Cool Solutions

GroupWise: Features You Lose!

Dean Lythgoe

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April 24, 2012 3:45 pm

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Novell recently published a ‘Top Ten Features Users Lose If They Move’ flyer that spells out just a few of the things GroupWise users love about Novell GroupWise!

You can access the flyer here.

The document lists the following features:

  1. Superior message tracking
  2. Silent message retraction
  3. Native attachment viewing
  4. Recurring appointment flexibility
  5. Managing group tasks
  6. User-controlled proxy rights
  7. Enhanced busy search
  8. Simpler folder sharing
  9. Calendar view of future tasks
  10. Managing sent appointments and calendar items

Of course, the flyer goes into more detail on each of these items and provides explanations. There were many features and capabilities to choose from, but these are the ones chosen for this flyer.

What would you miss?

So – now that I have your brainstorming attention – what are those things that you use every day in the GroupWise product that you simply could not live without?

Personally, I have a long list of things that are leveraged in GroupWise and that are customized to a particular way of working – MINE!! I have customized the highly productive habitat to manage my workload, schedule, and information. GroupWise is not only my calendar, task list, contact manager, and principal communication mechanism, but GroupWise is also my information storage and recall nerve center.

Most work days start and end with GroupWise!

Share what features you would miss or that you use the most!!

Dean

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Categories: Expert Views, GroupWise

19 Comments

  1. By:jsessler

    Dean,

    While interesting, this document it’s nothing more than preaching to the choir. My community and I recognize all of these features as being wonderful (except if you’re a Macintosh user), and some of them have likely extended the life span of GroupWise here at my campus, but they are greatly overshadowed now by other shortcomings.

    There isn’t a single Macintosh user that would take the Mac GW Client, and the features on the list that do work, over something modern and well integrated as Mac Outlook. It makes me sad to say that, but it’s the absolute truth.

    If you want to keep customers, fix/address the reasons why we are leaving.

    Let’s see something from you on the Macintosh front…

    Is there a new client on the way?
    Is CalDAV and CardDAV in the works?

    Moving from GroupWise isn’t free, but when your customers are willing to spend the money, and accept the loss of some “coveted features,” it’s time to think different.

    Jeff

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    • By:briggsb

      For the record, I’m a GroupWise fan. I’ve ran it since version 5 and will try and get away with running it for as long as possible. But honestly, a few features that will be missing if you leave is not going to make people want to stay. Get the client bugs and annoyances fixed, get the product rock-solid like it once was, and maybe then bosses like mine won’t lean on so many people to look elsewhere!

      Alan

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      • By:dlythgoe

        Alan,

        Thanks for the feedback – anything more specific you would like us to focus on. Client bugs and annoyances is a pretty big target. If you have SRs or defect # – that might help us prioritize. Not everyone experiences the same annoyance or issue.

        Thanks,

        Dean

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      • By:lrhmv

        We are a pure Linux Company. Our Servers, Desktops and the whole Infrastructure is based on Linux (SLES, OES, OpenSuse and Debian). As i updated to GW2012SP1 i hoped to see Webaccess with the same features as the Windows Client (we would use Webaccess as substitution for the Linux Client). But this wasn’t so. Missing features like “Changing Mails to Appointments” is one of the showstoppers. Missing Proxy functionality in Webaccess for iPad is the next. I would find more other features of the Windows Client which are not integrated in Webaccess. The Linux Client is dead. Webaccess has not the same features as the Windows Client. Look at other Solutions (e.g. VMware’s Zimbra) there is one Client for all platforms. The Webinterface looks like the Desktop Client. Same look and feel, same functionality! For us it is clear that we have to look for a new Collaboration Solution the next time. Always waiting for news in the roadmaps makes really sad. So i think we have to move, Goodbye Groupwise…

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  2. By:jlodom

    I certainly share our desire to see news on the Macintosh front, and I know that the current GroupWise team as well as Attachmate management knows that as well.

    You will notice that the current GroupWise roadmap at http://www.novell.com/php5/groupwise/ ends with next year’s Windermere release in early 2013. That release includes two enormous features that will be soaking up all available engineering time: Active Directory support and the new management interface (along with its API). Either one of those is a huge undertaking, and they have to be done right, so I would not expect to see additional Mac support in that release.

    My speculation would be that Mac news will come whenever the roadmap is next updated — at the latest, Brainshare 2013 when the current roadmap is coming to a close, Windermere is shipping (or close to it), and major announcements will improve publicity.

