Novell's GroupWise Version 5.5, which made its debut at Brainshare in the US in March this year, continues to be a topic of conversation among users and channel partners. Thomas Rhoton, director of product marketing for Novell's GroupWare division, and Bill Mangum, product manager for the GroupWare division, recently sat down with IDG journalist Carol Neshevich to discuss GroupWise 5.5's new features, the most important of which were new document management capabilities, improvements in calendar functions and native Internet addressingIDG: With NDS (Novell Directory Services) being called a key part of Novell's strategy, how does GroupWise fit into the big picture?
Novell: GroupWise collaboration is one of the four pillars Novell is built on. It is the face of Novell to the customer, it is the piece of technology that takes and uses the platform and NDS fully. It leverages NDS. The management of GroupWise is done through NDS. So literally, I can add you to the network and give you a GroupWise account in about 20 seconds. You leverage your existing infrastructure.
What is your intranet strategy surrounding GroupWise?
The strategy is really the same for intranet and the Internet.
You can publish a document to your intranet and it will do it through open standards. GroupWise runs over IP - it runs fully client/server. So, for example, if you're talking about the publishing piece of it, you can say I want to share it with my intranet - everybody inside the firewall - or I want to share it with people outside. You can do that the same way using the same tool either side of the firewall. It does it through open standards.
What part does Java play in GroupWise?
Web access, the ability to do business searches, attaching files, personal address books, a number of aspects - the rich interface for the calendar, for example - are all Java-enabled. You can choose whether you are using the interface with the Java or not, but it enriches it quite a bit.
What are Novell's plans with regards to voice and video within GroupWise?
We already have the voice capability - what we've shipped before is phone access. We have some great partners there with the callware and the active voice - those partners that integrate very tightly, giving you rich functionality. We came out with what we call telephone access server back in 1994. With that technology we introduced reading your messages back to you. When it answers it says: "Good morning, so and so is not here, this is GroupWise, leave him a message." When it does that I get paged and I know I have a voice-mail on my high priority.
With video, there's no limit on what type of documents you can store here. We call them documents, but it's images, it's video, whatever. I think we will have more partners in that area as soon as it becomes wider used.
Do you have any comments on the recent Gartner Group study comparing ongoing costs of similar products?
The study shows cost per user for a three-year usable lifespan of Lotus Notes, of Netscape SuiteSpot, of Microsoft Exchange and GroupWise. And they've looked at it in three different areas: planning, implementation and ongoing maintenance costs for year after year.
On average it takes $US500 per user for Notes. It takes $US470 for Exchange, $US167 for Suite Spot, $US136 for GroupWise.
Administration costs are significantly less in GroupWise than anything else largely because of the fact that we tie in with NDS. That is an area where we are nine times less expensive than Exchange, and 10 times less expensive than Notes in the administration and ongoing maintenance costs, and that's primarily because we fit in with the existing infrastructure that's there already.
The cost of the software is irrelevant - it doesn't matter. What matters is how easy it is to install it, deploy it and maintain it. Those are the costs that make the purchasing price irrelevant.