Novell SA restructures, retrenches

Johannesburg, 14 Jan 2008

Novell SA has restructured its business operations in the run up to the appointment of new country head Michelle Beetar.

The move followed the departure of country manager Stafford Masie to head up Google's local operations.

Desan Naidoo, interim country manager following Masie's exit and current sales director, explains the international software vendor chose to limit the disruptions as much as possible.

"Last year, Novell reorganised the business into specialised divisions. We had to follow at some stage and decided to do these at the same time of Masie's exit. The alternative was to wait a few months, but that would have subjected our workforce to two periods of change," he explains.

Naidoo reveals the local workforce was required to re-apply for new positions under its revamped structure. This process saw "about 20%" of its old workforce retrenched.

"However, we also recruited some senior people from outside the organisation at the same time. As a result, our employee numbers have remained the same," he says.

Trish Barwick, long-time Novell employee and the company's marketing and channel manager, also chose to leave the company in order to start her own business, Naidoo confirms.

Barwick has been replaced by new employee Matthew Lee, who was previously employed by IT distributor Tarsus.

Focused and upbeat

Beetar, who took up the post two weeks ago, says the restructuring saw the company move towards a more specialised operation. While a handful of key account managers remain to deal with specific customers, the rest of the company is now divided into four new business units, she explains.

These are open platform systems, which encompass its Linux-based products; identity and access management; systems and resource management, which includes its desktop products; and workgroup, which involves traditional Novell products like Groupwise.

Additionally, Beetar says the vendor will become increasingly focused on delivering via the channel.

"We will focus on the channel by building the company's partner and distribution base," she says. "I believe we've made changes where they were appropriate and I'm upbeat about our prospects. Our people have come through this process remarkably well and our revenues have not been hit by the changes."

Beetar reveals the local subsidiary is expected to produce growth of between 10% and 15% in the current financial year.

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