    However, I think we can see which way the wind is blowing: OES just licensed Kanaka for Mac as its official “client”, ZENWorks 11.2 added Mac support (so 2 of 3 major Novell products have included Mac support), and every GroupWise piece includes iOS support as part of its roadmap. The GroupWise team may not know exactly what its Mac story is going to be, but I bet they are close to having one if not already in-development.

    I am on a Mac in a GroupWise 8 environment, and I am using WebAccess exclusively at this point, so I share your pain. Nonetheless, I suspect we are close to resolution.

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    • By:jsessler

      You point out a major concern of mine… one of priorities.

      If you had to choose to spend development time on AD support, Web management, or the Client front-end – which of those areas do you imagine will have the largest impact on an existing customer’s decision to stay with GroupWise?

      Web Management and AD support are both something I would welcome, but I have a workable solution today – and having to use c1 to manage users, or IDM to connect to AD, are not going to be a big motivator for moving. For new customers looking at GroupWise, these features are necessary, but why is Novell so interested in new customers vs holding on to the customers they already have?

      The big motivator for moving is the client-side (face of GroupWise). It’s not admins driving migration because of the back-end, it’s end-users who are frustrated with the current state of the clients.

      My point is simple – GroupWise management should put AD and Web Management of the back burner for Windermere, and move their focus back to the clients. AD and Web Management will be a wonderful thing, but how many GroupWise customers will Novell have lost by then?

      Jeff

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      • By:jlodom

        I disagree that AD integration and a new admin interface are features aimed primarily at new customers. For years we have heard about customers who like GroupWise and only maintain an eDirectory tree for it. These customers will be more likely to stay if they can use GW with AD.

        Similarly, ConsoleOne has been showing its age for a very long time. Without going down the road of “which admin interface is better”, I would submit that the rest of Novell left C1 a long time ago. Keeping it running only for GroupWise has meant that it doesn’t get proper feature refreshes.

        Beyond that, there is a larger issue of architecture that encompasses both of these Windermere releasables: To expand GroupWise’s functionality over the longer term, APIs need to be created that are A) Cross-Platform (since we don’t know what systems will hook into GW in the future) B) Easy and Stable for Developers to Use (So that Developers will look at GW as part of an ecosystem that they can support or leverage) C) Comprehensive (So that any functionality provided by the system can be accessed by an API with the other characteristics above).

        We know that customers have been indirectly clamoring for such an API because of the constant demands for 3rd-party integrations (CRM, Blackberry, etc.) that it would provide. Moreover, the complementary products in the GroupWise family like Data Synchronizer and Vibe also depend on such an API for their existence. While the SOAP components did provide some of this functionality, a lot more needed to happen and we can see from the growth of SOAP over the life of GW 8.x that engineering has been steadily improving and expanding the API. Coincidentally, all of the APIs required to support additional directory services and a new administrative interface just happen to be a subset of the API work that needed to be done. Possibly a new means of integrating or supporting OS X would also depend upon this work. In GW 2012 I think there is a minor example of this dynamic at work with the new WebAccess pieces.

        Now, all of this should have happen years ago, but Novell’s old management was focused on the wrong priorities, the GroupWise team was on a different planet, and resources were not allocated correctly. I believe, as a customer, that Attachmate understands and is correcting all of these deficiencies. It has been a year since Attachmate acquired Novell, and they had to ship 2012 with its current featureset. Then we have “2013″ (Windermere) which has the large features we are discussing and which both soak up engineering time and provide prerequisite functionality for other feature sets. Then the roadmap ends. Presumably the real fruits of Attachmate’s ownership will become apparent when that roadmap refreshes.

        On one point I do agree with you very strongly: They need a high-quality Mac client, and they needed it a decade ago when it was obvious to many of us that Apple had righted the ship and OS X was going to be a growing force in the market. Instead, Novell got onto the Linux bandwagon (which we could debate about endlessly: My own view is that management at the time had the right ideas but executed them poorly and then got rid of the people who could have brought them to fruition) and what we got was the Linux Java client ported messily to OS X. This blindness to native Apple technologies is just now being rectified within Novell as a whole, and I am not certain of the speed. I do know, however, that the GW team is dead last in its understanding of the Apple ecosystem.

