St George is dumping GroupWise too


We didn’t realise it when we broke the news that Westpac would be finally dumping IBM’s troubled Lotus Notes platform for a Microsoft solution, but it’s not just Lotus that’s getting the turf. Courtesy of its merger with St George, Westpac also has a substantial number of staff using Novell’s even *less* popular GroupWise suite. That, too, will be being replaced, according to a number of tips today and this report by iTNews:

“Westpac’s retail arm had been “locked in to a very old version of Lotus Notes for a very long time”, McKinnon said, while St George ran on Novell GroupWise and BT Financial Services used Microsoft Exchange.”

And St George isn’t the only organisation still using GroupWise. According to comments posted under our recent article on NSW Health’s decision to ditch the Novell platform, Queensland Health and the NSW Department of Finance & Services are also still tied to the Novell shackle.

Now, we don’t want to give people the wrong idea (after the sledload of criticism we received following our last GroupWise post). GroupWise, in its time, was a great suite, with a number of standout features that were ahead of its time. With its roots back in the 1980’s, for many years GroupWise was a leading collaboration suite. Web access to an email platform in 1996? Who would have thunk it?

However, as with Lotus Notes, GroupWise has not been updated fast enough to take advantage of enterprise collaboration trends, and we hear regular complaints from those who are forced to use it in a corporate environment. In 2011, most large organisations should be switching to the industry standard Microsoft Outlook/Exchange platform, or, if you want to placate your growing Generation Y workforce, take a look at Google Apps. Using GroupWise these days is a recipe for alienating valuable staff.

The fact that large Australian government departments and banks are still using GroupWise today says more about the glacial speed of technological change in those organisations than it does about the veracity of GroupWise as a modern platform.

Image credit: a4gpa, Creative Commons


  1. Hi Renai,

    Thanks for rectifying some of the things said ealier on in the ohter post. I can understand the perception you have of GroupWise. Which IMO is unfounded and you didnt read the specs of the product well enough. Or was just waiting for folks tor reply. That is what I dislike the most in your articles, this one as well, the perception that you have is what you make believe your readers.

    Like said before, the costs of the what you like to call ” taking advantage of the enterprise collaboration trends ” are – if you see Exchange as the answer to that – extremely high, compared to GroupWise. On hardware, software, training, support knowledge, and is …. IMO … in many case a deciscion made by a new CIO or CxO, who believes it’s time to decide and to change. Without thinking twice. While the features are quite comparable.

    True, GroupWIse is not looking like MS Office. Outlook is ” for free ” for MS Office users That’s what I like to call Microsoft’s trojan horse. MS has been corrected by a lot of juridical decisions on using Windows and MS Office for unfair marketing. MS ” owns ‘ the desktop, hence if Windows comes with a product like that of a competitor why would the user believe in buying the seperate product?.

    Microsoft plays this to the edge of what’s possible knowing that it can afford it as long as the products still keep selling. Think twice. Think if having one vendor, for all software is a good thing or that you might become dependent on one vendor. A vendor that has to patch and fix each product on a monthly basis.

    If you’re saying is that a company can show off saying look how great we are doing cause WE GOT EXCHANGE then that is just pityful, it’s a shame to having such a view on modern IT management. And therefor saying that it’s is good thing makes you also to blame.


  2. So now not only is the author spreading additional FUD about GroupWise using outdated information, but when people comment on the article clearing matters up he deletes them. Interesting.

    At any rate, to say GroupWise isn’t updated fast enough shows that the author isn’t keeping up with GroupWise. GroupWise today has ActiveSync without third-party software, and it integrates with SharePoint, SugarCRM, and again without third-party software. RIM fully supports GW with the latest versions of BES available for GW in addition to Exchange. Novell even has their own teaming/collaboration solution for those who would rather go that route than to try and integrate GW with SharePoint. The next version of GW, due out by the end of the year, will have iPad templates for those who wish to use GroupWise WebAccess in a fashion optimized for the iPad (rather than syncing with ActiveSync which currently works quite well). Heck, at least one vendor–Novacoast–offers a hosted GW solution for those who would rather put their GW infrastructure in the cloud.

