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GroupWiseR EMEA Tour News & Updates

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By Erno de Korte

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Updated: 16 Jun 2005
 

When Erno de Korte (President of GUG-NL), Uli Neumann (President of GroupWise&Friends) and all of the other Speakers and Partners were traveling to deliver their GroupWiseR sessions to GroupWise fans in 12 cities all over EMEA, they were very stimulated by the many positive responses for the audience and the local groups. And all this positive energy stimulated these two presidents to lay several "eggs". These eggs have been fertilized with several wonderful ideas and will in due time create some fabulous surprises.

Mind you, not all of these eggs will come to live at the same time, but in the near future you will see at least a few of them come to full blossom. And the result of this first egg will indeed be amazing: although the egg itself is not very big, somewhere between a chicken and ostrich egg, this egg hides something with immense power. Perhaps not many people might have expected this, but what's inside this egg might indeed give the world a new look on the ICE landscape.

And by the way, so did the GroupWiseR EMEA Tour, which is almost finished after last week's event in Poland. There is only one more event scheduled in Middle East for September 2005. This Tour did have an impact, I can assure you.

Prague, an amazing city indeed

May 26 - After Paris we've the Tour visited Prague in the Czech Republic on May 26. And Prague is indeed something special, a true pearl in the center of Europe, attracting lots of people from all over the world. And the GroupWiseR event also attracted a lot of people interested in GroupWise. Originally we expected 50 people, but more than 70 registered and many of them showed up for a full day of sessions. The overall satisfaction was very great, people like the "real" content, as some of them mentioned: "no sales or marketing, but some real stuff!".

This event was organized by our local representative Vaclav Samsa and he really did a great job. We were specially honored by the visit of Jon Myers, one of the members of the GroupWise Product Management team, who managed to visit us during this event. We all had a great day, especially also afterwards during fabulous dinner in what we form now on will call "King Vaclav's Castle", a real medieval looking place. Very nice indeed.

Finland - land of beauty

May 31 - Oh dear, what a contrast: flying from the warm and somewhat crowded city of Prague to a relatively quiet university campus in Espoo, a city next to Helsinki. The weather was very nice and we enjoyed some free time in very nice surroundings, after which on Tuesday May 31 we had another GroupWiseR EMEA Tour Event. This event was organized by Tomi Moberg from NUCF (Novell Users Club Finland), Anna-Kaisa Raty (Novell) and again, the location was very good and many people showed up.

We would have been happy with 30 attendees, but actually appr. 65 people signed up and traveled from all over Finland for this event. The sessions were delivered by Sami Murtolahti, Pekka Linqvist, Roel van Bueren and myself and they were all (very) well received. The partners also got a lot of attention and at the end of the day everybody rushed to the airport for a quick transfer to Sweden for next days event.

Sweden - the busy city center of Stockholm

June 1 - Arlanda airport is at quite a distance from Stockholm City Center, but we were very lucky: we used the very fast Arlanda Express Train and this stopped directly under our hotel. And the same building also houses the World Trade Center, were we would have our next day event. Wonderful, what a small world, in a few hours from Helsinki to Stockholm, having dinner with our host G?ran Hofmann and the rest of the crew.

The sessions at this event were also very well received and I was again amazed myself about the interesting discussions you get when you touch a subject like "E-mail retention & Archiving". Here in Europe privacy is so much more important that an important part of the statements coming from US examples were rejected as a "breach of privacy". Time can only learn what the outcome will be of this collision between corporate and private interests. The attendees appreciated this day very much and we should thank Birgit Kaur (Novell Users Sweden), G?ran Hofmann (AddIQ) and the local speakers Mikael Hermansson and Anders Aagren for another excellent day.

Fun at Tivoli and more in Denmark

June 3 - Next stop: Denmark, land of the Little Mermaid and of Tivoli, the famous theme park in the center of Copenhagen. Also the land of the great writer Hans Christian Andersen, teller of many fascinating stories. And boy, did we try to do the same: both Roel van Bueren, Tommy Mikkelsen, Jesper Bergstedt and myself have been telling some nice fables about GroupWise.

