Novell has decided to shut down its Web-hosted Vibe Cloud enterprise social collaboration suite, which bombed with customers although the market is hot for competing products.
Vibe Cloud will be taken offline at the end of September, and the plan is to progressively integrate its features and functionality into its on-premise cousin Vibe On Prem over a period of 12 to 18 months.
However, the product had weak adoption and currently has an installed base of less than 50 customers, all of them using the entry-level, free version, so Novell has decided to focus instead on beefing up Vibe On Prem.
The strategy is to pitch Vibe On Prem to existing customers of Novell's GroupWise enterprise messaging and collaboration suite, which has about 30 million end users. Vibe On Prem, formerly called Teaming, will be renamed simply Vibe after Vibe Cloud shuts down.
"We were fragmented in our approach to [enterprise social collaboration] and decided that it would be better to pull those strategies and resources together and try to build out the Vibe technology as one concerted effort," said Bob Flynn, Novell's president and general manager.
"We like the Vibe technology. There's added value in this technology if we can align it properly with our GroupWise customers, so we're looking at this as how we bring it to market in conjunction with Groupwise," Flynn said.
Competition in the cloud and on-premise enterprise social collaboration, productivity and communication market has been heating up in recent years. Key players include Google's Apps and Microsoft's Office 365, as well as competing products from IBM-Lotus, Cisco, VMware, Jive, Socialtext, Yammer, and Box.net.
Some vendors' suites are available only through a cloud model, like Google Apps, while others are pursuing a hybrid approach, like Microsoft with its cloud-based Office 365, which can sync up and interact with on-premise versions of its applications like Exchange, SharePoint, and Office. Novell's intention is to pursue the hybrid road by integrating Vibe Cloud functionality into Vibe On Prem.
"It's clear that organizations, as they look at collaboration platforms, are looking to have a hybrid strategy," said Eric Varness, vice president of products and marketing at Novell. That way, the enterprise social software is available via the cloud for remote, mobile employees, and on premise with added security and ability to tie into existing systems, he said.
Enterprise social software attempts to boost employee collaboration by adapting for workplace use social networking and social media features that have become popular in the consumer market through sites like Facebook and Twitter.