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Unfortunately, some collaboration solutions just don't play well with others. If you think about it, that's a serious contradiction, since the very definition of the word collaborate is to work jointly with others. But beyond enabling your knowledge workers to stay productive with essential tools such as e-mail, calendaring, instant messaging and task management, you need your collaboration solution to work well with other essential elements of your organization's IT fabric. It needs to be able to tie into all of your different clients, servers, applications and even other collaboration systems you might have. Lucky for you, when it comes to collaboration, Novell GroupWise is all about working nicely with others.

Not only does GroupWise deliver a more secure and reliable collaboration environment, but it has the "works-well-with-others" attitude you need to help your users–and yourself–be as productive as possible.

Working with Other Desktops
On the desktop, GroupWise has always met the needs of the majority of users who love the GroupWise client for Windows. The GroupWise client can run on Windows 2000, Windows XP, Windows 2003 and with Windows Vista, (with Support Pack 2, which is scheduled to ship this month).

But if you're like most businesses, you have desktop flavors besides Windows, and you need collaboration services that work well with those other desktops. Perhaps you have a graphic design department in which Mac is the operating system of choice. Your Mac usage might not be as heavy in other departments, but whether you work in education, government, healthcare, manufacturing or some other industry, you likely support a number of users who depend on the Mac to get their jobs done. You have to be able to provide those Mac users the collaboration services they need, and the GroupWise client for the Mac OS lets you do it.

GroupWise serves more than Mac and Windows desktop users. Collaboration support for Linux users has become even more critical as the demand for Linux desktops in the workplace continues to rise, especially where organizations have realized that Windows is too expensive or complex for certain job functions. So, when you leverage SUSE Linux Enterprise Desktop as a feature-rich, cost-effective alternative to the likes of Windows Vista, you can also take advantage of GroupWise with its Linux client.

Also, both the Linux and Mac clients will have several powerful enhancements as part of a major release scheduled for the end of this year. The updates include a variety of enhancements designed to make users more productive, such as group labels, a navigation bar, categories by color, discussion threads and the enhanced Home View feature that turns GroupWise into a personal productivity dashboard. (See New and Improved Home View.)

Working with Mobile Users and Devices
Your users not only need to be able to manage their e-mail, check their schedules, look up contacts and review attachments from their desktops, but they also need you to provide them all of that functionality while they're on the road. You can deliver it with GroupWise WebAccess, which enables your users to collaborate from virtually any desktop or device with Internet access. (See Figure 1.) GroupWise WebAccess includes support for Firefox, Internet Explorer and Safari browsers. It also works on Pocket PCs with Windows (2000/2002/2003) or any mobile device that supports the Wireless Access Protocol and has a microbrowser that uses Handheld Device Markup Language 3.0 (or later) or Wireless Markup Language 1.1 (or later).

New and Improved Home View

When Novell releases its GroupWise client update later this year, all the different desktop flavors will be able to take advantage of the Home View feature, which currently is only available to Windows users. Through customizable panels, the Home View provides GroupWise users a quick view of all their most important information, such as their calendar, checklist items and unread messages. (See Figure 3.)

Currently, the Home View accommodates two columns with two or three panels. In the updated client, there will be no limit to the number of columns or panels you can have. Removing this limit will enable users to create their own custom productivity dashboards within GroupWise. Users can even add Home View panels that contain information from other business applications or services that use the Web as their presentation vehicle. For example, users can add an SAP dashboard to the Home View by creating a panel with a link to your SAP dashboard's URL.

Mobile users also have handheld device needs. With GroupWise Mobile Server and the Research in Motion (RIM) BlackBerry Enterprise Server for Novell GroupWise, you can extend GroupWise beyond the desktop to hundreds of mobile devices running a variety of operating systems. Through these solutions, users can securely access their e-mail, appointments, contacts, tasks and notes from anywhere. They can also view almost any type of attachment in its native format, including word processing documents, spreadsheets and presentations. The solutions automatically push collaboration data to the mobile device as soon as it arrives in a user's GroupWise Inbox.

GroupWise Mobile Server supports mobile platforms for most devices running Palm OS (3.5 up to 5.4), Symbian (60 v3, 80 v2 and UIQ v3), BREW (2.1 and 3.1), and Windows Mobile (2003, 2003SE and 5.0). The BlackBerry Enterprise Server from RIM provides support for BlackBerry devices.