And the good thing is: all of what we told is true: GroupWise is a fabulous product and people really love it. They traveled from all over Denmark to join us for this event and stay until very late on their Friday afternoon to share their GroupWise experiences. The sessions were rated with 9's and 10's all over; even though we as speakers felt a bit worn out after all these events. Novell Brugergruppe Denmark, thanks for organizing this event, it was great to be there, but after all of this we want to go home.

Poland - land of unknown beauty

June 9 - Yeah, home it was, at least for a short weekend, but on Sunday evening I needed to fly to the UK for a small assignment of a few days and then go to Poland. Very interesting country, many people might expect this to be a bit gray and dull, but "au contraire"!

I already experienced the energy in this country during the preparations for this event: without discrediting any other country, the Polish group was certainly on of the most persistent ones, Jarek Kowalski (Novell Poland) did a great job preparing this event, translating flyer and webpage in Polish, involving ComputerWorld, placing ads in the local magazines, creating banners and choosing the beautiful 4 star Polonia Palace Hotel as the event location. Superb, I've never seen so much dedication towards an event. And the result was there as well: 50 people were expected, but in reality 71 people registered and only one "no-show". Very, very good indeed, both attendees, speakers, partners and organizers had a great day.

For now the Tour is over, we've planned one more event in the Middle East in September. But oh boy, has these been a rewarding series of events, at least for the Attendees but also certainly for the Partners and the Speakers. On behalf of all of them, we would like to thank the many Local Organizers: you did a great job and we're looking forward to see you all next year! And a special thanks to all GroupWiseR EMEA Tour Partners: it was really the support from Advansys, GWAVA, Messaging Architects, Nexic, Omni, RIM/Blackberry, Teamware and Toffa that made this Tour come to live. Thanks very much, we hope to do this next year again and see you at the GroupWise EMEA Summit for a great end-of-season event in the Kurhaus!

Oh, yeah, about the egg, what's in it? Well, you will have to wait a while, if we try to open it too early it will be very messy. Never try to open an egg too early or the the egg-yolk might be all over you and the result will not be satisfying at all. Wait until what's inside tries to break out, that might happen sooner or later . Find more about the GroupWiseR egg at www.groupwiser.net/the-egg and have fun with GroupWise.

Regards,

Erno de Korte

The GroupWiseR EMEA Tour is really swinging now! - May 26 Update

It hasn't been easy to organize a GroupWise EMEA Tour visiting 13 cities all over EMEA, but once you get going it's certainly BIG FUN!

Europe, Middle East and Africa (EMEA) is certainly not the easiest area to set up a tour involving 13 Local Groups, 8 GroupWise partners (some of them normally in fierce competition!) and many speakers, both local and international, reaching out to 1000's of GroupWise users. Think about the logistics, the coordination effort, the sheer volume of all the Partner Brochures to be delivered at all those locations. Tons of materials, literally, and since EMEA is certainly not the single market space it could be things get easily lost, of course, or even worse: taxed!

But cooperating with all these GroupWiseR enthusiasts in so many countries is not only hard work, but fun as well! And the first 7 events have been a (huge) success; let me describe some of this. First of all, in early April, we started of course in Norway, as described in an earlier message, as part of the three day NovellForum event. Not easy to integrate with an existing event, but we've just received the evaluation results and if you look at them you see what we already expected: very high scores overall, very much appreciated.

Vienna, Austria

Tuesday May 10 - Vienna, that beautiful city at the Danube, is where we had our first "real" GroupWiseR event. And boy, was it successful; during our preparations we anticipated approximately 100 attendees, but actually more than 160 (!!) signed up. Thanks to Britta Leithner and Diethmar Rimser, our local GroupWiseR coordinator, this day has really been swinging: the audience had fun, the speakers (Alfred Bach (AT), Diethmar Rimser (AT), Ulrich Neumann (DE) and myself) were really at their best and our Summit Partners were well visited and very pleased as well.

