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German Television and Radio Broadcasting Company looks to extend GroupWise Client

Novell Cool Solutions: Feature
By Advansys

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Posted: 20 Sep 2005

Restricting features and adding integration with external databases a high priority.


For large and small companies alike, the tasks of maximizing return on investment and increasing efficiency are on top of the priority list. Hessischer Rundfunk, or hr, a radio and TV broadcasting company from Germany, is no different. Specifically, hr is concerned about maximizing the return on investment of their IT infrastructure and providing solutions that exploit efficiency.

hr has 3500 GroupWise users spread over 8 Post-Offices and 3 Gateways. Ralf Faude, a Network Administrator from hr, says that they handle about 30,000 external emails a day. This high volume of email use makes it very important to ensure that hr employees are efficiently using email to further hr success.


There were three general issues that Faude and hr wanted to resolve. The first issue dealt with finding a solution that would allow them to customize GroupWise so that everyday tasks could be accomplished with just a few clicks inside GroupWise. Some of these tasks included:

  • Block Rule Creation - Catch a GroupWise event to suppress the rule dialog and show our own dialog to create or delete the vacation rule.
  • Block Creation - Suppress creation of appointments, notes, jobs.
  • Mail System Check - Send an email to a special mailbox in every Post-Office within the company. Each target mailbox has an automatic reply rule. With two clicks a complete mail system check is done.
  • Emoticons for GroupWise - Create and use emoticons in emails.
  • Fax Journal - Create a daily fax summary in GroupWise of how many and to whom faxes were sent.
  • Fax Resend - Resend failed faxes automatically through GroupWise.
  • Logo/Signature - Signature integration with logos and web links for different radio frequencies.
  • Delegation from Resource - Delegate an email without losing sender information. The Formativ Applet GroupWise reads sender information, delegates the email and includes the information in the body text.

The second issue to be resolved was finding a solution that integrated GroupWise with hr's databases. They wanted to find a way to extract information found in GroupWise and deposit it in a

database. They also needed to take information in a database and use it for emails and newsletters in GroupWise. Specifically, they were looking for the following solutions:

  • Personalized Newsletter - Connect GroupWise to a MS-Access database and read sender information of an email address from the database and create a personalized email.
  • Extract Email Information - Extract Body, Sender, Time, Date, etc. and export it to Excel
  • Catch Email - Catch specific email in a special mailbox and enable GroupWise to store the text file attachments in a pre-defined location, from where the video-text system reads the text file to display them direct on TV.

Lastly, hr needed a solution that made the process of customizing GroupWise quick, easy, and affordable. They wanted a way to create custom applets without having to outsource to a third party or purchase new software.


Ralf Faude attended a Novell BrainShare session to learn how his company could solve the issues stated above. The first session he went to provided one option that was available. The session covered the process of learning how to write Custom Third Party Objects (C3POs) to add functions to GroupWise.

After the session, Faude went to the BrainShare Tech Lab to test some of the things he learned from the session. While in the lab he met a representative from Advansys. During this meeting, Faude learned of a second option - Formativ. Formativ was a product that gave users the ability to extend GroupWise very easily.

Why Not Other(s)

hr decided to pursue the Formativ solution. Although the C3PO option would have allowed hr to customize GroupWise, Formativ was a very easy and quick solution that met hr's needs exactly.

Why Formativ

hr chose Formativ because it solves their problems. First, Formativ gives users the unique ability to quickly and easily extend their GroupWise client. Users are able to record a new applet with a simple point and click. This same 'point and click' philosophy is carried over into new toolbar button creation. Formativ offers hundreds of button icons and allows the user to define when and where the button appears. Lastly, Formativ uses the Novell eDirectory to manage the solutions. Users can use the eDirectory to define who receives the applet solution and quickly disperse it for use. This process allows hr to quickly create applet solutions on a need by need basis, helping their employees decrease time spent on everyday activities.

Using the above process, Formativ also allows GroupWise administrators to integrate GroupWise with other applications including company databases. Administrators can use Formativ to define the process by which users take email information and store it in databases. This can be used to link correspondence to customer databases, link email header information that will define a newsletter recipient list, and extract email information to a database from which reports can be generated. With this capability, hr employees don't have to manually count and tabulate information, allowing them to spend time on more important tasks.

Lastly, Formativ gives hr the ability to do all of the above without having to outsource or buy new software. With minimal training Faude was able to become proficient and use the software immediately. Formativ's ability to make code writing quick and easy saves hr time and money.


After deciding to move forward with Formativ, hr purchased 3000 Formativ Runtime licenses and 25 Formativ Studio licenses. The Runtime licenses allowed the users to use the applet solutions, while the Studio licenses allowed hr GroupWise administrators to write and manage the applet solutions. The deployment of the software was done quickly and transparently. As soon as the first solution was written using the development tools, Faude used the eDirectory to disperse it to users. In a matter minutes, all 3000 users were able to take immediate advantage of its usability.

Ralf Faude and his colleagues were soon able to use Formativ to solve the specific issues. By using the development tools and wizards, Faude was able to create solutions for all of the following:

  • Block Rule Creation
  • Fax Journal
  • Fax Resent
  • Personalized Newsletter
  • Block Creation
  • Logo/Signature
  • Delegation from Resource
  • Extract Email Information
  • Catch Email
  • Email System Check
  • Emoticons for GroupWise

Current Attitudes and Changes

Without a doubt, hr is very pleased with the success of Formativ. hr employees find that they are able to save a tremendous amount of time by using the Formativ solutions created by Faude. They find it convenient that they save time on so many different tasks from email response, to report creation, to calendar management. Management, likewise, echoes the excitement of employees. Formativ provides avenues through which hr management can maximize use and ROI on GroupWise and other IT infrastructure. Additionally, Formativ applet solutions help their employees work quicker and more efficiently.

Moving Forward

hr continues to use Formativ as their solution to maximizing ROI and increasing efficiency. They look forward to the new solutions that they will create to increase performance in whatever way possible.

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