GroupWise goes to great lengths to work well not only with other collaboration systems, but with a wide variety of other collaboration-related systems, services and standards.

Sharing User Directories and Calendars
Key to productive collaboration is the ability to work well with other messaging systems. This is especially true if your organization uses more than one brand of collaboration solution. Maybe your company just went through a merger. Perhaps you have multiple subsidiaries under one holding company. Or you might work in the government sector and need to collaborate with other departments that use other messaging systems.

These examples represent situations in which you might have more than one messaging system under your organizational umbrella. Under these circumstances, you want to be able to provide a common directory to allow your end users to have a seamless experience across the organization, independent of their IT department's messaging system. Also, in terms of calendaring, you want your users in one system to be able to do free/busy searches of schedules for users in other systems.

For organizations that have both GroupWise and Exchange, the GroupWise 7 Gateway for Exchange provides this level of seamless interaction. The gateway creates a link between the GroupWise domain and the Exchange server that enables synchronization of directories and appointments between these systems. (See Figure 2.) It also allows bi-directional free/busy searches between both systems. For organizations with Notes and GroupWise in their environment, the GroupWise Gateway for Notes provides a similar level of functionality between these two systems.

But when it comes to sharing calendars, GroupWise gateways aren't your only option. GroupWise 7 includes an iCalendar service that works in conjunction with iMIP (iCalendar Message-based Interoperability Protocol) that allows appointments to be sent to–and accepted from–any Internet Connection Sharing (ICS)-compliant e-mail system such as Microsoft Exchange or Lotus Notes.

Novell plans to further enhance this calendar sharing capability as part of its year-end product release. The update, which takes advantage of Internet free/busy standards in addition to the iCalendar standard, will enable your users to perform free/busy searches for their colleagues in other organizations, even if those organizations don't use GroupWise.

Users will also be able to publish calendars for consumption by employees, customers, students or citizens, and subscribe to published calendars, as well. This provides a simple and powerful new way for users to coordinate their schedules. Publishing and subscribing to calendars also uses the iCalendar standard, so any compliant systems will be able to participate.

Working with Outlook
The majority of your users likely enjoy the feature-rich collaboration environment provided by the GroupWise client; however, you might run into a situation where a few users are more comfortable using Outlook as their messaging client. This could be the case if you were recently involved in a merger or acquisition. Or perhaps your organization used Exchange in the past but decided to leave behind its security vulnerabilities and frequent patch requirements to move to a more secure and stable GroupWise environment. After the move, some of your users might still want to use Outlook. The Messaging Application Programming Interface (MAPI)-based Outlook Connector in GroupWise gives you the flexibility to easily accommodate this scenario. Though you'll need strong security to address the vulnerabilities in the Outlook client itself, the Outlook Connector is a useful option for administrators who need to keep users productive and comfortable during a longer-term transition. (See Constant Communication.)

Constant Communication

Attorneys at Tew Cardenas LLP, a full service law firm with offices in Miami, Tallahassee and Washington, D.C., rely on e-mail as the primary method of communication with their clients. The firm had recently migrated to the Microsoft Windows operating system and considered a simultaneous move to Microsoft Exchange as a result of pressure from new hires accustomed to the Microsoft Outlook client. After a careful evaluation based on features and pricing, the firm decided to stay with GroupWise and upgrade to version 7. "We got the pricing for Microsoft Exchange, and there was simply no comparison with Novell GroupWise," said Leilani Quiles, IT Director at Tew Cardenas. And because Novell GroupWise 7 integrates with Microsoft Outlook, Tew Cardenas can even cater to its Microsoft Outlook users. The company can run GroupWise on the back end and use the Microsoft Outlook client on the front end for seamless mail, calendar, contacts and task functionality.

Working with Internet Messaging Standards
So your users can be as productive as possible, GroupWise goes to great lengths to work well not only with other collaboration systems, but with a wide variety of other collaboration-related systems, services and standards. The GroupWise Internet Agent plays a vital role in this ability to work with other systems, providing support for industry standards and protocols through the following Internet Agent services:

  • SMTP/MIME Service enables you to send and receive e-mail with standard encoding on attachments, international character sets and multi-part messages. Multimedia e-mail with images, sound and video can also be exchanged. The service also includes support for SMTP dial-up functionality, flexible addressing, Internet addressing, real-time blacklists, spam protection and DNS name resolution.
  • POP3 Service lets the GroupWise Internet Agent act as a POP3 server, providing a TCP connection between a user's GroupWise post office and a POP3 client, allowing messages to be downloaded from a GroupWise post office to any POP3 client application.
  • IMAP4 Service allows the GroupWise Internet Agent to act as an IMAP4 server so that IMAP4 e-mail clients can read and manipulate GroupWise messages.
  • LDAP Services enables Internet e-mail clients to do LDAP lookups of GroupWise users and address information stored in GroupWise post offices.
  • Secure Connections via SSL (Secure Sockets Layer) supports SSL for connections to SMTP hosts, POP3 clients, IMAP4 clients and the Internet Agent Web console.
  • Access Control lets you control user access to the SMTP/MIME, LDAP, POP3 and IMAP4 services, as well as block messages being sent to or received from specific hosts or IP addresses.
  • SNMP Compliance allows the GroupWise Internet Agent to be managed by any SNMP-compliant network manager.

Depending on your GroupWise platform, you run the GroupWise Internet Agent as an NLM on NetWare, a Linux executable or a Windows executable.

In addition to the GroupWise Internet Agent, GroupWise has components that provide further levels of integration with the other systems and services that are key to your business. One of these is the support for X.509 certificates in the Windows GroupWise client, enabling e-mail to be sent more securely.

With GroupWise Mobile Server and the Research in Motion (RIM) BlackBerry Enterprise Server for Novell GroupWise, you can extend GroupWise beyond the desktop to hundreds of mobile devices running a variety of operating systems.

Working with the Directory
Collaboration solutions that work well with your directory can make your life as an administrator much easier. When your organization hires new employees, much of the information you need to create new e-mail accounts for those employees also needs to be entered into your directory. There's no reason why that information should have to be entered twice. The Novell Identity Manager Driver for GroupWise enables synchronization of user data between GroupWise and eDirectory so you can automatically create an e-mail account as soon as a new employee's information is entered into eDirectory. The driver can also be used for other directory-related tasks, such as disabling e-mail accounts when employees leave the company.

Alternatively, you can simply let the GroupWise Message Transfer Agent pull down its LDAP information directly from your directory. This allows you to synchronize data without requiring Novell Identity Manager. And although GroupWise requires eDirectory for storing configuration information, if you want the flexibility to use another directory for login, the GroupWise client can issue LDAP authentication challenges using any LDAP directory.

Working on the Back End
Depending on your IT infrastructure requirements, you could run your collaboration servers on more than one type of server platform. This may be because your company just went through a merger, or because you have multiple subsidiaries under one holding company. Or maybe you need to migrate or consolidate from one server environment to a different one. In any case, GroupWise makes it simple for you to address these requirements with its ability to run on a variety of server platforms. You can choose to deploy GroupWise 7 on Novell Open Enterprise Server (NetWare or Linux), NetWare (versions 5.1, 6.0 or 6.5), SUSE Linux Enterprise Server 10 or Windows Server (versions 2000 or 2003). You have the flexibility to deploy your GroupWise servers on a single platform or any combination you choose.

Working with Whatever You Want
Sometimes you have unique needs when it comes to making your collaboration services work the way you want. In fact, your needs might be so unique that no one provides a solution to address them precisely. To help you address those unique needs, Novell provides a cross-platform interface that enables your in-house developers to extend the capabilities of GroupWise in a variety of ways. The GroupWise Web Service provides you server-side access to GroupWise user accounts, allowing you to create client applications that can read, modify and write messages, address books and folders, as well as perform event-driven operations.

For example, both Novell and Research In Motion use the GroupWise Web Service to enable synchronization between GroupWise Post Office Agents and mobile devices. This same Web Service gives you the ability to work with other systems and solutions critical to your collaboration requirements. (See Putting SOAP to Good Use, and Please Pass the S.O.A.P..)

Collaboration that Works
You may have to deal with people who don't play well with others, but we can unequivocally say that your GroupWise system will. Just as it has done in the past, it will continue to work with a rich variety of platforms, desktops, devices, directories, applications and standards–giving you the choice and flexibility you need. The recent interoperability agreement that Novell and Microsoft announced on November 2, 2006 is one more proof point of that commitment to interoperability that Novell has for all of its solutions, including GroupWise. So, not only does GroupWise deliver a more secure and reliable collaboration environment, but it has the "works-well-with-others" attitude you need to help your users–and yourself–be as productive as possible. red N

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