Tech Talk 1by Ken Baker
A Competitive Look at Next-Generation Collaboration with Novell Teaming
Novell Teaming Is More Affordable
Novell Teaming costs less to acquire and own than Microsoft Share Point. SharePoint has several cost-related issues that must be considered, including the following:
- While Windows SharePoint Services v3.0 (WSS) is included with Microsoft Windows Server, it is designed for small departmental use only, with limited search capabilities and limited support for forms and workflow.
- Larger organizations that need the more standard functionality of Microsoft Office SharePoint Server Standard (MOSS) will need to pay an additional per-user Client Access License (CAL) fee.
- Using custom forms and the business intelligence capabilities of SharePoint requires the Microsoft Office SharePoint Server Enterprise add-on with an additional per-user CAL fee.
- A server license must be purchased for each server deployed in the system, and a CAL is required for each user.
- Performing any searches in the SharePoint system requires the purchase of at least one Microsoft Office SharePoint Server Search Server.
- Using forms in SharePoint requires the purchase of an Office Forms Server, plus a per-user CAL fee.
- The configuration of Web parts for custom pages and the ability to create forms in SharePoint requires the purchase of a SharePoint Designer license for each of your developers.
- Microsoft SharePoint 2007 requires the latest versions of Microsoft Exchange and Active Directory, as well as Microsoft Office and Windows XP or Windows Vista on every desktop, with their associated licensing, migration, and service maintenance fees and commitments.
In contrast, Novell Teaming has a simple purchasing program and licensing model. It's available as part of the Novell Open Workgroup Suite or as a stand-alone product. While Novell does offer two add-on modules to the solution (Advanced Workflow and Conferencing), all of the core features needed to enable team collaboration are available out-of-the-box in Novell Teaming. You can deploy as many Novell Teaming servers as you need to support your users with no additional per-server charge and Novell Teaming doesn’t require the purchase of any additional development tools. Workspaces, forms and workflows can easily be created with the Web-based tools included in the product.
The bottom line is that with all the extras you have to purchase to make SharePoint work as marketed, you may be paying considerably more than you need to. By contrast, Novell Teaming offers innovative next-generation collaboration capabilities at an extremely affordable price. For example, a mid-size company with 5,500 employees can deploy Novell Teaming for as little as one-fifth of the cost of Microsoft SharePoint. Novell Teaming costs less to own as well, with lower hardware requirements and services that can be virtualized, which also lowers data center costs. Furthermore, since Novell Teaming requires fewer servers, you can recognize savings on power, cooling, server maintenance and server backup costs.
Novell Teaming Offers a More Usable Design
Microsoft SharePoint enables users to share information by publishing it to the Web. Once an organization’s team of Web designers and developers deploy and customize the SharePoint environment to their liking, it’s fairly easy for users to publish data in that environment. Users can go to one page for collaboration, to another for document management, and yet another for business intelligence. However, they’re then left with a collection of Web pages that lack useful contextual ties, leaving them to figure out on their own how these different pages actually relate. (See Figure 2.)
Rather than enabling users to build a collection of Web pages, Novell Teaming enables people to connect with other people, information and resources relevant to their work objectives. Users can easily navigate through the system to see how projects and other collections of information relate to each other while easily viewing the context of the search. (See Figure 2.)
To accomplish this, Novell Teaming adds a layer of metadata to published data. This metadata layer establishes contextual links among relevant pieces of information and fosters contextual interactions among people and their ideas, research, work and knowledge. Another key aspect of Novell Teaming is the workspace, which serves to bring together related information and interested people into a single place. Together, Novell Teaming workspaces and metadata relationships make it easy for you to connect with the people and information that can bring the most value to any project, task or relationship.
For example, a search on “social networking” in a SharePoint environment might bring up thousands of hits that you need to wade through before finding the links that really deliver what you’re looking for. A similar search in Novell Teaming can bring up those same thousands of hits, but it will also use its metadata layer to point out key contextual relationships among them. As an example, it might rank a certain workspace as a prime source for information on social networking since it contains several wikis, blogs and other documents that reference the term. This focus on connecting people with the resources they need, rather than building collections of Web pages, greatly increases your ability to improve productivity and fuel success.
Furthermore, while Novell Teaming is a Web application, its focus is on collaboration inside the workspace, not on deploying developers to build Web pages. You don’t need to enlist an army of Web designers to set up the Novell Teaming environment. IT teams can deploy the system and let user departments quickly get to work creating workspaces, sharing information, coordinating their activities and moving the business forward. The design of Novell Teaming is centered on simplicity and empowering users themselves to enable collaboration. (See Figure 3.)
Novell Teaming Offers a Broader Model for Innovation
Unlike Microsoft SharePoint, Novell Teaming features an open development model that invites innovation from a broad community of developers and users. Key to this innovation and open development model is the Kablink open source project. Customers or partners can make changes to Novell Teaming code and submit those changes to the Kablink community. The changes can then be included in later releases of the product, allowing all customers to benefit from the innovations driven by the community. (See Figure 4.)
Proprietary vendors, even large ones, can't match the level of innovation that comes from this sort of an open model. A broad development process that involves a variety of software vendors, partners and customers can produce more breakout features than a vendor team working in isolation. In the software industry, the Linux operating environment, along with the Apache Web server and the Java 2 Execution Environment, are three prime examples of how well this open development model works.
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Novell Teaming also provides a number of ways to extend or customize the solution, such as Web services interfaces using SOAP, system templates and portal configurations. While Microsoft also provides ways to customize and extend SharePoint, Novell goes a significant step further by providing a view into the code behind the interfaces, making it easier for developers to understand system behavior and how they can best take advantage of it.
Deploying the right next-generation collaboration system for your organization can put it on track for increased productivity, better decisions, lower costs, more effective teams and much more. By rolling out the right tool, you can give your company a competitive edge and more effectively meet your organization's goals.
Novell Teaming provides a feature-rich, affordable and flexible alternative to the expensive, Swiss Army Knife approach taken by Microsoft SharePoint. And, with its open development model, Novell Teaming enables you to benefit from the innovation and ideas of a broad community of developers and users. Furthermore, if your organization has investments or interest in a mixed IT environment (with both open and proprietary products and server operating environments), identity solutions, open development standards such as J2EE— not to mention lower costs and a system that's easier to deploy—Novell Teaming is an excellent choice. When it comes to taking advantage of the benefits of next-generation collaboration, Novell Teaming is the right tool for the job.