Novell boosts enterprise social networking

Enterprise software vendor Novell has added its Teaming collaboration software to its Open Workgroup Suite. The move is aimed at making it easier for companies to form ad-hoc teams or to set up knowledge-sharing initiatives, without the cost of installing specialist tools.

The new version of the suite will now include tools for companies that want to introduce a wide range of Web 2.0 style services, including team workspaces, enterprise social networking, workflows, blogs and wikis. The new tools will work with Novell's existing enterprise collaboration tools, and follows Novell's acquisition of open source collaboration vendor SiteScape earlier this year.

The extended suite will work with Linux, Novell NetWare and Windows-based servers, for companies using Novell Groupwise email and calendaring tools. Novell will also be producing a version of the suite that will work with "alternative" messaging platforms, as well as a suite without the Teaming additions.

The Novell products, as well as supporting NetWare and Linux environments, will be as much as 70 per cent cheaper than Windows-only competitors such as Microsoft Office SharePoint. However, Novell is by no means the only vendor to add such tools to its server offerings. Both Apple and IBM have bolstered their collaboration offerings recently, with releases such as Leopard Server and IBM's Lotus Team Workspace.

"As an upgrade to GroupWise, this makes logical sense, especially if it is seen as a response to things like Lotus Quickr," said Richi Jennings, a lead analyst at Ferris Research.

"But Novell's assertion on costs refers only to "acquisition" costs. However, the software price is usually a pretty small component of the total cost of ownership," he added. "The fact is that the GroupWise installed base these days is a shadow of its former self -- our recent survey indicates less than 5 per cent."