Cool Solutions

ZENworks – Your Best Choice to Make IT Happen


January 20, 2010 9:45 pm





Have you ever noticed that lots of people talk about systems management, or desktop management or endpoint management and that very often it looks beautiful but upon closer inspection you discover it’s a tragic intersection of lipstick and pig?

Yeah, me too.  I’ve seen too many customers and non-customers who have dropped millions of dollars on some desktop management solution that created more problems than it solved.  Fortunately that doesn’t have to be true.

The Novell solution set is incredibly comprehensive and brings unique value to the marketplace.  The primary value to organizations that have already made investments in alternate solutions is that they do not need to make further investment in Kubota or Caterpillar for the purpose of the forklift upgrade.  This is because ZENworks is built to work modularly.  Certainly the pieces work together marvellously, but we aren’t so arrogant as to believe that every org will use only our tools.  We’ve been doing ZENworks for over twelve years, we’ve achieved maturity for today’s market ahead of the others.  As Patrick Hynes likes to say, ZENworks is a hot-rod.

So why is ZENworks the best choice for customers right now?

Do you remember when we went through the pain to re-architect the entire ZENworks engine?  We did this to ensure that ZENworks did not have a dependency on any particular estate.  It was a lot of hard work and a fundamental set of changes were required.  Our Product Managers fielded a high volume of questions on the “whys” Fortunately our Systems and Resource Management leadership stood by their guns. and we are now at the state where we have a wonderful product with great scalability.  But, readers will remember that there were some teething pains in that process.  Our major competitors are in the process of re-architecture right now.  However fine their people and teams are, they will experience teething pains too.  In today’s fragile economy and state of caution, customers of those vendors are very concerned about what’s going to happen to their installs, their skills and their overall plans.

Landesk is in the blender.  First they were bought by Avocent whose focus had always been switching technology and recently by Emerson Electric, a renowned provider of electrical equipment.  Is Landesk up on cinder blocks in the yard?  They are working to lock customers into 3 year deals, with emphasis on the lock part.  Their future is not clear at this point.   The question I would ask if I were a customer CIO is what is Emerson’s long term commitment to Landesk?  It’s a pretty reasonable question I think.

Symantec is working to position itself as the endpoint security company and customers fear that there is not sufficient focus on their investments in Altiris.  They’ve built a brand new release that will have teething pain.  Symantec is successful in malware protection – it drives revenue for them.  Customers still aren’t clear on the commitment to endpoint management.  And to be fair Symantec is really focused on Windows.  Understanding the market demographics, one can see this, but it’s always important to remember that when it comes to endpoint management, cross-platform is reality.

And what of our friends at Microsoft?  They have worked hard to build SCCM.  It’s a decent enough offering, so long as you like the idea of being handcuffed to Microsoft.  And you need a lot of hardware.  It’s big.  From a value delivery perspective, it’s not a contest.  Engage your Endpoint Management specialist with your customers to understand how this fits the customer specifically, or more particularly, how we fit better.

Now is the ideal time to be aggressive in going after the competition.  They did this when we re-architected, and it’s time to return the favour.

So what makes ZENworks better than the alternatives?

ZENworks has evolved significantly since the version 7 code base, and even since the first cut of the ZENworks 10 release.  It is technically richer than anything out in the market and also follows the ITIL model in design and delivery.  ITIL is on the requirements list for every large and very large organization and has received enough impetus that small and medium business are putting ITIL on their requirements list.  All of the North American Endpoint Management team have achieved ITIL certification and the rest of the End User Computing team will also be certified this year.  This is not like other certifications, you cannot buy “answers” or challenge the exam and hope to pass.  It’s hard work and when you understand the ITIL framework, it’s easy to show how a solution like ZENworks, by aligning to the ITIL framework, creates incredible customer value.

When customers and prospects look at the UI from the competitors they’ll see a mishmash.  Looks and function matter – ask Apple.  Our solutions have a brilliantly intuitive UI framework.  It’s role based, easy to use, delivers dynamic links and provides a much higher usability index.  Customers like the deliverable of single agent, single console.

ZENworks uses a single database schema that does not require the implementer to have a bucket of SQL server skills.  ZENworks doesn’t have a preferred frame of reference, the engine runs on Windows and on Linux, the database can be Sybase (included), SQL Server or Oracle.  The full version of the industry standard Admin Studio that builds application packages is included.  We include the Business Objects reporting engine that has over 25 years of proven industry success. Why is this so important? Because we all know we will be called upon to prove value in an easily consumed way.

Organizations are aggressively building their plans for Windows 7.  We have more proven capabilities in this space than any other offering.  We all need to be asking customers about their plans for Windows 7.  If they are planning to migrate to Windows 7 look at the ZENworks Trifecta.  Presentations have been done and there is a posted netcast at discussing this program.  If the organization is not moving to Windows 7, ZENworks is a great set of solutions to help them get the house in better shape.

The ZENworks family has a number of components that provide enormous function level values.  ZENworks Configuration Management, ZENworks Application Virtualization, ZENworks Asset Management, ZENworks Endpoint Security Management, ZENworks Handheld Management, ZENworks Linux Management, ZENworks Network Access Control, ZENworks Patch Management, ZENworks USB/Wireless Security are all the members (so far!) of the ZENworks family.  Customers and prospects face business challenges every day that are resolved by one or more of these components.  If you aren’t cognizant of the value proposition of each component, please reach out to your local Endpoint Management specialist and to Enablement Central to get up to speed.

There’s more coming too.  In this fiscal year, you’ll see additional value being added through new components and enhancements to existing solutions.  ZENworks is the best choice today, and tomorrow.

So as they used to say on Saturday morning TV, “and now you know”.  And with half the battle won, let’s get out there and win the other half.

Until next time, peace.  More or less.  Ok peace after the battle is won by us. Toss out the lipstick tube and let the pig go.


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