Conference Notes

Novell's "Best of Brainshare 2008 Road Show" Comes to Christchurch (May 27, 2008)

Novell is here in Christchurch today, bringing the “Best of Brainshare 2008” to the local market and the rest of the South Island. Given their recent acquisition of SiteScape (in March), and the work around Novell Teaming + Conferencing, I am here to listen and learn. First up is a keynote by Craig Wiley, and then Brett Williams is talking about Novell’s collaboration work. There are a series of talks for the rest of the day — about Linux, Endpoint Security and Identity Management — but I won’t be staying for that.

Ross McKenzie is the MC for the day; he’s from Novell in Wellington. There’s about 40-50 people here.

Notes on “Novell Keynote” (Craig Wiley)
Craig is the Director – Technical Specialists, from Novell in Australia. The purpose of the keynote is to talk to the idea of “Making IT Work as One”. This is the overarching presentation, that will tie together the main ideas from the various product business units.

Craig started with a Nicholas Carr quote: “The history of IT in business has been a history of increased interconnectivity and interoperability.” This has been a positive move, but there is a need for vendors to help more with this.

Going forward, the CIOs of our businesses are keen on:
– delivering better service to customers
– improving business processes
– contributing to new business processes
– cutting costs
– coming up with innovative, new services
– generating new business
– improving workforce productivity
– ensuring business continuity
– complying with regulatory requirements
– differentiating through the use of IT

Novell takes a two-pronged approach as a corporate strategy:
– (1) enterprise-wide Linux — through SUSE Enterprise Linux (desktop to data center, platform for growth, and platform for innovation); and
– (2) IT management software … The key to what Novell has been doing for 25 years. This includes open source and mixed environments, integrated and interoperable, and simplified management.

What all of this gives is … AGILITY. IT agility is a common thread through a number of key business use cases:
– pursuing new business opportunities
– the mobile worker and detached workforce
– compliance and the nimble business
– empowering the flat enterprise (let’s us team in a much more fluid way)
– the multi-company project (cross-business virtual teams)
– the life and times of the new virtual team
– merger, acquisiton and reorganization
– the lean, green computing machine

Add to this picture the mega-technology trends:
– high-capability computing
– policy engine
– orchestration
– convergence
– mobility
– the emergence of new collaboration tools and services, eg, Facebook, MySpace. “Email is for old people”.
– free and open source software … Speeds up the process of developing software, gets around the interoperability problems, makes it more secure. “IT works together, because we built it together”

The “Fossa Project” … An initiative within Novell to help engineers think better about interoperability. A Fossa (the animal) is very agile, both physically and mentally.

Novell’s Technical Vision:
– an IT end user introduces a workload to the IT environment. Eg, email send and receive
– the IT infrastructure needs a policy engine, virtualization (both physical distributions and virtual distributions), identity management, orchestration (to automatically move workloads around, eg, at night, move work to fewer servers and power down the excess to save power), compliance, collaboration (“25 years ago, Novell invented the F drive”)
– the Fossa project aims to deal with all of this.

Craig says that Novell sees open-source is a key catalyst:
– collaboration, eg, ICEcore, Samba, Apache, Novell iFolder
– core, eg, Linux kernel, openSUSE, GCC
– management, eg, Ganglia, Open WS-MAN, Eclipse
– identity

The Fossa project road map:
– announced in March 2008
– by Summer 2008, will have an architecture document and white papers
– for FY2009, detailed project road maps, architectural details and refinements
– ongoing … Standards, partnerships, product announcements, etc.

On the Linux front, Novell is working to make it easier and easier to get software rolled out. Eg, get SAP pre-installed on a Linux appliance, so SAP can be installed within a few hours rather than 4 weeks.

Novell believes that it is uniquely positioned to lead in the industry, with its two-pronged approach. Both are needed.

Key announcements at Brainshare:
– acquisition of PlateSpin, in March 2008. Focus is on moving from the physical world to a virtual world, and doing it in a smart way. Have combined (and are combining) the PlateSpin technology with existing Novell technology, eg ZENworks
– SAP and SUSE … 100 joint customers with 5000 installations. Formal partnership for customer support.
– interoperability agreement with Microsoft, for better collaboration and interoperability between Windows and Linux. Includes: technical co-creation and development, intellectual property agreements. The technical collaboration encompasses virtualization, systems management, directory and identity interoperability, document format compatibility, Moonlight (extending Silverlight to Linux and other platforms), and accessibility

– Novell is committed to working with others to achieve customer success.
– This is the strategy of “Making IT Work as One”

Notes on “Power of Social Networks and Collaboration” (Brett Williams)

Video, with the final line, “Work is an activity, not a location”

– Market Trends
– What is Collaboration
– Tools for Collaboration
– The Foundation

Enabling trends:
– “collaboration-minded” IT infrastructure
– open source and open standards
– Web 2.0 and social software (the Internet used to be about published; Web 2.0 is about everyone else talking back)
– unified communications (all communications from one place)
– user expectations (young people expect a different way of working than email culture)

Adoption forecasts … A Gartner quote, that “social software is the biggest trend in the enterprise”

There are a whole series of new tools on the Internet: MySpace, Facebook, Webshots, Yahoo 360, last-fm, digg, and many more.

Collaboration in the work place … On paper we have a nice organization chart, but the reality is that we don’t work like that. We work with others as we need to; we cross the boundaries in the chart to get the work done. Social Network Analysis shows us who is connected to who else. Can see who the cornerstones to the communication within the organization; often see that the Admin staff are key, and managers are on the outside.

