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A Grass Roots Strategy for Upgrading or Migrating to GroupWise 5

Novell Cool Solutions: Feature
By Susan Salgy

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Posted: 3 Jun 1999

GroupWise 5 has been out for some time now, and we had begun to assume all of you have it. Not so, it seems. As many of you have written, there are plenty of wannabe GW5 users reading our magazine and getting hungry for the good stuff. And as you may have learned, the trick to getting the good stuff is in knowing how (and who) to ask.

So here are some thoughts on persuading the powers-that-be in your company to upgrade (move from an older version of GroupWise) or migrate (move from another e-mail product) to GroupWise 5. (Terminology alert: we will maintain this distinction between upgrading and migrating throughout our documentation, because it is, well, correct and useful. For reasons unfathomable to writers, this distinction was lost in an earlier version of GroupWise, when the interface text began using the term “migration” to mean both things. So don’t be confused when the Admin program asks you to Migrate from 4.1 to 5.1. That is an upgrade, for those in the know.) We call it a grass-roots strategy, because it is for people whose bosses and administrators, for reasons that probably made sense at one time, have resisted the move. In which case, it’s going to have to start with you, the grass-roots end-user, rather than with the system administrator or the folks on the upper levels of the org chart.

Here are a couple of typical letters:

Gary M.: Was asking the Computer center boss about sharing Novell training cost and mentioned GroupWise as an example. His answer “Gary, we don't use GroupWise. I don't know why you continue to use this. In early days you needed mail. Why don't you standardize on Eudora for mail?” I could say a few things about shared files and all, but I will probably miss something important  like voice mail. What kind of an answer can you give me?


Hays H.: I work in New Orleans. We use an older version of GroupWise. How do I get our office automation people to upgrade(Editor’s note: Good job using the Upgrade word, Hays.)? They do a fine job but they are so overworked and there are so many of us.

These kinds of letters really get to us, children of the sixties for whom teaching the world to sing in perfect harmony still is, we’re not ashamed to say, more than just a Coke commercial. What you’re both asking for is more connection. More power to share your ideas, more access to the world community. This is a John Lennon vision, isn’t it? Only John didn’t know about the Internet. So he sang “Imagine” and sold billions of copies, and three decades of imagining later, here we all are with the ultimate connector: GroupWise 5. John would have been proud.

In fact, and we’re not the first to notice, it’s no surprise that e-mail was invented by and for flower children like us, who started out sharing peace and love, and ended up sharing stock tips and Dilbert jokes. It’s beautiful, now isn’t it, how one thing leads to the next, and time keeps on slippin, slippin, and before you know it yin meets yang by the Coke machine in the break room. And now here you both are, wanting to embrace the full GroupWise vision of electronic brotherhood, as described in this magazine, and yet not knowing quite how to ask for it without sounding insensitive and greedy in these down-sized times.

These are the kinds of letters that cause us to brood on the great GroupWise imponderable: Which came first: the administrator or the user? A question which, you can be sure, has inspired many a marketing debate. And how it usually falls out is, groupware marketers put all their buck-banging, jump-starting, down-drilling energy into getting the attention of the traditional decision makers in an organization. And there’s no question where they’re aiming: dead square at the administrator. The chicken, with all due respect, in our paradox.

But we prefer to focus on the power of the egg, without whom there would be, let’s face it, no more chickens. This is the time, Hays, and Gary, and all of you would-be GroupWisers, suppressed by a few reluctant, unreconstructed administrators, to rally the power of the people. They have to pay attention to you; you are the ones spinning straw into gold, and if you believe you can spin faster with a little software support, they’ll listen.

Write a cool proposal
If there are so many of you and so few of them, roll up your sleeves, doggone it, and make it happen. First, get to work by gathering information. (Like writing to us. Well done.) Doing this kind of research will not only demonstrate the commitment of the workforce, it will help you assemble all of the answers to the questions that will inevitably follow any suggestion of change. Next, get a couple of workgroups to volunteer to pilot the new system. Live bodies, plus home-grown data, plus anecdotal evidence about how GroupWise has changed your lives is a potent combination. And most of all, once you’ve got all this data, don’t forget the influence of a well-written Productivity Enhancement Proposal on senior management. Who are, after all, the people who own the henhouse.

These upper-management folks are your most likely target for such a proposal, since they have the big picture, and they really like to discover things that make the picture even bigger. In fact, if you can outline the actual benefits you expect to realize from upgrading, they will likely move you many positions ahead in the budget line (right behind the Christmas turkeys).  This section, the productivity analysis, is where you make the vision of GroupWise real for your managers. So make it solid, make it sing, and don’t forget to spell check.

