GroupWise: The Next Chapter!

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Bob Flynn is the new President and General Manager for the Novell Business Unit. He posted a blog on July 28th outlining the ‘Next Chapter’ for Novell. See Blog here.



The day before this blog was posted, Bob and Jeff Hawn - Attachmate Group CEO - addressed the engineering team in a BBQ lunch meeting at the Provo campus. It was a call to action! In my opinion, Attachmate Executives have done an excellent job in just a few short weeks of streamlining the portfolio and focusing our efforts, resources, energy and future in all of the right directions – finally!! The simple statement: “Novell is hiring more R & D resources in Provo, UT and reinvesting in our core products with more frequent releases” is music to my ears. I have also heard from our customers and partners that this is an awesome and a welcomed message. Furthermore, this is immediately affecting the GroupWise engineering resources– positions have been posted, recruiting and re-recruiting has begun.

Not only is it important, from my perspective, to increase the investment in our core products, but it is equally important how the “focus and portfolio management” will allow us to be able to cleanly execute. We finally having a collaboration strategy that is business focused, customer driven, product and marketing managed and engineering aligned will make such a huge difference!

In addition, I have been asked to take on a new project where I will be spending my time executing one of our new taglines: create a direct line of sight from our customers directly to our engineering teams. Our customers have always been very loyal and now we need to help you be loyal. It will obviously take some time to satisfy each and every customer, but with the added investment and the renewed executive interest in wanting to make the Collaboration business a success, this will get done!



In addition, we still have a very dedicated and talented engineering team – the absolute best. I have full confidence they will deliver.



Now I don’t want to over promise or make anyone believe that ‘tomorrow’ we will provide solutions for everything. But our commitment is:




  • Deliver higher-quality solutions and greater customer value faster

  • Enable customers to upgrade to latest versions at their own pace

  • Enable and secure a portable workspace across wired and mobile devices

  • Consolidate and leverage social experience across our collaboration portfolio



Here is a list of categories (some are very big buckets, I know) where our customers expect solutions. Help us prioritize! Give me your top 3 out of this list and any specifics you want to include. Have we missed any? Are there any of these that you are not as interested in?



Note: They are not in any particular order.




  • 3rd-Party Integrations

  • Mobility (RIM, ActiveSync)

  • Quality

  • Windows Client Features

  • WebAccess Features (Tablet/Simple Templates, Web IM)

  • Co-Existence (Exchange/GW)

  • Currency (latest platforms, fresh look, latest architecture)

  • Active Directory Support / Administration Model

  • Unified Communications

  • Security

  • Instant Messaging/Conferencing

  • Document Management

  • Cloud / Hosted

  • Mac

  • Outlook




Of course, this list is very high level. In several of these areas there is currently a solution or a partial solution.



Well – It seems like I have said enough….Thoughts?



Dean


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  • client that is feature complete on Windows / Linux / Mac here is your answer....
    It aint gonna happen
    Read this: www.novell.com/.../interview-dean-lythgoe-director-product-management-groupwise

    Dean will continue to try and convince us that the browser is the end all be all.

    At this point I am to stunned to form sentences that adequately express my feelings.
  • I have seen some tech stories end sadly (ask me about the sad fate of OpenVMS sometime) but I have seen others end very well ( I was around for this issue of Wired. ) I know never to be too optimistic or too pessimistic when we are talking about the future of a technology. Overall, I feel optimistic about Novell right now. But I am not going to put my hope on the certainty of a decent Mac GroupWise client.

    That said, it isn't going to happen until suddenly it does.

    What is clear is that there is pressure on the GroupWise team to deliver a Mac client. Until this point, they have resisted this pressure -- whether it be because of their culture, their projected numbers of users who would actually use the client, prioritization of other features while Novell is trying to hold the beaches, a lack of adequate engineering, or a sheer belief that WebAccess will one day be the primary client on all platforms. But if the pressure continues, eventually it will become greater than whatever stands against it.

    What would probably help is if everyone who wants a Mac client did more than just mention it to Dean and Alex. A bit of code, deployed appropriately via Cool Solutions, might help. Some strong words to Bob Flynn whenever he shows up to ask about your customer needs might help as well. Novell gets a lot of idle requests for features. Backing this one up with some time and attention would go a long way to show that we are serious. I do not think the GroupWise team has ever understood how important this is in a visceral way.


