blog It’s been a while since I’ve seen any Australian organisation of any kind have any words of praise for Novell’s ailing GroupWise collaboration suite. The trend is overwhelmingly that organisations are continually ditching it for alternatives, typically Microsoft’s Outlook/Exchange platform. Organisations such as Fire + Rescue NSW, the NSW Parliament, Queensland Health, St George Bank and NSW Health have all migrated off GroupWise over the past few years. However, if an article published by ZDNet is to be believed (we recommend you click here for the full yarn), at least one organisation is sticking with the Novell warhorse:
“TAFE Victoria in Holmesglen has not changed its messaging and collaboration platform since it moved from Netscape to Novell’s GroupWise almost 10 years ago — and doesn’t plan to do so any time soon. Instead, the TAFE plans to upgrade to GroupWise 2014 …”
When it comes to collaboration solutions, Australian educational institutions have tended to standardise on two platforms recently, both cloud-based — either Microsoft’s Outlook/Exchange option or Google’s Gmail option. And there’s a reason they’re popular. They’re cheap, standardised, SaaS-based and relatively easy to administer. They provide an interface people expect. They’re both solid options.
I don’t have anything against GroupWise per se on technical and user interface grounds (I’m sure it’s a good solution), and I don’t like to criticise organisations for their IT choices if they have a strong rationale for making those choices. However, the truth is that collaboration solutions, in large organisations, have become increasingly commoditised and standardised over the past half-decade.
In this case, I find it hard to believe that many in the IT industry will see Holmesglen TAFE’s decision to completely buck this industry trend and continue to use GroupWise as anything other than “brave” — an epithet few people who work in IT want to see attributed to themselves. When it comes to basic IT services such as collaboration, you don’t want your organisation to stick out too much: You want to go with the herd, take the accrued standardisation benefit and focus on investing in specialist areas which will actually deliver you a competitive advantage.
It will be interesting to see how this implementation is going a few years down the track when email/collaboration platforms are even more commoditised and standardised than they already are.
Of course, it’s possible I am completely wrong about this. I will welcome divergent opinions in the comments section below this article. GroupWise fan? Tell me why it’s better than Outlook/Exchange and Gmail. This will help inform my opinion in future. Just be polite ;)