One of the country’s longest-lived user groups, NetWare Users International (NUI), is planning a name change.
Members will vote at their AGM in Auckland this month on a proposal that the group become Novell Users International, in line with its US-based parent group, which has already made the change.
The new name reflects the fact that Novell, whose software is what brings the group together, has branched out from simply supplying NetWare, its network operating system.
Whereas NetWare once dominated the networking software market, its share has dwindled over the past half-decade. And Novell’s products now include directory software and systems management and security products which run on a range of operating systems.
Past NUI New Zealand president Craig Harrison, who is a member of the 15-person board of NUI’s Provo, Utah-based parent body, says the new name reflects reality.
“Novell’s focus is no longer just on one product,” says Harrison, the IT manager at Auckland’s Diocesan School.
“It’s now saying NetWare is one of many possible operating systems that will run Novell products, but it does say they run best on NetWare.”
Auckland-based IDC analyst Darian Bird says NetWare’s decline coincides with the rise of Microsoft NT and Linux. He says an IDC survey last year suggested that NetWare’s market share had shrunk to a fraction of its former size.
While Microsoft has grown spectacularly over the past decade, Novell's sales have held steady at about the billion-dollar mark, although revenue has received a boost of about 20% through the merger with consultancy Cambridge Partners this year.
“It makes sense for the company to move into high growth areas such as e-business,” says Bird.
He says rather than market itself to IT managers as it once did, the company is now attempting to impress business executives.
“This is an area that Cambridge has traditionally been strong in,” Bird says.
Novell New Zealand manager Peter Revell says the message he tries to get across today is “Novell, Novell, Novell”, with not a mention of NetWare. The company has been building up a handful of software brands for the past two-and-a-half years, hence emphasis on NetWare is no longer appropriate, says Revell.
Despite NetWare’s decline, the user group is apparently in good heart. Harrison says a Christchurch chapter has been started and another is about to be launched in Wellington, where there are eight members already.
Revell says he’s impressed by the level of interest in the group.
“From my point of view, anyone who’s enthusiastic about Novell, I’m enthusiastic about.”
He’ll be rewarding the group’s enthusiasm by paying for the wine consumed at its AGM on August 29.
The user group can be contact at firstname.lastname@example.org.