  • It seems I continue to fail at some fairly basic communication techniques.

    First of all...please don't shoot the messenger. I guess I should just accept the fact that the bullets are going to fly and I am a reasonable target :)

    Simply said: I understand that you don't think you are being heard. I can only tell you what the current plan is until the current plan changes and then I will be able to tell you a different plan/strategy.

    Believe me...you ARE being heard! Your reasons, justifications, requests, ideas and even proposed solutions are welcome and add to our decisions. Change takes time and things are not going to change for Ascot. Therefore, our current strategy is not going to change for Ascot.

    Will it change in the future? Probably - seldom has it stayed the same :) Will our strategy change? Believe me, as soon as I know - you will know!

    This may be hard to believe, BUT....we do completely understand the issue, the market, and the opportunity.

    That's all for now...

    Dean







  • Dean,

    I know you are in the hot seat as it were and it is not a comfortable place to be, trust us we know since we are the ones who get shot, not shot at, by our clients.

    I tried to shoot at the top here www.novell.com/.../ and I have no idea if he is listening or not, I hope he is.

    You are "Director, Product Management for GroupWise" are you not? If you are only the messenger then tell us whom do we shoot at, Alex? Force the person you are delivering the "message" for to come out and face the bullets themselves instead of cowering behind you.

    GW 6.5 was released 7 long years ago which was when I started to talk about x-plat client, API's and the like and damn near nothing has been done about anything I have mentioned as far as I can tell.

    Lets face facts you have a small core group of hardcore Groupwise supporters who fight tooth and nail to keep GW installed at clients and to get them to pay for upgrades, so excuse the heck out of us if when we read things like your interview and just about pull the rest of what little hair we have left out of our heads and start firing at you. But we will until things change or you give us a target higher up the food chain.

    If I had a decent set of API's I would be writing all sorts of add on software for groupwise and so would a lot of other people. I would be writing Oracle modules for crying out loud. Hell I would write a client using Qt and cross compile it for Linux, Mac and Windows.

    If we could get the complete API documentation for things like Messenger we would be adding all sorts of cool things there too.

    But I can't because the API just flat out sucks and because it sucks no one else will either.

    I sent you an e-mail, to at least what I think your email address is and since it hasn't bounced I can only assume that you don't consider it worthy of a reply or there is more then one dlythgoe@novell.com

    In this time of massive uncertainty and our clients asking questions like, "Uhmm should I really stick with this when everyone and their brother is telling me to switch to OL/E but you?" you really really need to start communicating on a very frequent basis so that we can have something to tell our clients because this acquisition has made almost all of them really nervous.



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  • Dean,

    I know you are in the hot seat as it were and it is not a comfortable place to be, trust us we know since we are the ones who get shot, not shot at, by our clients.

    I tried to shoot at the top here www.novell.com/.../ and I have no idea if he is listening or not, I hope he is.

    You are "Director, Product Management for GroupWise" are you not? If you are only the messenger then tell us whom do we shoot at, Alex? Force the person you are delivering the "message" for to come out and face the bullets themselves instead of cowering behind you.

    GW 6.5 was released 7 long years ago which was when I started to talk about x-plat client, API's and the like and damn near nothing has been done about anything I have mentioned as far as I can tell.

    Lets face facts you have a small core group of hardcore Groupwise supporters who fight tooth and nail to keep GW installed at clients and to get them to pay for upgrades, so excuse the heck out of us if when we read things like your interview and just about pull the rest of what little hair we have left out of our heads and start firing at you. But we will until things change or you give us a target higher up the food chain.

    If I had a decent set of API's I would be writing all sorts of add on software for groupwise and so would a lot of other people. I would be writing Oracle modules for crying out loud. Hell I would write a client using Qt and cross compile it for Linux, Mac and Windows.

    If we could get the complete API documentation for things like Messenger we would be adding all sorts of cool things there too.

    But I can't because the API just flat out sucks and because it sucks no one else will either.

    I sent you an e-mail, to at least what I think your email address is and since it hasn't bounced I can only assume that you don't consider it worthy of a reply or there is more then one dlythgoe@novell.com

    In this time of massive uncertainty and our clients asking questions like, "Uhmm should I really stick with this when everyone and their brother is telling me to switch to OL/E but you?" you really really need to start communicating on a very frequent basis so that we can have something to tell our clients because this acquisition has made almost all of them really nervous.



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