These enterprise social suites typically let employees create individual profiles with their contact and expertise information, as well as post messages, share links, comment on others' postings, edit shared documents, and add colleagues as contacts. Profiles usually feature activity streams with automated notifications of actions performed by contacts, such as when they share a link or post a comment.
These suites also usually provide IM chat functionality, discussion forums, blogs and wikis for end users, while IT administrators get management capabilities to establish usage policies and parameters and monitor their compliance.
Some suites have native email and office productivity applications, like Google Apps and Office 365, while other suites don't. It is expected that Google Apps will get a boost in its enterprise social capabilities when the new Google+ social networking site is adapted for workplace use.
Novell still hasn't decided on the specifics of how it's going to deal with Vibe Cloud customers, although it intends to talk to them about moving to Vibe On Prem, which costs $81 per user license plus $20 annually for priority maintenance, or $18 for standard maintenance. However, Vibe On Prem will not have cloud-based collaboration features by the time Vibe Cloud closes.
When Vibe Cloud was announced in late 2009, Novell was an independent company, but it is now part of Attachmate, where Novell recently gained a new management team and was reorganized.
Attachmate's Novell unit only contains Novell's end-user computing products, like Zenworks, GroupWise, File Management Suite, Open Enterprise Server and Vibe
Novell's Suse Linux operating system is being handled by another Attachmate unit specifically focused on it. Meanwhile, Novell's identity management, security and data center administration products like Identity Manager, Cloud Security Service, Sentinel, Cloud Manager, and Operations Center will be handled by Attachmate's NetIQ unit.
Flynn, a veteran Attachmate executive who took over as chief of the Novell unit about three months ago, said that Novell end-user computing products like GroupWise and Vibe suffered from a weak sales strategy.
By November, the Novell business unit will have a full sales team in place focused exclusively on its products, particularly GroupWise, Netware and its successor Novell Enterprise Server, and Zenworks, he said.
The Novell products are also getting a boost in engineering resources and staff. A priority for GroupWise will be to strengthen its support for mobile devices, so that end users can perform access it from more cell phones and tablets and perform more actions than they currently can.
"We're putting a major focus on the GroupWise product area. We've found in talking to customers that we need to update and bring currency to a very strong product that has lagged behind in terms of features and functionality associated with it, and make it a contemporary product," Flynn said.