And to my amazement, at the end of the day even a relatively boring subject as "E-mail archiving & retention" was very well received and almost everybody stayed until the end of the day. Oh, well, let's stay critical, there was a (minor) problem during the day: this event attracted such a large audience that the flat and low ceiling room wasn't optimal for 160 people, especially when sitting in the back, so you could say we were a victim of our success! But anyway, the newly formed GroupWise & Friends User Group Austria could not have had a better start, thanks to all of the people involved. Can we do even better next year?

The Printworks in Manchester, United Kingdom

Thursday May 12 - Boy, wouldn't that be fun, a wide-screen GroupWise movie in one of the biggest UK film theaters! Well, that's exactly what we got, after our whole "GroupWiseR Train" moved from Austria to Manchester for the GroupWiseR event on Thursday May 12. This event was held in a very interesting cinema complex called the Printworks and one of the cinema rooms was converted into a conference room with the wide film screen being used for the biggest GroupWise slides we've ever seen! The GUG-UK has organized many events before, but this certainly one of the most interesting locations!

Our speakers Tim Heywood (UK), Robin Redgrave (UK), Ulrich Neumann (DE, short: Uli) and myself delivered another series of interesting sessions, the Summit Partners certainly got a lot of attention as well and at the end of the day we had a very interesting Sequoia demo and a very good Q&A session, so at the end of the day all of us went home with a very satisfied feeling.

Announcing a newly-born - phase 0

During the day something special happened: the GroupWiseR initiative already has given birth to many interesting projects and we're very happy to announce that on May 12 during the GUG-UK event another spark of GroupWiseR creativity has given birth to something very spectacular. Uli played a very important role during the conception phase and I play a major role during the fertilization of this egg. And I can assure you, combining the two of us will indeed create something very special: watch this channel for more news on this!

Another happy announcement: GUG-NL has hedged

And while we're at it, let's discuss another newly-born: on Tuesday May 17 the GroupWise User Group Nederland organized their first meeting. And as the President of this GUG-NL I need to say that our new GUG-NL has certainly been able to astonish all of us. When Wilfried Rutjes, Gert ter Burg, Roel van Bueren and I launched this idea during BrainShare 2005, we were secretly hoping that by the end of 2005 we would have 75 members and a few local and international sponsors: well, that didn't work out at all like we had planned it!

Within six weeks the GUG-NL now has 3 Platinum International Vendors (GWAVA, Messaging Architects and Teamware), 3 Silver International Vendors (Nexic, Omni and Toffa), 5 Local Premium Resellers, 6 Local Resellers and more than 120 members! And again, like in Austria, in a way we became victim of our own success: we had ordered a few welcome gifts for our new members, but now we quickly needed to triple the amount. And our board member Roel van Bueren has been stitching like crazy to finalize all the new GUG-NL jacks to embroider the GUG-NL logo and the membership number on all of those jacks, but of course he couldn't finish them all in time.

Anyway, this day was again a big success, also because we had a very special guest from the USA: Nat Friedman has been one of the founders of Ximian and has been at the crib of Evolution, the most important e-mail client on Linux. He's now a VP for Novell and responsible for collaboration; normally he only visits techie type conferences, but he could not refuse the invitation from Uli and me to visit Europe and visit some GroupWiseR events.

And boy, did the audience like his entrance, he actually arrived at the conference centre in a real Dutch limo, and if you know the Netherlands that must be something special! Well, actually we dressed up a Smart with the new GUG-NL logo, certainly a very pretty sight indeed! The audience loved his keynote, during which they forced me to upgrade my laptop from Windows to Linux. Well, I didn't need much convincing, but in defense: I still need to use some old Windows-only stuff for demonstration purposes, sorry for that.

This day ended with a GUG-NL dinner, after which a large part of the audience actually went back for another evening session: Tim Heywood was delivering a extra bonus on GroupWise Internet Agent Tips & Tricks. The day ended late and we all went to bed tired, but very satisfied! And perhaps we will have another surprise soon: we've given some of the famous blue GroupWise tulip bulbs to one of our Belgium friends; let's see if he can be successful by planting and feeding them properly in Belgium soil.

