Novell gets wise to dual approach

Novell is trying to do it all with its latest groupware offering, GroupWise 6. The aspiring Jack-of-all-trades application can be configured in a client/server mode or as a Web-based product.

Eliot Lanes, the president of Viable Solutions in Orlando, Fla., said being able to set up the product through the server or deploy it through a Web browser is very advantageous. “It depends on how the organization configures it; you don’t download it, (but) it’s like going to any Web site and it still gives you functionality.” He would like to see the entire system run on a browser, a move he thinks the company is indeed moving toward, he said.

Another feature that Lanes finds useful is the Web publisher. It allows users to make changes to their site instantly, he said. “It immediately updates on the Web site, so you don’t have to re-code it into HTML or have some Web designer do it.”

Main features of the software include e-mail, calendaring, document management, workflow services and a Web publisher.

The software runs on a variety of platforms, including Windows, Macintosh and Unix. Lanes said he is able to send faxes with encryption safely, and does not require any customer implementation. “This is an out-of-the-box, fully-customizable, functional product that provides all these services without any additional charges and with minimal configuration.”

Kevin Restivo, a software analyst for IDC Canada in Toronto, said the software will significantly affect existing Novell customers, saying they are the likeliest to take advantage of the new offering and upgrade right away from Version 5.5. “Novell has long-standing existing customers who will want to take advantage of the new embedded functionality in this collaborative integrated environment.”

For an information and content exchange provider such as Novell, Restivo said what is most critical is building a mass base of users. Collaborative tools such as the GroupWise 6 are only effective if they are actually used. It is estimated that Novell currently has 20 million users of GroupWise.

Ross Chevalier, director of technology for Novell in Markham, Ont., believes the licensing option distinguishes Novell from its competition. “It’s not a one-size fits all – (we) provide a licensing scheme so the customer can choose how they want their customers and users to access the services and pay accordingly.”

He also said that the eDirectory is not just for lists, it is able to cross reference and build relationships between information that lives in the directory, such as users, devices, applications and physical devices such as cell phones. Chevalier also cited what he called an untapped market becoming available. “There’s an entire new market that is yet to be addressed, and that’s the disconnected users, the user that does not have a particular PC at their desktop. Mobile computing is growing.”

Novell GroupWise 6 sells for approximately $190 per client, and $44 per user for Web or wireless access only without the client. For additional information, visit Novell’s Web site at