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March 2008

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Making Collaboration Transparent
Tech Talk 7 by Ken Baker

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Last Last month Novell announced the acquisition of SiteScape, a leading provider of team workspace, enterprise social software and real-time conferencing solutions. In case you didn’t know, in 2007 Novell began licensing SiteScape technology to create Novell Teaming + Conferencing.

Like any acquisition, this one has excited market watchers and created new opportunities for Novell and SiteScape customers alike. (See Benefits for Novell Customers and Benefits for SiteScape Customers.) But the big question is, “Why move from a licensing relationship to one of ownership?”

Of course there are multiple answers, with a main one being to strengthen the ability of Novell to deliver the flexible, next-generation collaboration environments organizations need.

But if you dig deeper, you’ll realize it’s much more than that. The acquisition of SiteScape puts Novell in a prime position to move forward with a broad plan to lead the way in Unified Communications from the team workspace perspective.

Understanding Unified Communications

The rate of communications innovation has grown exponentially in the last few years. Beginning in the 1980s with worldwide deregulation of the telephone industry, cell phones, overnight couriers, fax machines, cheap long distance, calling plans, cable television and many other innovations appeared. The 1990s brought the Internet, the World Wide Web and ubiquitous e-mail. And in the 21st Century, Web 2.0, or the collaborative Internet, has again changed the landscape with wikis, blogs, social networking Web sites and more.

While it's great to have so many choices, it can also be overwhelming. Do I send an e-mail or call the person? Should I call her cell or desk phone? Can I call him at home? Maybe an Instant Message is the way to go, or should I send a text message? Is he even online? Should I fax this document, send a hard copy using regular mail, attach a PDF to an e-mail, or all three? Should we do a Webcast or a conference call? Does he use Skype or some other free VoIP service?

In addition, all of these communication tools focus on devices

and networks primarily, and on people as a by-product. Business owners wonder about their PBX options. Does it have Interactive Voice Response? How many conference call bridges do I need? Even home consumers talk about communications via their technical setup. Is DSL or cable better? Should I install WiFi? Will my TV still work when my local affiliate goes digital next year?

The latest topic—one that shifts the focus from the means of communication to the ends—is Unified Communications. At its core, Unified Communications is a way to provide an integrated set of tools that help people share information in the best way, no matter where they are, what time it is, or with whom they need to communicate. It's about focusing on people and their communication needs rather than on devices and networks.

Of course, that’s the short definition. The long-term goal of Unified Communications is to provide the same rich and simple experience online as people are used to in face-to-face encounters. In some cases, it provides even more advantages than face-to-face contact. As Unified Communications tools are adopted, people will be able to share knowledge, convince others of a point of view, reach agreement, coordinate time and resources, educate, entertain, brainstorm new ideas, foster relationships and build human networks more effectively than ever before.

For example, the “integrated presence” in Novell Teaming + Conferencing allows you to instantly see if someone in a team workspace is online—that is, available for an online meeting or chat. It automatically forwards phone calls to an appropriate telephone number (cellular, land line or VoIP) when team members are out of the office or on the move. It tells you not only who is participating in a conference call or online meeting, but who is talking at any given time. And Novell Teaming + Conferencing integrates all of these forms of collaboration with a wide array of other collaboration tools in a way that allows you to get your message across in the easiest and most effective manner possible. In essence, it simplifies and elevates your ability to communicate and collaborate effectively.(See Figure 1), (See Figure 2), and (See Figure 3)

Next

  • Figure 1

    Figures 1, 2 and 3: Novell Teaming + Conferencing supports extensive presence integration--a practical application of Unified Communications concepts that shift the focus from the means of communications to the ends.

  • Figure 2

    Figures 1, 2 and 3: Novell Teaming + Conferencing supports extensive presence integration--a practical application of Unified Communications concepts that shift the focus from the means of communications to the ends.

  • Figure 3

    Figures 1, 2 and 3: Novell Teaming + Conferencing supports extensive presence integration--a practical application of Unified Communications concepts that shift the focus from the means of communications to the ends.

  • Figure 4

    Novell Offers the Powerful Core of a Unified Communications Solution.



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