Novell: Ramping Up

 
 
By Brian P. Watson  |  Posted 2007-02-28
 
 
 

ZENWorks, for years, has been a well-known title in systems management. This year, Novell hopes its software suite will take on a new meaning with users: as a one-stop shop for asset management.

Customers applaud the ZENWorks tools for helping them manage their hardware and software inventories, and Novell for keeping them in the loop on new products.

Novell bought Tally Systems, an inventory and asset management vendor, in April 2005.

Since then, the firm has offered Tally's tools as an add-on to ZENWorks, bolstering its existing inventory module.

That'll change this summer, when Novell plans to put the asset and inventory software on the same platform under a new release.

Tom Johnson, director of information technology with Chicago's Metropolitan Bank Group, found early success with Novell's inventory tools.

The community banking firm already ran Novell's Linux and directory products, and Johnson says the remote management function of ZENWorks was exactly what he wanted to manage desktops.

ZENWorks (which cost about $70,000, Johnson says) helps the firm create instant reports every six months for regulators on its software license usage that manually would take hours, even days.

The software inventory module was "really icing on the cake," he says.

"It was something of an accident that we got the inventory piece—we didn't even know they had it."

Agrium, the agricultural nutrient producer with $3.3 billion in revenue in 2005, uses ZENWorks to manage desktops for 3,000 users across 50 North American sites. Going with Novell was an easy decision, according to Bruno Picone, director of information-technology infrastructure, since Agrium was a Novell shop "since the beginning of time."

But Agrium currently uses homegrown software to track applications and hardware. Picone and senior network administrator Linda Shepel say they're testing Novell's asset management offering but haven't made up their minds.

John Ruggeri, director of technical services for the Courts of Appeals of Georgia, says he's seen the Tally add-on and looks forward to seeing it integrated into ZENWorks.

The software will give ZENWorks a more complete suite to help customers manage contracts and costs related to their machines, Ruggeri points out. "I think it's going be a big add," he says.

Unfortunately, though, Ruggeri doesn't think he'll be able to implement any the combined platform until early 2008. It's not that he doesn't want to—he says he'd love to have the tools help him with fiscal year-end compliance reporting—rather, other projects are taking precedence, he says.

Despite the optimism, Steve DuScheid, a Tally veteran and now systems and resource management product manager for Novell, says that the vendor has stumbled a bit in communicating its asset management strategy.

"When the acquisition was completed, Novell wanted to get the technology to customers as fast as possible," he says. They decided to keep the technology separate from the ZENWorks suite but offer entitlements to existing users to try it.

DuScheid hopes the new release will put aside any confusion. "[Sometimes] all the messages don't always take hold," he says. "Once we're on this convergence release and architecture in 2007, we won't have to have customers be aware of such distinctions."

At A Glance

Novell
404 Wyman St.
Waltham, MA 02451
(801) 861-1329
www.novell.com

TICKER: NOVL (NASDAQ)
EMPLOYEES: 5,300

Ronald W. Hovsepian
President & CEO

Jeffrey Jaffe
CTO

PRODUCTS
ZENWorks manages hardware and software systems; this year Novell is bulking up its asset management capablilities by integrating tools from Tally Systems.
Reference Checks

AGRIUM
Linda Shepel
Sr. Network Administrator
lshepel@agrium.com

ALLINA HOSPITALS & CLINICS
Brad Myrvold
Mgr., Desktop Technology
brad.myrvold@allina.com

EASTERN MICHIGAN UNIVERSITY
Aric Kirkland
Mgr., Information Technology Labs
akirkland1@emich.edu

COURT OF APPEALS OF GEORGIA
John Ruggeri
Dir., Technical Services
ruggerij@gaappeals.us

METROPOLITAN BANK GROUP
Tom Johnson
CTO
tjohnson@metrobankgroup.com

FINANCIALS

2006FY 2005FY 2004FY
Revenue $967.28M $1.20B $1.17B
Net income $185.80M $376.72M $57.19M
R&D spending $32.07M $200.63M $195.86M

Fiscal year ends Oct. 31.