    Now, if you want to say that some GW customers haven’t updated their GW systems fast enough to keep up with collaboration trends, I believe that. In many cases customers forget about their Novell infrastructure because of the fact that it just keeps working, so they are unable to take advantage of new features such as ActiveSync or the latest BES. But the technology itself from Novell continues to evolve as collaboration evolves, and now with Attachmate affirming their commitment to GroupWise it’s quite likely that GW improve even more than it already has.

    Perhaps the author should go to, grab the latest GW8 code, and personally see what’s available today. Then go on to the Novell Communities site and read the blog from Dean Lythgoe, director of GW engineering, and see the new features coming in the next version.

    • Re: deleting comments, we don’t tolerate personal attacks on authors or other commenters on Delimiter; regardless of the rest of the post. We try to keep things polite ;)

  3. I noticed that Gregg’s comment has been deleted. While his language was strong, his comments were not incorrect. Other publications have been recently chastised for not understanding the products being talked about, not researching issues, etc. A big one last week was

    It’s important to know your topic or risk being called to the carpet for not having your facts straight.

    The facts are that GroupWise continues to be developed. Most sites that get a huge “boost” by migrating elsewhere have simply let their GroupWise systems languish, and so a change seems new and fresh. GroupWise supports three different server OSs, and multiple desktop OSs (it’s not just a Windows world any longer).

    Perhaps you are simply trying to stir the pot. I don’t know. But there will be many who will insist you get the facts right.


    • Hey Danita, describing the author as a “liar” or posting other personal attacks has always been a way to get your comment deleted quickly on Delimiter, regardless of the content of the rest of the post. Our regular commenters know to stay on topic.

      • I don’t see the word “liar” in Danita’s comment anywhere. It appears you’ve made another “assumption” here. As a reporter, I expect you to do due diligence before writing a piece (something lacking in the American media these days) and I think that is all Danita and the rest are pointing out here.

        For example, do you realize that there is definite road map for GroupWise? New versions are already in progress and new technologies are being integrated along the way? Perhaps you should have a chat with the PM for GroupWise. I’m sure he’d be happy to talk to you. And if you don’t know how to reach him, shoot me an email, I’ll be happy to introduce you.

  4. “Staying on Topic”? — hmmm, if the topic is “blatantly-unfounded and technically-slanderous articles against non-Microsoft products”, then please consider me “off-topic”, already!

    As a 15-year expert in custom Lotus Notes workflow applications, I know the powerful magic easily available via the Lotus Notes platform, where email is just a small part of the full system for automating the entire spectrum of the unique information flow within any organization.

    Interesting to note: years ago, I worked with a major vendor of “enterprise software”, which itself relied on Lotus Notes to handle the fast-changing requirements of its own enterprise information — not able to “eat it’s own cooking” for effective enterprise solutions.

    Also, Google Apps, now with Google Apps Script, is a very worthwhile platform, already — yet it is only just beginning to approach the elegant integration which Lotus Notes delivered 20 years ago, even before it fully matured (with v4).

    At v8, Lotus Notes is without a doubt a highly-capable platform.

    One last note on Microsoft: just do a web-search on University of Nebraska and $250,000 — to see how Microsoft is bidding for Lotus Notes business.

    The question is begged: where else is Microsoft spending money, in this heated competition?

  5. So the question must be asked:

    Is Notes or Groupwise a deader platform?

    Obviously people complain about Notes more than they complain about Groupwise, but I suspect that is because no actual living Groupwise user has managed to get themselves onto the internet yet.

    OTOH, it’s funny when people try and complain about Notes – they get the far-away look in their dead, dead eyes, words fail them, and they shuffle off to listen to their Notes admins tell them how POWERFUL Notes is.

    Exchange uses swear mostly about stupid quotas, and about how they can’t find anything when they switched to Outlook 2010

  6. I am fuming to much to provide a fair and structured rebuttal…All I can say right now is go and get your bloody facts straight before you open your mouth and remove all doubt! I have many coporate clients very happy with Groupwise.

