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Novell president plots company's return

Joab Jackson | April 10, 2013
This month, Novell will begin seeking new customers again

"Some of the core products -- those that were generating the most amount of revenue and had the largest installed base -- were actually receiving the least amount of attention internally, because they weren't products that could drive up shareholder value," he said.

Flynn didn't mention what these products were, though, in the acquisition, Attachmate, which is a holding company, split the teams managing the Novell NetIQ security management and Suse Linux distribution product brands off as their own stand alone divisions.

And since Attachmate took Novell private, Novell has concentrated on ensuring that existing customers are satisfied with their Novell experience. It also channeled the company's engineering expertise into strengthening its core products, notably the NetWare successor Open Enterprise Server, the Zenworks configuration management software, and GroupWise. "We want to leverage the strength of Novell from a technology standpoint," Flynn said.

Overall, the company will focus on the technology areas it knows best and for which it is best known -- file, networking and print management, collaboration, and endpoint management. "We want to continue to stay within those categories, but we want to modernize those technologies," Flynn said.


The company faces formable competitors, however. Novell's GroupWise, for instance, must compete against IBM Connections, Jive Software's offerings, and Microsoft's Lync, Exchange, Outlook and Yammer. "There are heavy hitters in this space, which are putting a lot of money into strong customer acquisition and customer loyalty efforts," Park said. "Novell has some interesting pieces, but they must play catch up."

Since being purchased by Attachmate, the company has issued 86 product release updates. It unveiled some new and updated technologies at its annual BrainShare users conference in February. There, the company demonstrated a significantly upgraded version of File Reporter, which is software that reports on file usage and security. The newly released version 2 integrates access rights into the reports, drawing user information from Microsoft Active Directory and Novell's own eDirectory.

"We're really expanding the capabilities of what we can report on with this product. Not only can we report on what is being stored and accessed, and how old the files are, but also who has access rights to these particular files," said Buck Gashler, a Novell marketing manager.

Are these efforts enough? Some say the company is still not doing enough in emerging spaces such as mobile and the cloud.

"Overall, I think Novell is on the right track but if it is to survive and thrive, the company needs to successfully transform itself to meet new these challenges," King concluded.

Flynn admits that the company doesn't have the resources yet to pursue all the major trends in the marketplace. The company has been busily expanding its products, such as iPrint, for mobile and BYOD ("bring your own device") usage. But Novell still needs to catch up with the IT industry's shift to cloud computing.


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