GroupWise & Friends - a big hit in Germany

Well, this story seems to have a bit too much of the "great" and "big success" stuff, so if you find GroupWise being successful boring please find something else to read. Because the event in Germany was certainly in one of the most interesting locations: the Kurhaus in Bad Homburg has a big high ceiling conference room (hey, Austrians, perhaps you can find one like that as well next year :-) The German branch of GroupWise & Friends was brought to life during Cebit in March and oh boy, this G&F stuff has been successful. Many new members, great reviews, a large audience, this GroupWiseR EMEA Tour event was certainly a very successful start for this new group!

With two big screens on stage the audience really appreciated the great content, delivered by Nat Friedman (USA), Diethmar Rimser (AT), Marc Conradty (DE), Uwe Carsten Krause (DE), Ulrich Neumann (DE) and myself. And yeah, I know, my PDA session was indeed too long again, so stop making jokes about that and help me to pack my stuff, because I need to fly to South Africa tonight. And indeed, while all the G&F members, partners and speakers were still celebrating after their successful day, I was on my way from Frankfurt to Paris to catch the 23:45 Air France flight to Johannesburg, South Africa.

BrainShare Africa - you've never seen anything like it!

If you've ever been to BrainShare in Barcelona or in the USA, you will be amazed when you visit BrainShare Africa. It's truly amazing what this relatively small Novell office has been able to pull together: a real copy of Novell BrainShare at the other side of the world. After a relatively good night in the plane I arrived at Joburg (short for Johannesburg) airport on Friday May 20 at 9:40 AM and after collecting my luggage (two roll-up banners, many magazines, two laptops and some clothes) I was greeted very warmly by our local GroupWiseR contact, Dirk Robinson.

Dirk had been so kind to ask the hotel to have my room available early, so I could take a shower before presenting my session at BrainShare Africa. And yes, I did feel very welcome here; I actually started my session in Dutch, because most South Africans do speak something much like that. But I switched quickly to English, because 60 minutes is very short for me and I did need to present a lot of content. Oh sure, I needed more time, so I used most of the tea break, but people wanted more even after that. Anyway, this single GroupWiseR session went very well and after this full two weeks of GroupWiseR events we certainly could use a break.

How Aldo, Kevin and I end up swinging like crazy, but not in a tree

Imagine Friday night in Joburg, where do you go for some fun? Well, actually, our little group of GroupWiseR partners was very lucky that we had some local partners that brought us to Moyo, a very cool place (on a hot continent) with exceptional food, wine and music.

Live music, delivered by a group of musicians with such exceptional skills as both Aldo Zanoni and I had never heard before. I really felt very, very tired after two weeks on Tour and a pretty bad night in the plane, but the food and the music revived me and I felt the African energy rhythm and flow into me, amazing! And of course, if later in your hotel room you listen to the CD with the same music, the atmosphere has lost its magic and it still sounds very nice, but now there is more distance.

Giving birth to something new?

OK, so what do you do when you can spend a whole weekend in South Africa? Do a little safari, visit some national parks and swim in the hotel pool? Well, no, not in my case, however unfortunate that might seem, I still had another job to do. As you might know, I'm working with Tay Kratzer on the new Novell Press "GroupWise 7 Admin Guide" and I needed to catch up to meet some deadlines.

So, however unlikely it might seem, I spend most of Saturday and Sunday writing some new material and tech-editing some of the other stuff. So am I crazy doing this? To be honest, yes indeed, you've got to be out of your mind to not take the opportunity to have some fun. But I did have fun writing about some of the cool new things in GroupWise 7 Sequoia, so you won't hear me complain: when a man has to do a job, he needs to do his thing, or something much like that.

Paris, Paris, mon amour?

The flight back from Joburg to Paris meant another "good" night sleep in the plane, arriving at 6:15 AM on Charles de Gaulle airport in Paris. After arriving at the hotel I was very lucky to be able to go to my room immediately and refresh myself by taking a shower.

