I’ve had a couple of people ask me why we are doing a Conferencing product under the Novell banner. Rather than try to answer such an open ended question, I turn it around and ask how they mean the question. The responses are both consistent and interesting.
First there is an initial belief that this marketplace is already saturated and that there really isn’t room for new players. So, who are the market players do you think, I ask. While I do hear Huddle, Elluminate, SharePoint (really?) amongst others, the 800lb gorilla answer is WebEx and the second biggest gorilla is Citrix. This is fascinating because they could not be more different.
When I query what people like about WebEx, sometimes they don’t even mean WebEx the product, they mean WebEx the concept, and often other products are called WebEx even when they aren’t. WebEx is noun as well as a proper name. What do they like? Efficient delivery to a very large audience of one way content with minimal setup hassles and no ugly client setup. What don’t they like? Client setup for viewers and the cost. So if you could do something different that was less expensive for this purpose, would you? The average response is maybe, but changing would be hard.
When I ask about Citrix, the answers are more diverse, given the prodigious family of GoTo Something offerings the company offers. Only GoToMeeting comes up in the context of a “WebEx”. The other offerings are much more used in the fashion of 1:1 even if they are capable of more. What do people like? Ease of setup, speed to operate and efficiency of operation. What don’t they like? The cost, and the confusion because of the number of seemingly similar offerings.
So then I ask, what do you need? The responses are telling. Cheap. Fast. No attendee client. Cheap. Launch it right now capability to a small to mid sized audience. Cheap. Audio. Video. Have I said cheap?
Now marketing professionals hate the word cheap because it has negative connotations, somewhat akin to the Canal Street Rolex. So let’s go with cost effective.
We recently released Novell Conferencing. You may not have heard a lot about it, and if so, that’s a real shame because for what it does, it’s an incredible offering. What it does is enable customers to do really fast conferences with desktop sharing, presentation sharing, audio and video for substantially less than what the alternatives can do. Oh and whiteboarding, session recording and a bunch of other useful functions. If you are the presenter, there’s an agent you run to control what gets shared. If you are the viewer, you need an internet connection and a browser. When I said Internet connection I meant port 80, regular http, no odd pokeholes in the firewall and not some random high range port you’ll have to open and forget about leaving the doors open to all manner of rogues and malcontents.
If you’ve ever used the very good Elluminate or Huddle, you know that there is configuration required and that if you get it wrong, stuff doesn’t work. Novell Conferencing is so simple, you really have to work at it to break it. Now while I won’t underestimate the breakage capability of some folks who can disrupt the kitchen microwave, in general simple is effective.
So whether Novell employee, partner, customer or prospect, when next you think WebEx or whatever you call it, instead think Conferencing. If your use case is fast, effective, no config and oh yeah cost effective, this might be exactly what you are looking for. Look back in this post and what we see is that there is a real market demand for ad-hoc, right now, prep-light, easy to use, easy to view Conferencing that doesn’t cost an arm and a leg, or require the neverending subscription or charges of between .10 and .24 PER MINUTE PER ATTENDEE. How very fortunate that Novell Conferencing fills that requirement.
Until next time, peace.
PS: In my post about using ZENworks Application Virtualization to deploy Office 2010, I was chastised in another blogger’s work for “trying to sell Novell products.” Yes. I am. I think Novell is the Best Software Company in the World. Anyone who heard me on Tim’s Americas All Hands early this fiscal knows that I do say this. And yes, while I hope that readers find these posts informative and maybe even funny from time to time, my motive is to encourage people to become customers and buy our software. I’ll be so forward as to say it is my fervent wish that we generate tons of revenue and plenty of profit from each sale. Doing so means we get to keep building great products for customers and makes our company rewarding to shareholders and employees. Oh and any commercial enterprise software company that says they are not interested in profitability or revenue, is, what’s the word? Oh yeah lying. So yes you know who you are, I do want folks to buy our great products. Thanks for the coverage and the publicity.