The system administrators, on the other hand, are not terribly concerned with productivity and how it maps to improved cost/benefit ratios. All they really care about is smooth, grief-free operation. And although they aren’t always the final decision-makers, they are always a key influencer in this kind of decision. So even if it promises to give a great return, they’ll lobby against it if it is too hard to install, maintain, and troubleshoot. What the administrators will need to see in your proposal is a list of system requirements, a document that helps them plan their system, a set of resources to support them as they configure their system, and the sense that they will be heros on both sides (henhouse owners and eggs alike) if they can make this happen quickly and smoothly.

The three big questions, and how to answer them
The people who make the buying decisions tend to be very predictable on this subject. They have three core questions:1) How much does it cost? 2) How much does it hurt? 3) Why should I? If you can answer these questions up front in your proposal, you’ve got a real good shot at a grass-roots upgrade. Here’s what you should cover in your proposal:

1) How much does it cost?
The two big factors here are: software licenses and hardware requirements. GroupWise is sold on a per-mailbox basis, so you have to buy a license for each separate user on your system. (But you can use any Client you want with that license, from Win95 to Macintosh to UNIX to WebAccess, without any further charge.) For information about the licensing programs, check out the Novell Customer Connections information at

The hardware requirements need to be factored into the cost equation. Depending on the size and configuration of your system, you may need to buy additional hardware to make GroupWise 5 ubiquitous in your company. For a table outlining all the variables, check the Installation Guide ( Look under Summary of Requirements for a Basic GroupWise System.

2) How much does it hurt?
Depending on how much older your current version of GroupWise is, it could hurt a little, or it could hurt a lot. If you are using GroupWise 4.1, you are in luck. The upgrade from 4 to 5 is pretty easy, and the soon-to-be-released Migration Guide (this is one of those times when Migration should be taken to mean both upgrading and migrating) will step you through the whole process. If you are using GroupWise 3.1, you’re in for a fair bit of pain. It turns out you can’t get here from there. At least not directly. You have to leapfrog from 3.1 to 4.1, and then move up to 5.1. The code bases are so dramatically different, there is really no slick way to jump from 3 to 5 in one fell swoop. (If you are leapfrogging, the pain will all be suffered by the administrator. Another reason to get them to buy into the decision.)

If this is the case, you should consider doing a brand-new installation. Which means, you’d just get the GroupWise 5 CD, install it, and create new post offices and domains all around, complete with spanking new Mailboxes for everyone. This is really pretty easy for the administrator. The pain here is suffered more by the users, who will lose all of the stuff they’ve been squirreling away in their In and Out Boxes for all these years. But lots of people have done this kind of complete re-installation, and lived to tell about it. There are many tears shed over losing sentimental piles of old e-mail, rules, and macros, but in the end everyone will feel it was worth it to be brought to life in the new world of GroupWise 5, complete with shared folders, Internet capabilities, and all the rest. All the users may not admit it right away, but as soon as they chime in with their first discussion thread, or access their Mailbox from the Internet without leaving the public library, they’ll be worshiping you for getting it up and running for them.

So yeah, it’ll take some doing, and you may have to clean out your old e-mail earlier than you had expected. But once it’s installed, it isn’t too hard to maintain and troubleshoot. Remember to think like an administrator when you are preparing this part of your proposal. Administrators are most interested in reducing the grief they will have to endure in any process. Sounds reasonable to us. That’s why we have gathered such an array of resources to help them at every turn. Tell them if they stick with us from the planning stages through the total implementation, they can’t go wrong.

Here are some of the things we provide for system administrators:

Online Help for administrators --
The online Help that appears from within the Admin program offers task-specific documentation that supports all of the features and tasks of GroupWise system administration. It features hot-spotted system diagrams, and its innovative print-sequences allow you to print out all of the information about a complex task, even if it appears in multiple Help topics.

Online (Printable) Manuals
This is themother lode for any GroupWise system administrator. This is a series of HTML manuals that walk them through all the tasks they’ll ever do, including planning, installation, migration (and upgrading, of course), expansion, and maintenance.

Cool Solutions: Admin information
Every week, we answer a fresh batch of questions from real administrators who are doing the same tasks you’ll have to do. Check in for answers like these:

Ed K., Fresno, California, USA wrote: I'm currently working on a project that involves migrating(Editor’s note: He means Upgrading) 200 users from an Office 4.0a e-mail system to Groupwise 5.1. Do I have to first upgrade (Editor’s note: Trés bien.) to GroupWise 4.1 or can I migrate (Editor’s note: Upgrade. See how confusing this is?)straight to v5.1?