        I will reserve my judgement on the future until the roadmap is updated, although on the GroupWise front I am cautiously optimistic (and am wildly optimistic on the OES and ZEN fronts). Bob Flynn and his management team have been very vocal about their processes in regards to GroupWise, and the customer outreach that they have been doing. It has been a year — I would hope that by August we would have some roadmap announcements beyond what previous management had committed to.

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  3. By:jahn

    We have the year 2012 and it is still not possible to create an HTML Signature in the newest Linux Client. From my point of view this is very disappointing.

    Peter

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    • By:dlythgoe

      Peter,

      Thanks for the feedback. The Linux client has not been a principal focus of most of our customers. We have spent a lot of time meeting with and listening to our customers in order to work on the most important things first.

      Having said that – I certainly realize two important points.

      1. Not everyone has the same priority or list of needs.
      2. Ultimately, we need to do most, if not all, of the things on our list.

      As a small consolation – As part of GroupWise 2012, we did add HTML Signatures and multiple signatures to the Web Client which can be run on Linux!!

      Dean

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  4. By:HKNAPP

    I agree with Jeff. No one cares what it takes me to manage Groupwise. What they care about is what they can do with their client. How it integrates with other applications. How it integrates with other iPhone / iPad applications even with DataSync running integration stinks. I am told daily how much easier it is to use the OutLook Client. All client side driven.

    We are moving to Gmail (Google Apps) and the end users are thrilled to be done with Groupwise. I can tell them all the things they will not have in Gmail; but they don’t care because for every 1 thing they will not have they get 10 things the currently don’t have in Groupwise.

    The industry is driven by end users now. They expect technology to just work and to integrate. They will pick the app that best suites them. Only those of us with Pocket Protectors care about what happens behind the screen. End users expect to be able to go into Evernote; add Groupwise Document store and pull documents. Oops! can’t do that. Oh wait. iPad Reminders, sync with Groupwise Tasks – nope.

    Oh, and just a heads up. Most kindergartners have email addresses already. I don’t think there are that many “NEW” users out there. I would focus on keeping the “old” users before we are all gone.

    Do you know what the “old” users need to keep your product(s) as a key components of our IT architecture? Based on the product development road map it does not seem you understand that.

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    • By:ketter

      I agree that we need a focus on the client. But iPad reminders do sync with GroupWise taaks. I’m doing it now with Data Synchronizer.

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  5. By:dlythgoe

    Thank you for all of your input and feedback regarding Windermere, the Mac Client, new client features, admin focus and suggestions for different priorities.

    We have spent a considerable amount of time over the last 12 months meeting with existing customers to determine what the short term focus should be regarding our collaboration strategy.

    While I realize that not all customers will have the same priority or list of pain points, it is important to at least understand and share back with our customers, end-users and administrators how their input is shaping our decisions.

    First of all – let me be very very clear. Novell is almost exclusively focused, and has been since the Attachmate acquisition, on our existing customers. Every release, roadmap, product and deliverable has been done for the express benefit of our current customers. While it is always true that a company would like to attract new customers, we are reserving the right to pursue new customers only after we have significantly satisfied our existing customers.

    To that end, Novell completely revamped its Sales force, compensation model and account management thinking to accommodate this focus. With some 300% increase in Sales, Sales Engineering, and Account Managers, this workforce has now been deployed world wide.

    As we met face to face with CxOs throughout our customer base, we found that one of the top issues that they wanted addressed was Administration/Active Directory support. This was not so that it would be easier on GroupWise Administrators – although that is always a good side effect – it was so that GroupWise would better integrate into their overall network infrastructure and that it would be perceived as ‘relevant’ and ‘current’.

    Obviously this is not the only feedback we received. We requested priority on 15 different categories. The GroupWise Windows Client features and improvements along with WebAccess improvements and new functionality was also at the top of many customers’ lists.

    The Mac Client – obviously a hot topic. Novell recognizes that we owe our customers and the community an update. The engineering team has been heads down trying to get a handle on several deliverables over the last year including GroupWise 2012, Mobility, Vibe, GroupWise 8.0.3, new Messenger updates and a new co-existence solution. Every one of these has been requested/demanded by our current customers. Not one of these deliverables was specifically targeted to new customers.

    Now that we have many of those under way, we have completed most of the new hiring for the engineering team, we have been trying to determine the velocity of this expanded engineering force. We have been looking at several options regarding the Mac client including the update already scheduled for Mac – GroupWise 8.0.2 HP4 – which is scheduled for this summer. We know that this will not meet all of our Mac users’ needs. Additional options are now being explored. We will share those details when they become available. I know you want answers and information yesterday, but I simply can’t share anything until we have complete alignment.