What is Collaboration?
– Bringing people together to work on a common task.
– drivers of collaboration … Globalization, mergers and partnerships, homeworkers and outsourcing, knowledge-led workforces, competitive advantage, environmental impact
– Challenges: (a) 91% of enterprise employees work outside of traditional HQ locations, yet ony 43% of companies have a mobility strategy; and (b) 47% of executives think that CO2 emissions will become a major factor in determining travel verses online meetings.
– the power of networked teams … Able to pull together a self-organized community from across the organization. Can tap into a broader talent base. Enables lower transaction costs between organizations. Results in more innovation at a lower cost.

Our work reality? Co-located teams are a relic of the past; how do we bring virtual teams back to the level of high performing teams?

The culture of collaboration:
– two different cultures … (a) individuals rewarded for success, vs. (b) companies that promote sharing of information, trust over fear, and community over isolation
– the appointment of a Chief Collaboration Officer … Vital to successful collaboration. Key tasks: leads the adoption of new collaboration tools, training and culture shifts, self-provisioning, working with IT to facilitate business needs, and more.
– without a culture of collaboration, the best processes, tools and leadership strategies will fall flat

Many types of collaboration tools:
– workspaces, instant messaging, email, audio conferencing, web conferencing, desktop video conferencing, video conferencing, telepresence, telepresence, face-to-face

What are the business reasons for collaboration?
– increase innovation, eg, the BMW way of releasing a new vehicle faster and quicker
– attract and recruit the best people
– develop employees and increase their skill sets
– take advantage of available resources
– align expertise
– improve productivity

The IT view, on collaboration tools:
– knowledge workers are more productive and satisfied
– ability to lead innovation
– flexible and interoperable technologies
– competitive, TCO and how to sell information
– lower cost and secure and reliable solutions

Novell’s technical go-to-market approach:
– identity-driven team collaboration
– communication tools (voice, IM and chat, presence)
– creation (blogs, wikis, document management and sharing)
– management (workflow, action item management, meeting and calendar management)
– discussions (threaded discussions, web conferencing)

Open Innovation approach:
– ICEcore … A community-driven collaboration work on collaboration software.
– Novell Work Group … Adds enterprise capabilities (email server integration, search and indexing server integration, etc.)

The Novell Work Group stack:
– Real-Time Collaboration (Novell Teaming + Conferencing)
– Team Workspaces and Social Networking (Novell Teaming)
– Email and calendaring (GroupWise)
– Desktop Productivity (SUSE Linux Enterprise Desktop)
– Collaboration-Minded Infrastructure (Open Enterprise Server)

Next release of GroupWise “Bonsai”:
– calendar coordination (calendar publication, calendar subscription, iCal standard)
– contact management
– task management (task items, checklist items that integrate to the calendar and sync to BlackBerry, Teaming tasks that come from Novell Teaming to GroupWise)
– new multi-platform clients (Mac and Linux clients work the same as the Windows client … Feature parity)
– interface simplification
– enhanced WebAccess (eg, a move away from Fat Clients, embracing the Web browser)
– SOAP and XML integration (much better integration)
– “Bonsai” is due for public beta in 3Q2008, with 4Q for release.
– “Monterrey” (the edition of GroupWise after Bonsai), is due for full commercial release in 2011. Key ideas: much tighter integration with Teaming + Conferencing, directory agnostic

Team Workspaces:
– secure access to collaborative team information
– interoperability with current collaboration solutions
– social networking capabilities
– Novell Teaming features … Nested workspaces, Personal spaces, Folders (document management, discussion forum, blog, wiki, calendar appointments, surveys, other templates or custom ones), Search, Workflow, and Custom Forms
– end user drag-and-drop environment for creating forms and workflow.
– Novell Conferencing features … Meeting management, Instant Messaging, Voice over IP, application and desktop sharing, whiteboarding, presence. Meetings can be recorded and stored for later access.

Integration between GroupWise Bonsai and Novell Teaming:
– viewing teaming spaces in panels
– subscribe to folders with RSS panels
– mail and calendar portlets for Liferay
– browse teaming spaces
– subscribe to teaming calendars
– send from GroupWise to teaming space members
– … After Bonsai … Unify appointments, spaces and online meetings, post items

Roadmap for Teaming + Conferencing:
– Service Pack 3 has just shipped
– Beta of “Maynard” release in 3Q2008
– Full release of “Maynard” in 4Q2008 (more social networking, Mac client)
– “Reston” release in mid-2009.

Demo of Collaboration Technology:
– more panelization of the GroupWise interface.
– tasks … Able to personalize tasks, eg, “My Subject”, “My Notes”, categories, links to people. Able to nest tasks.
– calendaring … Multiple calendars (publish and subscribe)
– contact management … Able to link to the personal workspace in Novell Teaming, multi-protocol instant messaging via the Pidgen project, free busy URL address, view of address location via Google Maps integration, history of communication and interaction
– WebAccess … Scroll through the Inbox, drag-and-drop, right click for contextual menu, drag-and-drop a meeting in the calendar, auto-recovery when a browser fails
– Teaming demo … Leaves documents in the file store where they are saved, and then displays it within the Teaming interface. There is a synchronization process that runs to do this. If someone is in a browser-only environment, documents will open within the browser window, rather than forcing someone to have the full application installed. Versioning is automatically done on saved files, and presence is shown in the properties box.

The Foundation to Novell’s Collaboration Strategy:
– Open Enterprise Server 2 … All of the Netware services that we have known for 25 years are now running in Linux. Plus, full 64-bit support.
– Service Pack 1 will be coming later this year. New features: 64-bit eDirectory, new protocol stacks for Apple File Protocol and CIFS. Also Domain Services for Windows — makes eDirectory on Linux look and act like an Active Directory. Upgrades to various other things — iFolder 3.7 (file synchronization)

Categories: Conference Notes