We are not your father’s software company: Novell

Having built up its reputation on products such as ZENworks, the software giant looks towards mobility going forward

If it seems like the old Novell is gone, then recent developments at the software company may be viewed as a comeback of sorts.

Novell product management and marketing vice president, Eric Varness, spoke about the company’s technology roadmaps, strategies and future directions at the appropriately titled Novell re:connect event in Sydney.

When it came to addressing whether the Novell of the past is in fact gone, Varness sees it being “a bit of yes and no” case.

“There are aspects of Novell that are back and we continue to serve in the market, but other things have gone away,” he said.

He explains that Novell has products and technologies that are grounded in “sound engineering principles” that continue to “deliver value to customers,” so that longstanding characteristic of Novell is still “very strong and healthy.”

However, he admits there are other aspects of Novell, such as “hindrances” related to being a public company, that have either changed or are gone.

“Some of the negative aspects of this is that over the years Novell lost touch with some of its traditional customers,” Varness said.

At the same time, Varness feel that issue is disappearing as well.

“We have re-engaged with those customers and are now going out there and talking to them more to meet their needs, locally and around the world,” he said.

Many users in the IT industry have long associated Novell with its ZENworks line of products, in no part due to the success of the solutions.

Different opinions

While Varness says that there are different opinions on what Novell may have been about, he admits that ZENworks as a brand was a key aspect to the company’s success in the past

“However, Novell over the years has been much more than just end point management, which is the solution the ZENworks brand became known for,” he said.

“Certainly, our file and networking services were also part of the Novell brand.”

Look forward, Varness says that ZENworks will continue to be a critical part of the Novell brand and the portfolio of solutions the company pushes to the market.

“ZENworks provides people with the ability to manage end points and help organisations deliver productivity to their end users,” he said.

“At the same time, our solutions around mobility, file and print services will still be a key part of Novell going forward.”

An area that the Novell of today is focusing on is trends such as BYOD and the mobile workforce resulting from the the rapid take-up of smartphones, tablets and other mobile devices.

As a result, Varness says that the most notable development for Novell in recent months was the release of the ZENworks mobile device management (MDM) solution at the end of July.

“Organisations around the globe are struggling right now as the mobility trends continue to impact them," he said.

"They want to allow their end users to experience the productivity that is associated with mobility without putting the enterprise, sensitive data and end users at risk."

Varness sees Novell’s MDM solution helping organisations to deliver mobile productivity, “regardless of the device they are using in a secure and manageable way.”

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