Few people in the GroupWise community will not have come across Danita – the GroupWise Goddess no less – and recognise her for her product expertise. Her upgrade guides and recommendations (available from www.caledonia.com) are essential for any administrator faced with those tasks. Open Horizons Magazine got to speak to her at the recent Open Horizons Summit in Budapest.
DZ: I’ve been so happy to see everyone together! It’s been a few years since I’ve been able to attend a GroupWise event, and this one seems to be truly exceptional. I’ve been especially happy with meeting new folks from Micro Focus, as well as seeing a lot of “old” friends.
OHM: You’ve been co-presenting with Scott Clayton on the features of the GW client. What do you see as the most significant enhancements?
DZ: Scott and I did a live presentation on the many new features of the GW client. Some of the best enhancements in my mind have to do with making what is important to the user more noticeable. Remove the clutter and put settings closer to the user for immediate changing and customisation.
OHM: Do you think most users realise or use many of the features? Do people these days want a simple email client or a productivity tool with a Swiss army knife package of facilities?
DZ: There are obviously two different types of users that fit into each of the categories you have mentioned, but I’ve found that GroupWise users seem to demand more of their email client. Having admins in our workshop was encouraging, because if we can impart to the admins what the best features are, they can facilitate getting this info to the users at large!
OHM: The email market has changed significantly over the last two decades. If you could go back to the year 2000 what would be your advice to the GW product management team of that time?
DZ: The biggest changes I’ve seen have to do indeed with increased technology. As a Mac user, I’m biased no doubt, but I see the lack of a full-featured Mac client as very short-sighted.
Also, with the move to cloud storage, especially of documents, having a way to send “attachments” that are simply a link to a storage location is being done by some of the smallest of email client providers. I think these would be good areas to focus on.
OHM: You’ve assisted countless GW administrators over the years, either through consultancy or through your publications. What are the most common mistakes and mis-understandings that people make regarding GroupWise?
DZ: I think, unfortunately, most people take GroupWise for granted. It’s always there, works fairly effortlessly, and is easy to “overlook”. There have been numerous times when a client has chosen to move to another email platform only to say “I didn’t know this was a feature unique to GroupWise” when either the users or admins start grumbling. Taking GroupWise for granted seems to be a common issue.
OHM: 3 good, 3 bad. What are the best and worst bits of GroupWise?
DZ: Well for the good points:
- GroupWise Mobility Service – I don’t know anyone who doesn’t love it.
- Stability – I rarely hear of a GW system being down for more than an hour or two when disaster strikes. I can’t say this for other platforms.
- Easy upgrade, not requiring client changes – admins can keep the back-end up-to-date without needing to upgrade all components at the same time.
- No Mac Client
- Somewhat fragile archives
- Easy upgrade, not requiring client changes! - oh I’ve already said that under good – but it’s easy to assume that GroupWise isn’t “Changing” when the desktop doesn’t change. And many admins tend to think of their convenience, rather than looking out for the long-term viability of the product in their organizations.
OHM: Micro Focus have continued to invest in GroupWise development (although we always think it deserves even more resources). What does your crystal ball indicate about GroupWise over the short and medium term, especially with the GWAVA purchase?
DZ: As a GroupWise enthusiast, I truly want to see a good future ahead. I believe that it’s important for Micro Focus to be more visible. There is nothing inherent about GroupWise that should make it a less viable option that its competitors.
I’ve been hearing talk of the “demise” of GroupWise for almost as long as I’ve supported it, but it seems to keep on keepin’ on. It can’t do that forever though without a strong commitment by management to give it the resources it deserves. So, I’m cautiously optimistic.
OHM: In your view is it essential for GroupWise to sit in the middle of a suite of products such as Vibe and soon Uinta?
DZ: I’m not so sure. We’ve seen so many “satellite” programs come and go over time, but GroupWise remains the core, and continues.
OHM: Danita – many thanks for your time today and for sharing your thoughts. Please enjoy the rest of the OH Summit and we hope to meet up with you again soon.
This article was first published in OHM Issue 37 (2017/2), p12-13.