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GroupWise Isn't Just E-Mail; It's a Launchpad

Novell Cool Solutions: Feature

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Posted: 15 Mar 2000
 

You know, most people like GroupWise. They like the easy-to-use e-mail, the nice address book, and the handy calendar. Some users even take advantage of really cool stuff like the Document Library, Rules, and Conversation Place. But really, that's all basic GroupWise stuff. With a little help from a capable partner, GroupWise can do so much more. Stuff like record keeping, common calendaring, and Contact Management.

Have you ever wondered how you could easily manage details of your relationships with contacts, clients, associates and other VIPs in your life? Have you ever wanted to keep a "JOURNAL" of all the e-mail, calendar events, phone calls, relationships, critical data and demographics relating to key contacts or accounts in your address book? What's more, have you ever wanted to allow your whole team to manage and track this information from a common database?

Of course you have. Everyone has. Law offices call this Matter Management. Marketing and Support aficionados refer to Customer Relationship Management (or CRM). Sales organizations use the buzzwords Contact Relationship Management or Sales Force Automation (or SFA). Everyone has an angle. Around here, we prefer to call it GroupWise on Steroids.

Hey! --- think about it. You've got GroupWise ---- the most powerful out-of-the-box groupware solution on the planet. Now all you need to do is spice it up a bit with a Cool Solution and --- voila! - you're tracking more CRM information than the CIA.

The Big Application in the Big Apple

Even if you haven't been there before we're sure you've seen photos - and movies and TV shows --- of New York City. You've at least seen Seinfeld - so you know what we're talking about when we say, "It's big - really big". Keeping track of all the information that makes New York City click is also big. That's what the New York City Council does - keeping track of big city meetings, big city people, big city stuff. And what do members of the staff at the New York City Council use to help it keep track of big city stuff? ---- GroupWise, of course.

For several years, the New York City Council (NYCC) has used GroupWise as a powerful e-mail and calendaring system. In early 1999 the I.S. department at the NYCC was requested to enhance GroupWise to help it manage the flood of contact and project information it deals with. In a nutshell - the NYCC needed to expand GroupWise to become a full-fledged contact relationship management system. Upon receiving this request, the I.S. folks at NYCC conducted research of the industry, and learned that ContactWise(tm) from GroupLink(tm) is not only an outstanding solution - but it is also tied tightly with GroupWise 5.x.

In early 1999 the NYCC added the following ContactWise benefits to some of its GroupWise users:

  • MANAGE shared contact database / extended address book.
  • ASSOCIATE COMPANY / ORGANIZATION relationship for each contact
  • RECORD virtually unlimited address book information* for each contact / company / record (see more detail below *)
  • COMPILE critical data * for each contact / company / record (see more detail below *)
  • GROUP Contacts / Company / Records for batch mail export / merge
  • TRACK Detailed Shared HISTORY for each Contact / Project (see more detail below *)
  • FILTER / QUERY contact / company records based on multiple search criteria
  • EXPORT / MERGE contact / company information to form letters, templates or reports.
  • GROUP contact / company records into logical sets and subsets (see more detail below *)
  • SCHEDULE Call Backs, Appointments, Tasks, linked with the contact / record, using the GroupWise Calendar (see more about the cool calendar stuff below)

A Second Helping of the Big Apple, Please

At first, the NYCC started small, with just a handful of their GroupWise users also using ContactWise. Then, in December 1999 shortly after the release of ContactWise version 4.6, the NYCC installed additional ContactWise licenses to their GroupWise system. As the benefits grow from using GroupWise and ContactWise, future additions of licenses are also being discussed. Some of the added functions and benefits which the NYCC may take advantage of in the future include:
  • E-MAIL DIRECTLY from the GroupWise mail interface, and use "Sent Items" folder contents to update HISTORY for each contact to which e-mail was sent.
  • CATEGORIZE CALENDAR EVENTS (Call Backs, Appointments, Tasks, Notes) by contact.
  • "LOOK UP" from CUSTOM FIELD content in ADDRESS BOOK, rather than just on contact name (e.g., look up contact / record based on PROJECT # or MATTER #).

Power User and / or Lite User

Not only can a hand-picked portion of GroupWise users organize themselves to share this kind of critical data with each other - but they can also share a subset of the data with every other GroupWise user at the site. By implementing the full ContactWise product on the power users' workstations, and the scaled-back version ("ContactWise Lite") on the remainder of the GroupWise workstations, they can all share the same "lite" contact relationship information (address book information, notes and limited custom fields) while allowing only the real power users to work with the heavy duty details.

