Cool Solutions

GWCheck Interviews Kai Reichert, Novell Collaboration Product Manager


April 5, 2012 6:45 am





I had the chance to talk to the fresh Collaboration Product Manager, Kai Reichert. Kai, welcome to the list of Novell and Novell minded people or those connected to the GroupWise community and Novell.

Gert: If I’m correct you’ve had a career with Novell after having your own company. Let’s talk backwards, starting at now. What made you decide to work for Novell after having a business of your own?
Kai: At that time I worked as a Consultant around Novell solutions, I worked as a CNI (Novell Trainer) and was a proud Sysop in Novell’s Support forums. So I was actually very close to Novell already, before the German SE Manager asked me if I would like to join Novell as an employee.

This was a natural next step for me and finally I was able to see things from an inside perspective. And of course I always blamed the Novell employees for doing things not effectively. So now I had to blame myself.

Gert: And the second one on this level, first that was at EMEA, now at global. May I understand that you work or worked closely to Dirk Schmidt and Werner Luetkemeier? I’ve interviewed them before. What difference are there between the EMEA market and the US or global market?
Kai: I worked closely with Dirk and Werner in my EMEA Technology Specialist role and I hope this will continue in the new role. And the most obvious difference between the US and EMEA is the culture. And this is really influencing market trends, local regulations, customers and users expectations. We also have a different partner eco system in EMEA and in the US which also influenced how Novell approach markets in the past.

One of the challenges is to keep all these differences in mind and act based on that.

We can always improve here and with some more EMEA representation in the Collaboration area this will be helpful

Gert: Going backwards, tell us a bit about the way you started before Novell. As from being a student till going Novell.
Kai: Well, I never really was a student. After I left school I started an apprenticeship as a Radio and TV technician. Then during my civil service I got in touch with a Software company and they hired me as a software developer where I got to really know and love NetWare. Later I worked as a System Administrator with all the great Novell software and from there on I started the career as a Consultant, Trainer, etc.

Gert: What do you see as the positive results of the openness by Novell towards customers as they started after Attachmate acquired Novell? What do you think is missing or yet to be put into place (it’s on the list, yet no time of priority)? And why?
Kai: Oh, so many things have changed. It feels like all the things we always thought need improvement are now being touched by our new Management. We get great support and the areas I will be personally looking at in the near future is the Collaboration ISV support and integration. Also the current re:focus strategy was exactly the right thing to do. Very well received by customers and partners.

One special thing I am seeing is that Novell employees are really motivated again, having fun, seeing things progressing and improving. That is great to see.

Gert: Back to the future. Here’s a quick list.
Gert: Have a break. Coffee, tea, water or what?
Kai: Coffee through the day and for evenings I like a good wine or sometimes even a cold beer!

Gert: Morning or evening person?
Kai: Starts in the evening and goes through the night. I am a night owl.

Gert: Books, tv, bar, music, what makes you feel at home, or makes you have fun outside the job?
Kai: I like reading book and playing computer games. I am also a Geocacher when being outside and a soccer referee.

Gert: Casual friday, tie, or whizzkid? First, please answer this on yourself, and second answer this as in what does your favorite college look like?
Kai: Casual in both cases, I am actually not a big friend of ties.

Gert: Inventor, advisor, connector or leader? Tell us why.
Kai: All of them at the time it is needed. Trying to be only one of them all the time isn’t always appropriate.

Gert: Are you following your heart, the money or going international, what is your drive?
Kai: Mostly it’s my heart.

Gert: Red socks, blue shoes, black umbrella, or the white lady? (as in, sport (base ball), music (Elvis), class (umbrella) or adrenaline (white lady is also name for “stimulation”)?
Kai: All of them please.

Gert: A good administrator is … (add max three reasons)
Kai: knowledgeable, honest and should be able to show backbone.

Gert: If I ever move to the US (or if you did), I did it cause …
Kai: I want it.

Gert: How is it for you to operate with Tracy and Dean? You’re the man who’s moving up, right?
Kai: It is really a great team and I very much enjoy working with them. And honestly I think I am there to take care of them. Someone really needs to keep an eye on them!

Gert: You’ve seen Vibe, Pulse, Teaming, and other collab-apps before. Is Novell an innovator of the collaboration market, does it follow lines, patterns, and business or is it independent from what other companies are doing if for?
Kai: Unlike others that innovate what the market says they have to innovate, Novell wants to innovate based on what our customers are asking us to do. I personally see more value in developing something that is relevant to our customers than to tell them what the next hype is they have to follow.

And when it comes to the question of being independent, I always think how independent I want to be in a collaboration world that it is all about connecting, communicating and breaking down information walls. So I always want to be open and independent.

Gert: Netscape has disappeared. Sun is now by Oracle, where do all the good companies go to? How can Novell stay in the market stronger as ever? What is your role in that and what do we have to do to not blindly support that yet make it work for all of us?
Kai: Well, Novell is right there! But there is a constant change in our business life with IT companies. Same as Novell did go through such a major change, this happens for others as well. For Novell it turned out to be extremely positive and allowed us to be stronger than before. It allows us to listen to the customers, consider the market demands and continue to deliver great solutions.

Gert: What do you know about the GroupWise community? What likes, could be better, or has to be removed ASAP?
Kai: Due to my EMEA location I am good connected with Open Horizon which really brings a huge value to our customers, partners and also Novell. I really hope Open Horizon can grow it’s community in more countries. Of course there are more good community groups and initiatives. And they should all be well connected.

Gert: If you had to go live on an island, alone, for three months, what collaboration tool would you take with you?
Kai: If I really have to take one with me it would be my Novell Messenger. But I guess I would also enjoy some time without any such tool.

Gert: Where do we see you the next time and where have you been before?
Kai: The last big event was Brainshare and then some local events. I will try to attend some of the Novell Tour locations across EMEA but the next big one will be GWAVAcon in EMEA.

Gert: GroupWise 2012 is big change going for the better. What do you see as the main targets for the next version of GroupWise?
Kai: We have the challenge that we need to tackle quite a few things. So currently we work on Active Directory Integrations and the Web-based Administration. But we know that his is for the Back-end only and that customers also need to see progress on their desktops. So we will spend time improving the Client usability and the user experience as well.

Gert: What is your next target?
Kai: I will spend a few days in Provo with the Engineering Team soon and I am currently busy in reaching out to many ISV to re-establish our partnerships and also some new ones.

Gert: Tnx!
Kai: It was a pleasure to talk to you!

© april 2012

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