This hotel room actually had a nice surprise for me: there was a wired internet connection! My laptop connected quite well and received an IP number from the DHCP server, but somehow things didn't work quite so well. After fiddling around a bit I called the helpdesk number and after a few minutes I was actually answered by a very nice English gentlemen, based in the UK (oh, the wonders of IP telephony, really cool!) We spend some 15 minutes on the phone, going to all kinds of settings and then I noticed something funny: the IP-number I got from the DHCP server ended in ".0" and that rang a bell: an IP-number ending in ".0" is not "legal" and indeed, after manually changing the number to something else all worked fine and the guy at the other end was relieved.

Arnaud Delin, our French GroupWiseR representative, and Novell France had attracted people from all over France for this GroupWiseR event in Paris and again, it's getting boring, the day was a great success. This was once again an event that was a bit of a victim its own success: too many people in the room, which therefore got a bit warm. But hey, if that's all that goes wrong, not a big deal and we'll do better next year!

After the event I went to Paris Gare du Nord to take the Thalys back home again and after a night sleep in my own bed I will now be headed off to Prague, Czech Republic.

Thanks for your patience in reading this whole story, hope you enjoyed this sharing of the success of GroupWise and GroupWiseR and perhaps we'll meet soon!

Norway - April 11, 2005

GroupWise promotion at its best: the GroupWiseR EMEA Tour started on Monday April 11, in Tromsø, Norway and the Norwegian attendees have experienced it all: GroupWise is certainly alive and kicking!

This first GroupWiseR event has indeed been an interesting experience, the world is really getting smaller: imagine flying from Amsterdam to Oslo in 1 h. 25 min. on your Friday afternoon and when arriving at Gardermoen (Oslo airport) you read a high priority e-mail on your Blackberry: the 3 large boxes with GroupWiseR stuff did not arrive in Tromsø, but are held by Norwegian customs: taxes need to be paid. So in between flights you start calling UPS: "We'll pay and you deliver before Monday, it's that simple!" Well, no, UPS is happy to accept your payment, but they can't ship and deliver before the end of Monday or even early Tuesday. UPS - they really don't make this world much smaller!!!

After much talking, meanwhile walking from one gate to another, the girl at the other end puts me through to her manager and he tells (of course) the same message: we can't deliver, but you can try Jetpak! And yes, they do give you the number of their competitor, so now let's try to call them. But your flight is boarding and your arrival at Tromsø seems to be less rewarding than expected: trouble ahead! However, there is still Patrick Front?ri, our Norwegian super-hero and GroupWiseR representative. One phone call by him in Norwegian is enough: Jetpak will pick up the parcels and deliver them on Saturday in Tromsø. The strength of GroupWise and GroupWiseR shown once again :-)

After arriving in Tromsø there were more challenges (we do not call them "problems", of course): Dell was supposed to deliver 23 new laptops to the NovellForum in Norway, the order has been placed 6 weeks ago, but somehow this shipment has never arrived. And these laptops were needed for the conference and the Tay Kratzer Masterclass workshop on Saturday, so the NovellForum gang, headed by Oivind Ekeberg, has another interesting challenge. They cancelled the Dell order and contacted a local reseller: miraculously, he can deliver 6 ? XCubes! That's of course not exactly the same as 23 laptops and this will not be enough for 10 students, but anything is better than nothing.

However, after delivery around 21:00 we still needed to install the proper OS on these not-so-new p.c.'s and we also needed to upload the VMware images. As you can imagine, this takes some time, also because some network cards drivers did not work properly and one of the p.c.'s did not boot properly: "hmm, what's that? There's no memory, DVD or hard-drive in this machine, not so strange it doesn't work properly"; hence the 6 ? as mentioned above :-)

At 03:15 in the morning a few people of NovellForum were still struggling with these machines, but I needed to deliver a training the next day and I already had fallen asleep behind one of the machines. Next morning during breakfast a few guys were still working on the classroom setup, but just before the training starts we're ready to go: 6 p.c's for 10 eager Norwegian students.

And the nice thing about these Norwegians is: they're so flexible and forgiving. Some of them immediately grab their laptops and upload the VMware images, so we were soon ready to go for the first Tay Kratzer Masterclass ever. Patrick (my Norwegian secret weapon and co-teacher), the students and I have spend a very nice day installing GroupWise on Linux and we finished just before dinner at 20:30 with a very satisfied feeling: another job well done!

