[ngw] So long and thanks for all the fish
Jeffrey D. Sessler
jeff at scrippscollege.edu
Thu Jun 8 19:00:55 UTC 2017
My campus recently hit the two-year retirement mark for Groupwise after our move to O365. The last GW servers are shut off, and with nothing left active, I feel it’s time to say, “So long and thanks for all the fish.” Many of you, and especially Danita, have been invaluable resources here and on the official forums for well over twenty years, so thank you for all your help. I especially appreciated this groups ability to have those more difficult conversations about our beloved product.
I had considered a final post-honeymoon update on the move, but figured having those discussions are painful and now best left along. So instead, with time in the rear-view mirror, and greater familiarity with O365, I wanted to offer the following as recommendations/observations to GW product management. I believe it could have a positive impact on GroupWise futures, including EDU. While these comments are EDU perspective (especially cost), they likely apply to other sectors too e.g. non-profit.
* Separate client development and client release cadence, from the backend agents.
* Shift to high-cadence release cycle for client e.g. monthly, where new features/updates are released constantly. This is the face of the product, so faster incremental updates get features in front of customers sooner, while at the same time demonstrating innovation is alive and well. Take items from the Ideas portal and translate them quickly into the product. It provides visible value to the customer, even if they opt to stay on the slow (stable) release train. This is similar to MS’ monthly feature updates as well as their insider slow/fast programs.
* Make the client backward compatible with some older GW releases. Going forward, have one client for development to maintain that supports several older releases, so that all customers have the latest security fixes/improvements. Those on newer backend get features tied to it, everyone else gets the incremental client-based updates e.g. new Ux improvements or other client-centric updates e.g. rule wizards, order starbucks plug-in. It would likely incentivize or entice older customers into upgrading the backend to get those features they can see but not use. It would free development to focus on one client.
* Need Mobile Clients – Customers have shifted from needing only mail on their phone, to mail and calendar, to using their smart devices for all communications. There needs to be a full-featured GW client with access to advanced features (and integration with other apps). A good majority of our users opt for the Outlook mobile app over standard ActiveSync or IMAP. It’s a testament to how critical mobile devices have become for users, often supplanting laptops.
* Mac Client – Goes without saying. Don’t need to beat a dead horse.
* Embrace external ecosystem – The client needs to plug-in to third-party systems e.g. adding/storing attachments from BOX, Google Drive, OneDrive is just one example. WebEx, GoToMeeting, Zoom, Slack, universal communication, message translation, order starbucks, and the list goes on. Be the platform of open choice and less inward-focused. This goes for desktop, mobile, and web. The third parties aren’t going to write them for you, but they all have API’s on how to integrate.
* If it’s desired to get close to the base O365 EDU offering, the following products would need to be bundled and as close to free as possible. GroupWise, GW Mobility, GW Messenger, Filr, Retain, Reload, GWAVA, Vibe, and OES. I say free since the customer still has to provide the hosting for all of these products. If the customer isn’t risk-adverse to cloud, licensing plus local hosting costs make GW a hard sell.
* Cloud – formulate a cloud/hosting strategy. EDU - Offer free hosting for some/all of the above. Driving down costs makes it harder for a customer to say so long. For other customers that are getting out of on-prem, it provides an option to continue using the product. With the cloud offering, innovate faster, keep providing those customers new features.
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