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Eight Cool Years

Novell Cool Solutions: Feature
By Susan Salgy

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Updated: 30 Mar 2005
 

We are proud to announce that Novell Cool Solutions is celebrating its eighth anniversary on 15 December (amazing how time flies when you're typing). On 15 December 1996, Doug Anderson, Mark Talbot and I (then on the GroupWise documentation team) pushed out the first issue of GroupWise Cool Solutions (aka GWMAG) from the basement of Building F of the WordPerfect campus in Orem, Utah, and wondered if anyone would ever read it. To our astonishment, the next morning we found 9-10 emails in our new GWMAG mailbox, and we were off and running, researching and posting answers to the queries we received.

Snapshots

See Cool Solutions Online Magazine Keeps You Current on GroupWise 5 to see how we looked in 1997.


See An Updated Look at the GroupWise Cool Solutions Site to see how we looked in 1999.

See Cool Solutions Communities: Breeding Like Rabbits to see how we looked in 2001.

It was incredibly helpful to us as a documentation team, since it gave us unprecedented opportunities to fill the information needs of our customers. It also proved to be an invaluable resource for the GroupWise engineering and marketing teams, who quickly recognized the enormous potential Cool Solutions offered as a customer research tool. (As one GroupWise Calendar engineer told us, "Without Cool Solutions, I was designing in the dark. With Cool Solutions, I feel like I know exactly what the customers need.") We began conducting surveys for the marketing teams within three months of our launch, and found ourselves right at home there, leading to the eventual transfer of Cool Solutions from the Documentation department to Product Marketing. Since that time our readers have had a tremendous influence on the development of many of Novell's award-winning products.

Our readership grew from 1500 page views for GWMAG that first month, to nearly a million page views per month today across all our trademark Cool Solutions sites supporting all of Novell's major products.

As the site grew in popularity, we found an increasing number of emails that contained answers rather than questions, and this created a fundamental shift in direction on our site. Rather than continuing to build Cool Solutions as a web magazine written by Novell writers for Novell customers, we transformed Cool Solutions into a web community where users in the trenches could share their experiences, ideas, tips, tools, and even frustrations. And boy, are we glad we did. This has given us an unbelievable wealth of information that simply could not have been possible any other way.

Over the years we've developed an extremely loyal core of readers and contributors who have built Cool Solutions into the second most popular content set at Novell.com (TIDs are #1). In fact, we've given away more than 3000 prizes to contributors to date, and have just about gotten to the 1000 mark in the Cool Tools collection. And over the years we've received hundreds of very gratifying emails letting us know how a particular article or tool was perfect for saving time, or money, or sometimes even your job (seriously!).

Honoring our Cool Contributors

We decided that the best way to celebrate our first eight years was to honor the folks who wrote the stuff that makes us famous. We conducted the first annual Cool Solutions People's Choice Awards program to find out which tools and articles were considered to be the most helpful by our readers. Come see the top nominees, and cast your vote for your favorite.


Novell Cool Solutions (corporate web communities) are produced by WebWise Solutions. www.webwiseone.com

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