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GWCheck Interviews Bob Flynn, President and GM Novell



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August 4, 2011 12:17 pm

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I had the opportunity to interview Bob Flynn, President and GM of Novell. Attachmate acquired Novell. Novell is now a BU of the Attachmate Group.

Gert: Hi Bob, thanks for making time. You are running the Novell BU within the Attachmate Group. Can you introduce yourself, as for the past and the present roles you have (had)?
Bob: I joined Attachmate in 1998 and prior to that spent nearly 18 years at IBM where I held multiple executive positions including the management of a multi-million-dollar consulting engagement and the leadership of a region-wide $500 million services operation. My home-base is Seattle, however I will split my time in Provo as well as with Novell colleagues, customers and partners around the globe.

Gert: GroupWise is one of the strongest products for Novell. What is your view on the strategy for GroupWise?
Bob: GroupWise is, indeed, a very strategic product for the Novell business unit–one we think was being under-served in the former Novell organization. We intend to raise the profile of GroupWise, increase engineering investment in the product, improve field coverage for GroupWise accounts, and reach out to GroupWise customers to fully understand their needs, prioritize our plans based on top customer requests, and communicate our plans. When The Attachmate Group announced its intention to acquire Novell, we issued a general statement about our intention to support all of Novell’s existing product roadmaps. We went a significant step further with one product: GroupWise. Here’s what our Chairman and CEO had to say about this product:

“Attachmate Corporation considers GroupWise an important part of our go-forward market strategy. It is a solution that is of great value to both our organization and customers. We have already publicly stated that we will support existing roadmaps and release schedules across the Novell and SUSE product lines and that commitment includes GroupWise. More importantly, we are committed to meeting GroupWise customers’ needs well beyond these stated plans. We plan to leverage the collective expertise of the Novell team, invest in GroupWise R&D resources, and deliver key product capabilities customers require—including integration with collaboration products from Novell and others—over the long term.”

Gert: Are you involved in the decision process for GroupWise and if so, how? Dean and Alex are the people we know best from Novell. Will we see you too?
Bob: Absolutely. As president and GM, I am ultimately involved in all key decisions for the BU – and very focused on continuing GroupWise, a tremendous asset that makes us unique in the markets we serve. My focus will be on ensuring that Novell’s innovative and battle-tested technology, loyal customers, strong partners, and dedicated employees continue to put us in a great position to achieve our goals and deliver value to customers for many years to come.

Gert: GroupWise supports Linux, Windows and NetWare/OES server platforms. Will this be continued (specially the NetWare support) and will there be changes?
Bob: Providing customers with platform flexibility and choice has always been a hallmark of the Novell brand in general, and GroupWise in particular. That said, however, there will be a few changes with the Ascot release that are related to product lifecycles and industry trends. First, Ascot will offer server-side support on Linux, Windows and OES. NetWare, which has moved beyond the General Support phase of its lifecycle, will not be a supported platform. In addition, we have made a strategic decision to significantly enhance the Ascot Web access client rather than continuing to develop its Linux and Mac clients. This decision reflects the increasing trend toward mobile access for end users–and lightweight support requirements for IT. Customers who want Linux or Mac client support can run the GroupWise 8 Linux or Mac client against an Ascot back-end. Stay tuned for more details here in the Q4 2011 timeframe

Gert: GroupWise is in the Cloud now. Can you tell us more about the solution offered and at whom its targeted?
Bob: One of our trusted partners, HostedEM, Inc., recently released Hosted Enterprise Mail powered by Novell GroupWise. It is the industry’s first cloud-based, managed service for Novell GroupWise. Leveraging a Verizon data center, Sonian for archiving, and Kaspersky Lab for e-mail hygiene, HostedEM delivers all the rich features of Novell GroupWise in a secure, scalable cloud environment. Packages are available in North America and start at only $5/user/month.

Gert: Did you get an opportunity to take a look at GroupWise Ascot? How close do follow its development, as it will be in BETA now?
Bob: I am familiar with the upcoming GroupWise Ascot release and look forward to getting this product into the hands of our customers early in the fourth calendar quarter. While this version has been a long time in coming, we have revamped our GroupWise roadmap to deliver more frequent releases, which will translate into greater feature parity with the competition and more value for our customers’ maintenance dollars.

Gert: GroupWise runs big time on Linux. Will the Attachmate Group bundle SUSE and GroupWise to target its customers?
Bob: GroupWise already includes an entitlement to SUSE Linux Enterprise Server so that GroupWise customers who want to run on a Linux back-end don’t need to pay additional subscription fees to do so.

Gert: Vibe and GroupWise will work tighter. Can you enlighten that?
Bob: As part of our focus, we are investing more in GroupWise. Customers will get broader mobile device support and an innovative experience that bridges e-mail with social communication. We plan to communicate more about our plans here at BrainShare, including more roadmap details, so we continue to encourage customers and partners to join us in Salt Lake City in October!

Gert: What is the future of Vibe? Vibe is a unique collaboration product.
Bob: Both our Vibe products have their respective strengths. Customers like the ease of Vibe Cloud and the depth of Vibe OnPrem. Consolidating into one Vibe product has been our plan since we announced Vibe in 2010. We know what Vibe Cloud features customers use the most and are building those into the combined Vibe platform over time. Some features are already in our Novell Vibe OnPrem 3.1 release; others will make it into our Firestone release coming in October, and still more in our 2012 releases. Moving forward, our single Novell Vibe offering will deliver a powerful social collaboration solution that gives enterprise teams what they need.

Gert: Where can we see you? GWAVACon, BrainShare, Open Horizons summits, etc.
Bob: I’ll be spending most of my time on the road and visiting customers and partners. Events like BrainShare and others are also key on my agenda as I continue to engage and inform customers and partners about the new Novell and what’s ahead for the company.

Gert: Bob, thanks so much. Keep up the good work.
Bob: Thanks for the opportunity! I look forward to staying in touch.

© GWCheck.com august 2011
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Categories: Expert Views, Novell

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