    Thank you for your continued interest and demands. It helps to know exactly where each of you want us to focus our attention. We are getting there as quickly as possible.

    Dean

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    • By:jsessler

      Dean,
      A year wasted with no work on a Macintosh client solution? You’re only now exploring additional options?

      You’ve lost another EDU GroupWise customer today. With Macintosh being the largest part of our community, I simply can’t wait any longer.

      Let me recap just a few of the other EDUs that have left recently. There are many more that have moved within the last 12-18 months. If you’d like, I’ll add the rest later.

      <removed by blog administrator>

      Jeff

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      • By:dlythgoe

        same message posted in NGWList

        I’m sorry that you took such an extreme view of the message/response posted on the GroupWise blog. I can certainly understand the need for information and details. It is also challenging to be able to communicate all messages to all people in a forum like this or in the comments of a blog.

        It is kind of like trying to explain the planning, thinking, design, financing and logistics for the continuing building of a skyscraper to a community who needs the entire building to be done immediately while a particular group of people simply want to know if the 8th floor will have the same size/layout as all of the other floors.

        The answer is YES – but its tough to start on the 8th floor when you just got done building the 4th. :) In addition, to characterize our efforts regarding Apple as ‘not much else has happened’ is frustrating.

        I also understand that you and others can’t wait. Unfortunately, I can not turn back the clock or change previous corporate strategic priorities. Not all things in software development can happen simultaneously. We had to stay the course and ship GroupWise 2012. That obviously consumed our engineering resources and any significant course change would have had even more serious consequences.

        It does not mean – however – that we have been waiting around trying to figure out what we should do. We have been engaged on multiple levels and with a variety of initiatives to right the ship and straighten the course. Supporting Apple devices and Mac users is a significant part of the skyscraper.

        For example:

        1. Novell Data Synchronizer – provides mobile synchronization for iPhone, iPad and iTouch (all iOS devices)
        2. GroupWise 2012 – provides additional support for iPad users through Web templates
        3. GroupWise 8.0.2 HP4 will include a Mac update for the current GroupWise Mac client
        4. GroupWise 2012 WebAccess has improved many users’ experience – including those using Safari on Mac

        Everyone one of these technologies and capabilities was either updated or delivered in the last 12 months. We are also very committed to continued support for Apple products and Mac users.

        There are really only two other options. Build a brand new native GroupWise Mac client from the ground up AND/OR support a few standards like CalDav, CardDav to allow native Mac applications like MacMail, iCal and Address Book to synchronize GroupWise data to the Mac desktop.

        Both of these options require conversations around trade-offs, opportunity costs, time to delivery, strategic fit, etc. If you think that those of us who are heavily invested and involved in the success of the skyscraper are just now wondering about this analysis, you have underestimated our commitment. While you may not agree with the amount of details/information, the timing or even the decisions that are ultimately made, I assure you we are looking at the entire business, the entire collaboration portfolio and the entire set of opportunities. We hope to build a skyscraper where everyone on each floor has what they need.

        Please don’t assume that no progress is being made just because we have not openly shared which latest technology will be used to provide natural light on the next floor of the skyscraper. We intend to choose an option/strategy that aligns with business drivers. This includes costs, resource demands, market drivers, and competitive offerings.

        Keep in mind – the best option for one customer may compete with the right option for another customer. I wish we could do everything right away. Now I sound like one of my children. :)

        Thanks for the opportunity to discuss. I request that you not share customer information\organization names in a public forum. Those customers have not given permission to do so and this may violate their own policies. It is also not productive or helpful.

        Dean

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      • By:jlodom

        Dean,

        Obviously I do not know the results of your internal polling or the meetings that Bob Flynn has been having with customers or in the war room. But the last several years of talking to my fellow educational customers and various other forums (including cool solutions) have shown a great deal of clarity on the issue of Mac connectivity. This is not new to you, I know, but let me state it again for the record in 2012, and put it here so that others may comment upon it.

        We, Your Loyal Education (and increasingly Corporate) Customers, Want:

        1. Novell to hire some programmers familiar with OS X Cocoa technologies or to retrain existing Novell programmers to understand Cocoa and its frameworks.
        2. The above Cocoa programmers, the most grizzled GW programmers, the GW product managers, and the most beaten-up of your sales force to gather in a room for a very long meeting to discuss the GroupWise architecture and feature set, the OS X architecture and feature set, and how a new Mac client might leverage the best of both worlds without compromising either experience.
        3. Then we want them to write a new OS X GroupWise client from the ground up.
        4. And we want you to announce it so that we know it is coming and that points 1 and 2 happened.

