Novell Home

Novell Connection Magazine Home

March 2008

Features

Here,
There, Everywhere

Making Collaboration Transparent
Tech Talk 7 by Ken Baker

  • Show Menu for Current Issue

A Unified Communications Pioneer

Although Novell can be considered a relatively new player in the Unified Communications arena, the company was a pioneer and leader in collaboration long before the term “Unified Communications” gained currency. Since it was launched, NetWare revolutionized collaboration with its file sharing and print sharing capabilities for workgroups using Local Area Networks. These capabilities—along with many other collaboration-enhancing innovations—continue in Novell Open Enterprise Server today. While e-mail was still in its infancy, Novell offered its Message Handling Service, an open standard technology that facilitated the development of e-mail-enabled applications. With the WordPerfect merger, Novell bolstered its communications and collaboration offerings with GroupWise. A few years ago, Novell added secure, enterprise Instant Messaging to the mix. And with GroupWise Mobile Server, Novell made e-mail, calendaring, contact management and task management available to mobile users on hundreds of devices. The recent release of Novell Teaming + Conferencing—with its team workspaces, enterprise social networking and collaboration tools such as wikis and blogs, online meetings and instant messaging—represented a big step forward for Novell in its broad, Unified Communications strategy.

By acquiring SiteScape and the technology for Novell Teaming + Conferencing, Novell can take even bigger and broader strides in carrying out its plans for Unified Communications. In responding to questions regarding these plans, Novell talked about the key Unified Communications components it currently provides, such as e-mail, instant messaging, mobile collaboration, team workspaces, online meetings and office productivity applications. And, ownership of the teaming and real-time conferencing technology will enable it to further extend and integrate these solutions.

Though some of these integration plans are still on the drawing board, Novell has made great strides in integrating its team workspaces, conferencing tools and social software. In fact, an analyst being briefed on the SiteScape acquisition indicated that in this area of integration and presence, Novell has a significant lead over other vendors competing in the space.

In discussing its plans for Unified Communications, Novell indicated that some of the additional capabilities it is working to provide include the integration of voice mail, PBX and fax with e-mail; video conferencing; workflow integration with business applications; open unified communications APIs and presence integration among all these different components. As Novell leverages its lead in integrated team workspaces, continues to enhance its current product set and builds out other critical Unified Communications components, customers will be able to make quantum leaps in employee effectiveness, team productivity and organizational success. (See Figure 4.)

An Openly Different Strategy

In addition to its lead in the area of “integrated presence,” another key element that differentiates Novell from other vendors in the Unified Communications market is a focus on delivering more flexible and interoperable solutions. With Novell Teaming + Conferencing and GroupWise playing a central role in this area, the acquisition of SiteScape makes it even easier for Novell to ensure the delivery of robust and interoperable Unified Communications solutions.

In fact, this acquisition represents further proof of Novell's commitment to delivering innovative and flexible collaboration solutions, and not just for its current customers. Even if you don't own Novell products yet, you now have an alternative for team productivity based on open standards and open source—one you can count on for the long term.

Much of the innovation and interoperability to come in this space will be driven by the ICEcore open source project, to which Novell and SiteScape have been contributors. As part of the SiteScape acquisition, Novell will now sponsor the ICEcore open source project, actively contributing to the project and fostering community participation to drive collaboration innovation forward.

Mark Levitt, program vice president for Collaborative Computing and the Enterprise Workplace at IDC talked about how the SiteScape acquisition and the interoperable nature of the combined technology offerings benefit customers. He said, "Enterprise and SMB customers are looking for solutions that combine real-time messaging, conferencing and IP voice calling along with online workspaces, social networking, blogs and wikis to improve team and enterprise productivity and innovation. Solutions that combine team collaboration and UC like those offered by the combined Novell-SiteScape, which are based around open source for rapid innovation and open standards for interoperability and platform flexibility, represent the next major step forward for business collaboration.”

Conclusion

The bottom line is that existing Novell technologies—strengthened by the acquisition of SiteScape—set the stage to deliver a much richer set of innovative and interoperable tools to help you achieve your Unified Communications objectives. A major part of that goal is to preserve your ability to choose the Unified Communications components you need from the vendors with whom you want to do business. An equally important goal is to push the tools and supporting technology into the background, so you and your users can focus on what you need to communicate rather than how you'll have to do it. When Unified Communications is fully realized, you'll simply be presented with the best ways to communicate with the right people at the right time. In other words, you'll have the freedom to focus on the end rather than the means.

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.



© 2014 Novell