Former giant revives glory days

Former giant revives glory days

Networking software vendor Novell is looking to reinvent itself behind its directory competencies through its latest One Net strategy.

Facing a declining share price on one side and traditional customers unsure of its future direction on the other, Novell is revamping its offerings around e-Directories, a software suite designed to facilitate customer interaction over the Web.

Code named DENIM (Directory Enabled Net Infrastructure Model) the new strategy signals the vendor's attempt to "move beyond the firewall", said Novell's Australian managing director, Cliff Smith.

It is designed to be the "plumbing" which enables organisations to use disparate data sources, including those located within other organisations, for e-business transactions and queries - in essence, a seamless interface to all networks.

DENIM is positioned around three core functions including Net management across all business applications regardless of LAN/WAN or Internet, content delivery/access independent of data location and portal services to provide integration across shared e-business applications.

Novell's One Net strategy operates across all operating platforms including Windows 2000, NT, Unix, Solaris and NetWare as well as with a plethora of business and Web applications.

The move signals a significant change of tactic from the vendor who was once head to head with Microsoft.

Corbin de Rubertis, vice president of Novell's eBusiness Group, who's heading up the DENIM spearhead into the open market, was in Australia recently and admitted the company was looking to partner its way to success rather than owning the market outright.

"It comes from the recognition that we can't do everything ourselves. No one can offer a truly end-to-end solution," Rubertis said. "I'm getting four or five calls a day from developers I've never even heard of saying we can solve all your problems. Novell is no longer offering the whole solution, but is working with new-look vendors."

Rubertis did assert that while a large proportion of US companies were having to "rip and replace" substantial infrastructure investments to meet the growing demands and complexities of a maturing Internet commerce market, Australian organisations are in a better position to "get this right".

The One Net strategy comes at a time when some industry pundits are touting that directories are back in fashion, however Novell will have a challenge on its hands when it comes to educating a market left cold by recent uncertainty as to the company's flagship competencies.

Smith attempted to dispel any speculation that the company has been floundering in its product direction over the past few years. He claims it was a case of "natural evolution" which reflected the current marketplace at the time.

While Smith maintains Novell's revenues have never dropped, he expects NetWare to plateau at around 20 per cent of the company's Australian revenues, allowing its new DENIM offerings to grow to around 20 per cent within a year.

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