Yes, you can go straight to 5.1 from 4.0a.

Walt M., Golden, Colorado, USA, wrote:  I am an administrator for Jefferson County in Golden, Colorado. We currently have a GroupWise 4.1 system. Can you give me any ideas on migrating (Editor’s note: yadda, yadda....) to GroupWise 5.1? I know there is a migration utility but we're thinking of setting up a separate GroupWise 5.1 system and linking to our 4.1 system. Any suggestions on where I might find information on this subject? Is this a practical way of implementing a new system? I was planning to eventually move my users off of the 4.1 system to the new 5.1.

There are three possible scenarios:
1) Install a GroupWise 5.1 system and connect the existing 4.1 system via external domains. The steps for accomplishing this connection are explained in TID 2918356 available from the Novell GroupWise Support connection.

2) Install a new GroupWise 5.1 system, then upgrade your existing 4.1 system to it one domain and one post office at a time. The steps for upgrading are included in the GroupWise Admin Help file. To access the file, mount the GroupWise 5 CD, then open GWINSAUS.HLP. Click How Do I > Migrate to GroupWise 5 (Editor’s note: Steady now. We warned you this would be wrong...).

Once the first GroupWise 4.1 domain and post office are converted to GroupWise 5, these upgraded components can still communicate with un-upgraded GroupWise 4.1 domains and post offices. The upgrading can be gradually phased in.

Additional help for upgrading from 4.1 to 5.1 will be available soon on the Worldwide Web as one of the GroupWise 5.1 Administration Guides. Look for it at

3) Install GroupWise 5.1, then upgrade your GroupWise 4.1 system to GroupWise 5.1. The steps to accomplish this are nearly identical to Scenario 2, but instead of creating a small GroupWise 5.1 test system first, you simply install GW51 software and convert your 4.1 system to 5.1. (Information for this kind of upgrade can be found at the same sources as Scenario 2.)

How we help train the users:
Not only do we support administrators, we provide a lot of helps for users of all levels of experience. This is typically a big relief for administrators, so be sure to include it in your proposal. They are often in charge of training the users on their system, and the stuff we offer will make this a piece of cake for them.

3) Why should I?
There are some pretty impressive results rolling in from field testing that predict solid and immediate and sustained returns from the GroupWise investment. A good strategy is to work from this data, but plug in actuals from your own business.

Here are a handful of typical gain areas to get you thinking: headcount savings; increased feasibility of teleworking; Internet access; productivity gains per employee; optimization of work processes; enhanced customer service; tighter task management. Do some thinking about how your workgroup would use, say,shared folders, to reduce the turnaround time of processing and filling orders. Think about how you would set up a teleworking program if people could useWebAccess to get into their mailboxes. Think about the accessibility you’d all have to documents in a DMS library, and how you could have the whole team working on the same bid without overwriting each other’s work, and getting it all done in parallel rather than serial fashion, ahead of deadline. Think how long it takes your secretary to schedule twenty people for a meeting, and then factor in the GroupWise goodies like Busy Search, Auto-Date, scheduling resources, setting alarms, accepting/declining with comment, and Resend.

Your team’s brainstorming, and any pilot studies you can organize, will help you identify specific benefits for your company. Another good piece for your proposal is this interesting study that shows GroupWise’s superior return on investment (ROI) as revealed in a survey of 103 global organizations that use groupware products.

GroupWise Tops Microsoft,
Lotus GroupWare Products in ROI
An independent studyrecently proved GroupWise offers businesses significantly greater return on investment than Lotus Notes and Microsoft Exchange. The study conducted by Creative Networks, an independent research firm based in Palo Alto, California, concluded that GroupWise saves $469 more in time per employee, per year than the Lotus and Microsoft products. Overall, study results show GroupWise provides six times more in productivity gains, significantly lower cost of ownership, and superior ease of use. A white paper detailing the findings of the Creative Networks study is available. The results of the study are based on survey responses by 103 global organizations that are using Novell GroupWise, Lotus Notes and/or Microsoft Exchange.

That should be enough to get you started. Get busy, and drop us a line and let us know how you did. We’d love a copy of your proposal, once you get it done. Sheesh, that’s got to be worth a pretty hot prize. Too bad John Lennon is gone. He’d probably be a GroupWise junky, and we could get him to, say, sign a t-shirt for you or something. Imagine that.

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