Novell's newest incarnation of NetWare, at last ready for public beta tests, features improvements to iFolder, iPrint and iManage. It also adds Web services capabilities thanks to the company's acquisition of SilverStream Software.
Indeed, Novell has enhanced NetWare with some 20 new technologies and capabilities, including an improved directory search and integration tool and a server consolidation utility. Augmenting the product's feature set so heavily is a positive sign, but this behavior has been typical for the company in its product development over the past decade. So why is Novell still an afterthought?
Novell fared well in the enterprise when it produced primarily tactical solutions, such as file and print services. Technologists liked the company's stuff, and they drove the purchasing decisions for such products. But now Novell is trying to sell strategic solutions, such as directory services, identity management and Web services for business processes, and it's taking the case directly to CxOs.
Technologists still like Novell's technology, but they're not the sole decision makers for strategic purchases. In positioning itself as a potential strategic partner, Novell now has a different set of questions to answer--questions having to do with the company's financials, stock performance and market penetration. Unfortunately Novell's strategic answers aren't as compelling as its tactical solutions.
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