Novell CEO Ron HovsepianWhen Novell announces quarterly results Feb. 26, The VAR Guy will be looking beyond earnings per share results and revenue metrics. Our resident blogger wants Novell CEO Ron Hovsepian (pictured) to cover -- in depth -- the following five points during the earnings call.

Top Five Priorities for Earnings Call:

1. More Than A SUSE Linux Company: Hovsepian needs to describe each of the core Novell product groups, and how they fit together to form a company that's greater than the sum of its parts. Listen closely for info about Novell's security and identity management efforts.

2. Staffing: Novell in early February confirmed that it had cut fewer than 100 positions -- far less than some blogosphere rumors. However, ongoing layoff rumors continue to hound Novell. Hovsepian needs to reinforce Novell's staffing plans for those in the media who have ignored his statements so far.

3. Novell's Partner Program: Novell has finally introduced deal registration and other basic services to partners. How are partners reacting to deal registration, and does deal registration offer any clues about future Novell revenue from the partner pipeline?

4. Independent Software Vendors: Novell often crows about SAP and Microsoft backing SUSE Linux. But it's time for Novell to brag about additional ISVs (independent software vendors) that are embracing SUSE Linux.

5. From the Desktop to the Datacenter?: Novell frequently describes SUSE Linux as a platform that goes from desktops to datacenters. But how is Novell extending SUSE into the world of cloud computing? Yes, IBM plans to offer SUSE Linux in the Amazon Elastic Compute Cloud (EC2). But it's time for Novell to be far more vocal about its own cloud strategy.

Of course, The VAR Guy also wants to hear about Novell's earnings per share -- the ultimate metric for a company's success. But sometimes, those short-term financial results don't reveal how a company will perform over the long haul.

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