  7. Hey Renal,

    IMO, Rarely (in my experience) are email system changes made for valid BUSINESS reasons. Its something like the Godfather says.. MS makes you an offer that you cant refuse. But if you say GroupWise systems are migrated because of performance reasons, I don’t buy it. I am sure there are lot of others who will concur. When you say Industry standard Microsoft Exchange.. I believe you never came out of your Microsoft industry :P. When you say “GroupWise has not been updated fast enough to take advantage of enterprise collaboration trends” its evident that you know nothing about GroupWise. Banks trust GroupWise because its the most secure email platform. Ever heard of Groupwise hacked??? I can give you 100+ details on exchange hacks in the past. oops may be someone is hacking one somewhere right now!!

    Bring in the cost factor and I can just laugh at you if you say Microsoft exchange is cheaper!!! About new GW implementations in Australia, I would suggest that you do some “Investigative Journalism” every journalist does. It’s interesting ;)

    As a Journalist who has a wide access to information, If you are unable to find them.. let me know I will help you ;) Cheers!!

    – Venky

  8. Here is some additional information someone recently posted on the state of GroupWise in Australia.

    “I do have several accounts here who have made heavy investments into Novell products, most of which I can’t name due to NDA’s. Although I cant name the customer, one of my best chargers have java developers doing some really cool stuff interfacing Vibe On-Prem worklfows into their java based ERP system. They have always been right up with the latest versions, they run Groupwise 8 SP2HP2 on OES2 Linux x64, Datasync, Vibe, Access Manager, Zenworks Enterprise 11, Messenger, Identify Manager and all in a virtualised environment. I also have another local Government who are displacing Lotus Notes for Vibe and Groupwise. We also encourage all our Novell customers to upgrade/migrate to the latest version, but some simply do not wish to as they have a perfectly stable environment that costs relatively little to maintain, and basically say “It’s not broke, why fix it?”.

    “Most of the reason that many organizations in Australia have migrated away from Novell is that Microsoft has bribed (sorry paid incentives to) or otherwise rewarded many large Novell partners to become purely Microsoft partners and to actively “encourage” Novell customers to move to Microsoft. And I mean “encourage” by way of seeding FUD, scare mongering, bribery (sorry incentives), targeted CIO level brain washing (sorry marketing) etc etc etc. After all doing a conversion to Microsoft is big $ to the ex-Novell Microsoft partners in terms of licensing and service revenue. After the conversion the partner will generally score all the extra services revenue associated with maintaining an up-to-date Microsoft environment. I know that even in our companie’s case that we would be lucky to hear from some Novell customers once in a blue moon, but we have engineers at many Microsoft sites one day per week just to keep things running smoothly. We find that if a Microsoft powered sit
    e is not maintained and managed it is inevitable that it will break down.

    “Many organizations here shifted with no business reason (compelling or otherwise), and only made the shift due to one of the reasons above. A particular favorite we see here is as soon as a new IT Manager, CIO, or some such level person arrives on the scene, the first thing they want to do is change the landscape to leave their mark, and of course Novell is an easy target. We have seen new CIO level types spend $400k+ in consulting alone on a Microsoft conversion with no business case, no budget, and actually end up losing functionality that they had before the conversion. And the reason for that particular customer moving was that the new CIO was used to Outlook and didn’t like the Groupwise interface, sounds like a good reason to spend $400k+, NOT! Mind you the customer at the time was still on Groupwise 6 and Netware and had spent bugger all on IT in four years. Still, we offered to upgrade them with an all new virtualized platform including servers, SAN, VMWare, Linux, Gr
    oupwise 8, consulting included for about $200k. The customer ended up spending close to $750k with new MS licensing, vmware, hardware, consulting (with another company) for no business reason. They even told us many times that they had “no budget” to update the hardware and software or pay consulting costs to do it, despite them having up-to-date Novell maintenance.”

  9. Your statements regarding both Lotus Notes and Novell GroupWise are unsubstantiated. You provide no supporting evidence for statements like “as with Lotus Notes, GroupWise has not been updated fast enough to take advantage of enterprise collaboration trends”. Like what, for instance?

    Perhaps I could say “Exchange has less than half the features of Notes and GroupWise, yet costs twice as much”. Without some substantiating evidence to support my claim, the statement has no credibility. It appears that the above article lacks credibility as well.

  10. Wow. Who let the troll out? Hash-rinse-repeat. I. After working in the wpac group specifially under sgb I can say first hand that Groupwise. Sucks. Bad.

    Power to your opinion Renai!

Comments are closed.