that the scheme would be beneficial to them.'
According to estimates given by Trecce, business partners will be expected to pay about £99 for access to the site, which will provide, among other things, sales leads and marketing tools. Business experts, on the other hand, will be charged £2,000 for accreditation.
Treece said: 'We are not trying to limit entry, but are looking for a diverse range of companies.'
He added: 'We will be recruiting people over the next six months, and training - which companies are currently undertaking - will be valid over that period.'
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