Novell links GroupWise to the Internet

Novell Inc. last week unveiled an extension to its groupware product line designed to provide collaborative computing over the Internet.

Novell's GroupWise WebAccess is a server-based product that allows users to access their GroupWise mailboxes through any PC with an Internet connection and a Hypertext Markup Language 1.0-compliant Web browser. GroupWise is Novell's groupware package and the main software business the company will retain from its 1994 acquisition of WordPerfect Corp. Novell last week agreed to sell its PerfectOffice suite—which includes the flagship WordPerfect word processing package—to Corel Corp., Ottawa (see story, page 6).

The GroupWise WebAccess announcement follows by one week Lotus Development Corp.'s debut of Notes 4.0, which includes Internet features. "Every groupware vendor needs an Internet-compatibility strategy," said Linda Myers-Tierney, director of electronic work-place services with International Data Corp.

Eldon Greenwood, senior director of product management at Novell, said GroupWise WebAccess should appeal to the federal government's mobile workers. "There are all kinds of people who spend most of their time in legislative sessions or doing other types of work away from the office," he said. With GroupWise WebAccess, those workers would be able to use the "nearest PC" to tap into GroupWise's electronic mail, scheduling and voice-mail functions.

"For organizations supporting nomadic users or remote sites in a GroupWise implementation, [GroupWise WebAccess] makes sense," said Ronni Marshak, editor in chief of the "Workgroup Computing Report," a publication of The Patricia Seybold Group, Boston.

Greenwood said the GroupWise WebAccess product will be included on federal contracts already offering GroupWise. The National Archives and Records Administration, for example, uses GroupWise as part of its NARANet local-area network. NARANet was built under NARA's Integrated Communications and Administrative Support Systems contract.

He said the product will also be available through Novell's federal sales force and such federal resellers as Government Technology Services Inc. A GTSI spokesperson said the company is looking at the product and plans to support it.

With GroupWise WebAccess, Novell is putting a lot of emphasis on tapping the Intranet—a company's internal Internet-based network—for collaborative computing. "GroupWise can become an integral part of the Intranet," Greenwood said.

GroupWise WebAccess provides a single-box solution for organizations using a NetWare 4 server as an Internet server. The product can run on the same machine as NetWare, NetWare Web Server and the GroupWise message server, according to Novell. "This can reduce some of the hardware costs," Greenwood said.

In a two-box solution, a GroupWise WebAccess server can coexist with Unix, Microsoft Corp. Windows NT or IBM Corp. OS/2 Internet servers.

GroupWise WebAcccess, which is compatible with GroupWise 4.1 and the future GroupWise XTD product, will be released in the second quarter. The retail price for a 10-user pack is $249. A 50-user pack will cost $1,100, and a 100-user pack will cost $1,999.

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