Try it Out

ContactWise is one of several Cool Solutions from GroupLink. ContactWise was first introduced in 1997, and is currently used by GroupWise users in the U.S. and internationally (currently only an English version is available). ContactWise is used by many types of organizations and companies --- including law offices, banks, industrial companies, sales organizations, governments, schools, professional services, etc.. Comments from other ContactWise users include:
" ... Great to have all this information shared and integrated with GroupWise." (President, Computer Services)
" ... A better way to use GroupWise 5.5 to manage our workflow and reduce costs." (IT Supervisor, Manufacturer)
" ... Helps alleviate the support burden associated with the ... address book ..." (Developer, Systems Engineering Company)
" ...National database to generate detail and summarize management reports." (MIS Director, Consumer Products Company)
" ... [More than] the capabilities of what's available - to some degree - of Exchange [and Outlook], but ... with GroupWise and its lower management and user costs." (Network Administrator, Media / Communications Company)

Marc Eiseman, an expert GroupWise consultant and trainer from New York City, has consulted for GroupWise implementations throughout the U.S., and endorses the use of ContactWise. "Not all GroupWise users need the full power of ContactWise. But if a company needs Contact Relationship Management tied with GroupWise, ContactWise is by far the best solution". Mr. Eiseman is a partner with INET Consulting Group in New York City and Long Island. He continues, "GroupWise users can get tremendous benefits from adding the ContactWise features. What's even better is the cost --- Some companies get payback in less than a month."

A copy of the ContactWise can be downloaded for a 30 day evaluation from GroupLink's website. After 30 days of using the real thing it changes into perpetual trialware (single user license, preserving all your data) of the lite version until a license is acquired. If you're looking for a way to juice up your GroupWise system, you might try calling these GroupLink guys.

GroupWise - The Powerful GroupWare Platform

GroupWise is the most capable off-the-shelf groupware solution available. Out of the box GroupWise does more than any other commercially available groupware system. Some of these features include: e-mail management; calendaring; scheduling; task management; document management; and plug-ins for faxing and imaging.

In addition to providing these desktop productivity applications, GroupWise can also act as an "umbrella" under which various business processes can be tied together and share a common calendar, common messaging, and sometimes common data and references. Novell has designed GroupWise and the GroupWise APIs (Application Programming Interfaces) to allow for powerful and strategic integration with other business processes that users want to be included under the GroupWise "umbrella."

Business Process Automation with GroupWise
More and more GroupWise users are realizing that they can add additional business processes to their powerful GroupWise "umbrella"-business processes that currently are not part of GroupWise functionality. Examples of common Business Processes which lend themselves to GroupWise Based automation include, for example:

  • Customer Relationship Management (CRM) System
  • Purchase Requisition / Order Management System
  • Security Access Approval / Management System
  • Customer Service Request / Tracking System (e.g. Help Desk)
  • Human Resource Benefits / Tracking System
  • Time Card Management System
  • Travel Requisition System
  • Project / Product Management System
  • Collaborative Design
  • Work Orders
  • Expense Reports
  • Other Business Processes

GroupWise-Enable your Business Processes
Advanced GroupWise users are realizing that, if they automate (operate on) their business processes under the GroupWise "umbrella," they can then start to take advantage of the following kinds of benefits:

  • Common desktop interface (e.g., GroupWise toolbar)
    • Drop Down Menus
    • Toolbar "buttons"
    • And more
  • Common calendar --- Non-GroupWise events can be processed using GroupWise's
    • To-Dos
    • Appointments
    • Tasks
    • Call - Back reminders
    • GroupWise Notify (for alarms)
    • And more
  • Common messaging system
    • Non-GroupWise business process trigger e-mail notices
    • Non-GroupWise events get processed according to GroupWise rules
    • Non-GroupWise events get managed in GroupWise folders
    • And more

Detailed Contact Management Benefits using GroupWise with ContactWise

Here are some of the really cool things you can do with Contact-Management-wise using ContactWise from GroupLink, a very cool Novell partner:
  • MANAGE shared contact database / extended address book
  • ASSOCIATE COMPANY / ORGANIZATION relationship for each contact
  • RECORD virtually unlimited address book information* for each contact / company / record
    • addresses
    • phone numbers
    • e-mail addresses
  • COMPILE critical data * for each contact / company / record
    • General contact Notes
    • Contact / Company / Record Properties (for example):
      • Title
      • Department
      • Assistant
      • Referred by
      • Contact Type
      • Status
      • Account ID
      • Matter Number
      • Project Number
      • Date fields
      • Financial Information
      • Forecast Information
      • Virtually unlimited Custom Fields
  • GROUP Contacts / Company / Records for batch mail export / merge
  • TRACK Detailed Shared HISTORY for each Contact / Project
    • Phone calls received (date, duration, by whom)
    • Phone calls made (date, duration, by whom)
    • Notes made (date, by whom)
    • e-mails received (date, by whom)
    • e-mails sent (date, by whom)
    • FILTER / QUERY contact / company records based on multiple search criteria
    • EXPORT / MERGE contact / company information to form letters, templates or reports.
  • GROUP contact / company records into logical sets and subsets
    • Contact or company records can have a many - to - many relationship with GROUPS)
    • For example --- users can have a group titled "Contacts created by "
  • SCHEDULE Call Backs, Appointments, Tasks

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