        Yes, this will cost a lot of money. Yes, it will require completely new skill sets in your team. And we understand that as much as we wanted this to happen a decade ago, it will be a bit longer still. But this is not only a feature we want as new functionality, it is a feature whose lack is seen as a great (in my environment probably the GREATEST) defect in your product.

        It is also feature that your three largest competitors do have. Lotus Notes for Mac has some famous complainers, but I can report from experience support it that it has been a proper Mac application since the OS9 days. Microsoft not only got religion on OS 9 with Entourage but learned that Entourage itself was not sufficient and has shipped a new version of Outlook. Both Outlook and Entourage were built by the MS MacBU using Apple technologies from the ground up, and it makes a positive difference in their quality. I have personally met this team on two occasions. They are small, but they are capable of shipping great products in regular cycles. And then there is Google. They don’t have a Mac client, because they don’t believe in clients per se, but even so the GMail product demonstrates a much better idea of how Macs work in the enterprise than the GroupWise team, and my discussions with Google engineers reflect this knowledge.

        Even your colleagues within Novell have shown more traction on the Mac front in the last year than you have. OES still ships with the most scalable AFP server in existence, and with every release it improves. Now that they have Kanaka, I expect the entire OS X experience with that product to get better and better. Similarly, the ZENWorks team has shipped functionality equivalent to your GW 8 Mac client in this release, but they have indicated that this is merely the start of their Mac journey, not its end.

        If you think the engineering effort is too costly for a new, full-featured Mac client, then perhaps you should propose a way for your customers to pay for it as an add-on. While ZENWorks ships their Mac client as part of ZCM, much of their other infrastructure ships as add-ons, and I am currently budgeting to pay for two or three of them in the coming year because the functionality and quality coming out of that team in 2012 is worth the budget fight. Moreover, we have been a Kanaka customer for years when it was a separate Condrey product.

        Does anyone else feel this way, or am I off-base here? Other customers, how do you feel?

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    • By:bbecken

      Quote: “As we met face to face with CxOs throughout our customer base……”

      Seriously… Why only meet with HIGH Level VP’s? Why not “meet” face to face with the GroupWise Admins, the folks who work directly with the GroupWise product line on a daily basis. We are the one’s getting certified on Novell products.

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      • By:dlythgoe

        Thanks for your comment.

        Let me clarify…

        1. We did not meet exclusively with CxOs. However, they are the ones who are forcing decisions within a lot of organizations. It was very important to talk to the decision makers and the decision influencers within each organization and not only share with them what Novell/GroupWise is doing, but also solicit their feedback and input. This obviously includes CxOs and Admins.

        2. For the most part, the GroupWise Admins are already our allies and advocates. Obviously, it is difficult to speak in absolutes, but in general, this is true. End-users also tend to be fairly satisfied – as long as they did not come from Outlook/GMail and simply are resistant to learn a slightly different way to accomplish the same thing.

        Hope that explains it better.

        Dean

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  6. By:arunsath

    I will miss integration with Lync that provides calling features. Live Meeting integration, Linked In plugins. Sales force plugin and other bunch of plugins that my users use.

    Simplicity with with my Android phone and tablet receives push email and calendar events.

    Some good documentation. Last time, 2011, we tried to implement GW, the __only__ book that I could find was written in 2007.

    Take a look
    http://www.amazon.com/s/ref=nb_sb_noss?url=search-alias%3Daps&field-keywords=groupwise

    http://www.amazon.com/s/ref=nb_sb_noss?url=search-alias%3Daps&field-keywords=exchange+2010&rh=i%3Aaps%2Ck%3Aexchange+2010

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  7. By:bcmccormack1

    Yep, this is over a year late. But consider its punctuality an indicator.

    My school uses GW and all of the students think it is awful. Mind you few of them are computer science majors, nor am I, however many of the above comments are accurate regarding incompatibility with various devices.

    I’ve been scouring the internet with queries on how to either install a GW client on my Mac or access it through Outlook for Mac. No luck yet. If either of these options exist in useable versions, their existence needs to be more obvious, as does the proper sequence for installing and using them.

    The kicker? My school charges $40k per year, and we get the poor service from GW, but we STILL have to pay for iOS apps for email!

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