Sunday gave us some time to relax and enjoy the beautiful surroundings of Tromsø, which is often called "Paris of the North". This city is situated pretty high in the Northern part of Norway, close to the famous Spitsbergen islands, but in April there's only some snow left in the city at the side of the roads. The pavements are heated with warm water tubes, the sun is shining brightly and the temperature is appr. 5 degrees Celsius. To get the right perspective: the flight from Amsterdam to Oslo takes 1:25, from Oslo to Tromso 1:50, how about that!

The NovellForum started on Sunday with a session by HP and a short intro by Alan Mark, one of the Novell people who travels yearly from Utah for this very special event. Meanwhile the GroupWiseR partners were appearing on the scene as well and soon the exhibition area was filled with bright GroupWise Partner logos: Messaging Architects, Nexic, Toffa, Omni, GWAVA and Teamware were all working happily together and filling half of the exhibition floor, much like a real BrainShare!

The NovellForum is a 4 day event, starting on Sunday with a few opening sessions and a keynote on Monday: I was happily surprised that the GroupWiseR team has been asked to deliver this keynote. And when looking at the many positive response afterwards Patrick and I have struck a chord and we've obviously been able to show the exciting new perspective: GroupWise & Linux could very well become a market leader (also have a look at www.blisscorp.com for more information on this perspective).

During the rest of the Monday one of the two tracks at the NovellForum was filled with GroupWise sessions; these sessions were presented by Patrick, Ulrich Neumann and I and we attracted pretty big crowds. Although I did not understand much Norwegian, during coffee breaks, lunch and dinner the word GroupWise is easily recognizable and heard often and that has always been on of the objectives of GroupWiseR: more noise around GroupWise.

Meanwhile the partners were also getting more and more people at their booths, but the best thing had yet to come: dinner on Monday would be an outside event and at a very special location indeed. Imagine driving into a snow area with this big group and all of us changing into polar resistant clothes, after which we boarded our dog sled. Some of us, like Mark Beermann (TMA), were even allowed to be in the driver's seat, or really, driver stand. And after that ride we all entered our Lapland tent and eat a stew of reindeer meat, carrots and beetroots: such a simple dinner has never tasted more wonderful then after an evening in the snow.

Home-made chocolate cake and coffee after dinner, meanwhile talking to your Norwegian fellow attendees: that's a story to tell back home for Aldo Zanoni (Omni), who flew in from Canada (!) for this event, and Angela Williams (Nexic) from Utah, USA (!). Jay Wood (Toffa, UK), Erik Anderson (Teamware, SE) and Ingo Hasenclever (GWAVA, DE) joined us for a group picture and I think all of us felt the same way: this was indeed a very special moment at a very special place: the GroupWiseR EMEA Tour has truly started at the most Northern point we will visit; let's see if other exotic locations like Bad Homburg (DE), Ede (NL) or Johannesburg (ZA) can compete with this great experience.

On Tuesday we had another opportunity to discuss GroupWise with the Novellforum attendees and at during the day most GroupWiseR people packed their bags and traveled elsewhere; this message was created in the plane from Oslo to London. However, this experience will not be forgotten easily and on behalf of all of us we would like to thank Oivind Ekeberg and his great NovellForum crew for their kind hospitality: we hope they enjoyed our presence, we certainly liked your event, hope and expect to CU next year!

I hope to see you soon again at one of our events during the Tour or at the GroupWise EMEA Summit: we seem to be able to accomplish our goals and get more noise around GroupWise: please keep up the good work and help GroupWiseR to take another step forward.

Kindest regards,

ir. Erno de Korte
MCNE/MCNI/MCSE/MCT

The GroupWiseR EMEA Tour:

Location Date
Norway Monday April 11
Austria Tuesday May 10
United Kingdom Thursday May 12
Nederland Tuesday May 17
Germany Thursday May 19
South Africa Thursday May 19 & Friday May 20
France Tuesday May 24
Czech Republic Thursday May 26
Finland Tuesday May 31
Sweden Wednesday June 1
Denmark Friday June 3
Poland Thursday June 9
Middle East no date yet


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