Novell users regret Revell's going

Local Novell customers are downcast at the news that New Zealand manager Peter Revell has resigned but still confident of the company's future in this country.

Local Novell customers are downcast at the news that New Zealand manager Peter Revell (pictured) has resigned but still confident of the company’s future in this country.

Auckland-based Keith Craig of Dilworth College, the president of Novell Users International New Zealand, says in some ways he is disappointed to see Revell go.

“As a Novell user I’ve seen him build Novell in this country. I think he has done a very good job but I don’t think this is necessarily a step back for Novell in New Zealand. It’s a relatively small office anyway and in many ways it could be managed just as effectively out of Australia as long as it has enough emphasis on keeping technical and sales staff here.”

Professional technicians aren’t the type of people who need a lot of supervising. “You don’t need the boss there all the time,” Craig says.,“It could be that with some of the marketing New Zealand will miss out from getting treatment specific to the country, but everything is so global anyway I don’t think that will be a great issue. They have good staff on the ground here and I believe they are getting more in Auckland.”

Craig is happy with the amount of technical support he gets. The Novell NetWare server supports 500 students as well as the school trust board. All use Novell Groupwise for email.

“We’re a mixed environment of PCs and Macs and that’s partly why we use NetWare, but partly it’s just historical. We’re an independent school so we aren’t part of the government’s deal with Microsoft. We’ve always used Novell and found that it gives us everything we need and more. Plus, you don’t have the virus problems you get with Outlook.”

Later this year the school will upgrade to Mac OS X and will link that to Novell’s eDirectory.

Brian Foster of Unitec says he knew about Revell’s resignation last year — word must have leaked out when Revell told the company in November.

“It is a bit sad. Peter has pulled Novell New Zealand through difficult times and some major changes.”

He has no questions about the company’s future.

“I’m sure they’ll be around for a long time. They seem to keep changing to keep pace. They have taken on the consulting side but the products are still going ahead.”

Foster says in recent times there have been more Novell product managers visiting the company’s headquarters in Utah, which has given himself and other customers the opportunity to give direct feedback.

Unitec, which uses NetWare and Groupwise for its email system, was recently visited by a GroupWise manager from the US and told about the forthcoming version of the product due out next month.

“Basically the client will look a lot more like Outlook, which is quite useful for us as we have people who teach Outlook and who have used Outlook in the past. This will make them more comfortable with Groupwise.”

Revell expects to be back in work by April but not necessarily in the IT sector.

He is leaving Novell because he wants a change; career progression within the company would have meant moving overseas.

“That would mean moving to somewhere like Singapore or Australia or alternatively taking that role that would keep me based in Auckland but involve a huge amount of travel around Asia-Pacific.

“Both those options militate against me especially where I am with my family. In four years’ time the prospect of moving would be great but not at the moment.”

While Revell told the company of his decision in November, he decided to stay until January to help with the hiring of new staff. The company’s head count is now 14 including five consultants.

He is looking for a senior executive role that involves managing people. “I’m not necessarily looking at IT but obviously I have an affinity and contacts in the industry.”

Revell knows how the resignation looks, but says he wasn’t pressured to leave because Novell wanted to retrench to Australia.

“I’ve had people ask me ‘What’s the real story?’ The problem is when somebody ‘resigns to pursue other opportunities’ people think they’ve been terminated. That’s partly because when someone is asked to leave, such as [Gary] Toomey, we officially say they’re ‘resigning to pursue other opportunities’. I resent that assumption; it’s not what happened to me.”

Revell says no one was available within Novell New Zealand with the experience to take his place, though he has high praise for Matthew Christie, who will become country manager reporting to Australia-based David Lenz.

“He will do a great job of mentoring. He just doesn’t have the experience yet.”

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