Not all collaboration suites deliver equal performance, ease-of-use, and security. But there are more than just three factors to consider when selecting a platform to base your team’s work around. Here are the questions and answers any decision maker should know about Novell collaboration before making their final selection.
1. How do I know your software will be supported in the future?
One of the challenges with jumping on the latest software bandwagon is when a company suddenly disappears. Maybe they’ve been purchased by a bigger company and their software will be folded into that company’s other offers. Or maybe they simply failed to monetize and couldn’t stay in business.
Every company eventually faces these are the kinds of challenges, but many don’t cope well with the change that these circumstances bring.
In tech, this happens all the time. Even “media darling” companies find themselves shutting their doors all too frequently, leaving their users wondering what they’ll do now.
If you’re working on a small team, this doesn’t really matter. But organizations with dozens, hundreds, or even thousands of workers can’t afford the downtime and expense of a sudden migration simply because a software vendor never figured out the books. Novell solutions have been around for decades, and with the roadmap commitments that Micro Focus has made, we know these products aren’t going anywhere. More importantly, our solutions and your tools aren’t going to disappear if we stop paying for Amazon web services – especially since they’ll be installed on your enterprise server.
2. Shouldn’t I pick a cloud solution instead?
As Gil Cattelain recently wrote, “Today’s workspace has evolved from a location to an expectation.” Whether it’s the cause or effect, cloud computing technology has played a part in setting users’ expectations.
However, relying on still-nascent cloud technology simply isn’t the right choice for many enterprise organizations. Security issues aside, scaling with cloud services can be prohibitively expensive in some cases.
A self-served solution (such as the Novell Open Enterprise Server) can deliver the same end-user benefits as cloud services to modern workers, allowing them to access their projects anywhere. Plus, having your own server installation means not handing your sensitive data to a third party.
3. What about messaging?
If you look at the tech industry, messaging apps receive a lot of attention. This is no surprise – while email is proven method of communication, digital communication is due for an upgrade. The personal nature of instant communication enables team members to make connections even when working remotely.
Modern teams need instantaneous communication. Team communication tool Groupwise has messaging built into its core and integrates seamlessly with Vibe, delivering the right kind of messaging experience no matter what you need.
4. Can’t I replicate functionality using third-party apps?
True, you could cobble together some kind of functionality to integrate a bunch of third-party software into a jury-rigged collaboration platform. It’s not hard to find dedicated email, messaging, and other apps.
What is hard is making those separate systems work together if you’re a large organization. Teams of 5-10? Sure. But in organizations of 100 or more need to have a single solution everyone can use that is already integrated into the main solution. That’s why choosing a solution specifically designed with an enterprise (like yours) in mind is a smart choice.
5. How do my employees’ smart devices fit into all this?
There’s a good reason more and more organizations are moving towards a BYOD policy. By letting employees use their own laptops smartphones, and tablets, companies can benefit from significant cost savings.
But making all of these different devices and device ecosystem work together is tricky. You need a robust, reliable application to work on the main platforms. Slow apps cost your enterprise time and money. You also need to have endpoint security in place. Novell Open Workgroup Suite offers this and more.
6. Is it secure to have all of our messaging in one place?
More secure than multiple points of vulnerability. Each separate software ecosystem provides a different way your security could be compromised. But by using solutions that are integrated by design (and encrypted), you significantly decrease your risk for cyber threats.
As Rick Carlson, Senior Director of Product Management for Novell’s product offerings, said, “GroupWise provides the most secure, reliable and cost effective on-premises enterprise email solution on the market.” Combining Groupwise, Messenger, and Vibe with ZENwork’s encryption provides a collaboration suite that’s secure, too.
Security aside, having your messaging in one place simply makes more sense for information retrieval reasons. If an employee moves on, for example, having an owned messaging environment allows you to retrieve his or her messages without hassle, enabling your remaining workers to access important conversations about projects.
7. How much does mobile matter to my organization?
Asking if mobile matters in 2015 sounds like a leading question, but you’d be surprised at how often mobile collaboration isn’t considered when choosing a platform! Mobile usage is significantly on the rise for enterprise, and that’s only going to increase as workers become more comfortable getting real work done on their smart devices. Along with providing the security needed for BYOD policies, a powerful collaboration environment needs to have support for every user to run native mobile apps.
Mobile sites with limited functionality simply fail to perform when it matters. Native solutions, such as the iOS and Android Novell Messenger apps updated in February, deliver a much more elegant experience for the user.
Naturally, I’m a bit biased towards the solutions Novell offers. (I’m sure I’ll hear about some of this in the comments.)
However, I think the main point I’m trying to make is correct: enterprise work environments, or even business environments that want to run like an enterprise, are best served with solutions designed for enterprise use. Collaborating through a mish-mash of separate tools that loosely integrate through APIs is fine if you’re a startup or very small business.
But if you’re a company that wants a proven, secure framework for mass collaboration (and we’re talking hundreds of users at this point), then you need a reliable system designed from the ground up with collaboration and security in mind.
What do you think? Let me know by leaving a comment.