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Great Vibes

Paths Merging for Novell Teaming and Novell Pulse

Written by Ken Baker

In an announcement on November 9th, Novell reaffirmed its commitment to innovative team collaboration through its plan to bring together Novell Teaming and Novell Pulse into a coordinated development roadmap. As part of this coordinated effort, Novell will leverage the strengths of each offering to deliver real-time, enterprise-class team collaboration through on-premise and cloud-based deployment options. In conjunction with this merging of product roadmaps, Novell has renamed Novell Teaming and Novell Pulse to Novell Vibe OnPrem and Novell Vibe Cloud, respectively. This article will explore the details surrounding this announcement and what it means for Novell collaboration customers.

Novell reaffirmed its commitment to innovative team collaboration through its plan to bring together Novell Teaming and Novell Pulse into a coordinated development roadmap.

Unified Platform

Both Novell Vibe OnPrem and Novell Vibe Cloud address common team collaboration needs. These include helping people stay informed; tapping into innovative ideas; making better decisions; finishing joint work faster; better leveraging knowledge assets; fostering productivity; and connecting more effectively with team members, partners and customers. And while the two products were based on different approaches to achieving these goals, Novell saw an opportunity to better leverage the strengths of both tools and deliver one cohesive solution for enterprise team collaboration.

As part of its coordinated development effort, Novell Vibe will harmonize the two deployment options over time, bringing together the best of the team workspace approach featured in Novell Teaming and the social business approach pioneered by Novell Pulse. To accomplish this, the Novell Vibe development team will work to combine next-generation capabilities such as real-time social messaging and online document co-editing with file management, groups, profiles, workflow, and security and management controls. The result will be a unified platform that makes it even easier for users to work together and drive better and faster business results, while giving organizations the deployment flexibility and security they need.

The first results of these coordinated efforts will be seen when Novell Vibe OnPrem ships in late 2010 and Novell Vibe Cloud ships in mid-2011. But the initial steps toward this integration are visible in the open betas available now for both deployment options.

As part of its coordinated development effort, Novell Vibe will harmonize the two deployment options over time, bringing together the best of the team workspace approach featured in Novell Teaming and the social business approach pioneered by Novell Pulse.

Implementation Strengths

Even though Novell Vibe OnPrem and Novell Vibe Cloud now share a common name and will blend closely over time, there are several distinguishing features in each product version today. Obviously, the deployment method differentiates the two at the highest level—with one in the cloud and the other on-premise. But there are also differences in emphasis and functionality between the products as they exist today.

Novell Vibe OnPrem is known for its customizable and easy-to-create team workspaces; advanced workflows, customizable forms; and centralized project collaboration and knowledge management. As a proven collaborative application now entering its third generation, it facilitates team productivity, knowledge retention, document and content management, and business process automation.

For example, Novell Vibe OnPrem facilitates your organization's ability to preserve, manage and make accessible the information team members need to collaborate more effectively. It lets project leaders and team members leverage Novell Vibe workspaces as central, secure and easily accessible locations to store, organize and share all information related to a specific project, including documents, conversations, media files, research, milestones, tasks, expected outcomes, work in progress, business processes and more. It also lets teams leverage e-mail, calendars, documents and Web landing pages—and the latest Web 2.0 technologies and social tools such as wikis, blogs, discussions, profiles and activity streams. All of these capabilities combine to help you increase team productivity, information access and project awareness.

On the other hand, Novell Vibe Cloud focuses on new dynamic interactions that are fast and simple, enabling highly effective cross-business collaboration and B2B interactions. It combines enterprise-quality security and productivity features with the real-time social tools your people want, like social following and feeds, online document co-editing; self-service group collaboration across the enterprise; and fast, ad-hoc groups and communication. It provides next-generation, in-the-cloud collaboration that lets people across organizations (or across the world) work together in a better way that's natural and intuitive.

For example, to streamline the creation of collateral for a cross-functional company effort—or even an inter-company effort—Novell Vibe Cloud lets you easily and quickly create an ad hoc team consisting of people that can add value, knowledge and expertise to the process. Invited team members can instantly and simultaneously contribute copy, post and see feedback, comment on proposed graphics and refine content to build the collateral piece. Every invited team member can see the work unfold in real-time as information is added, edits are suggested and comments are made. Additionally, since all team members work on the same copy of the document, version control and edit aggregation problems are eliminated. When finished, the team can also invite key management personnel to review and approve the resulting collateral piece.

Unifying the Roadmap

Even though Novell Vibe OnPrem software and Novell Vibe Cloud have significant differences in their current state, Novell plans to unify the products and ultimately provide the same fundamental functionality in both versions. One of the first questions customers may ask about this process is how long will this product merging take? While Novell can’t offer a definitive answer on the length of the process, insights can be found in the on-premise version’s track record of frequent releases and the fact that the cloud service is inherently easy to update, too. Novell plans to use these frequent releases to enhance both versions while putting a major emphasis on aggressively bringing them closer together.

In the open betas available today, you’ll see that the interface of both versions has been changed to give them a more similar look and feel, specifically in terms of font type, colors and icon treatments. (See Figure 1.) Quick profiles in the on-premise version will be similar to that of the cloud service. (See Figure 2.) You’ll also see a “What's New” capability in Novell Vibe OnPrem that's modeled after the unified message stream found in Novell Vibe Cloud. (See Figure 3.) In both product versions, this gives users a consolidated view of the people, groups, discussions and content most relevant to their work.

Next year yoÍu can expect to see even more blending in the rolling updates for each product. Watch for the interface and navigation structure of both versions to continue to meld, and watch for tighter integrations with GroupWise in both deployment options. In the cloud service, you’ll also see the incorporation of folders, task management, calendars and other elements from the on-premise version.

Over time, integration points will also be introduced between the two versions, such as synchronization of access controls and content. For example, you might want to keep the majority of your core content behind the firewall in the on-premise version, but synchronize certain team documents between your workspaces and cloud repositories that external team members can access. The whole point will be to give you the flexibility to best leverage the functionality and strengths of each deployment model.

Even though Novell Vibe OnPrem and Novell Vibe Cloud have significant differences in their current state, Novell plans to unify the products and ultimately provide the same fundamental functionality in both versions.

Previewing Novell Vibe

If you’ve been eager for a look at Novell Vibe—or you're simply curious about how these products are starting to come together—now is the time to take advantage of their open betas. For the cloud service, just visit http://tryvibeonprem.novell.com, sign up for the beta and give it a spin. To get a feel for the real-time collaborative nature of Novell Vibe Cloud, it’s best to invite your colleagues to sign up and experience it with you.

To check out Novell Vibe OnPrem, you can download its beta at www.novell.com/beta or try it online using the sandbox version at http://tryvibeonprem.novell.com. If you use the sandbox version, you’ll be able to try out some of the sample workspaces, workflows and forms that have been available in what has been known as the Teaming Library. This will give you a feel for what it’s like to use Novell Vibe OnPrem in a production environment.

Whether you're interested in traditional on-premise software, new cloud delivery models or both, find out how Novell Vibe brings together team collaboration and social business tools to enhance the way your people work together to drive business results. For more product information, visit https://vibe.novell.com.

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