Novell collaboration has been in the process of an extreme makeover for a while now. It started with the acquisition and subsequest integration of SiteScape. It continued with new releases of their email offering GroupWise. But, all along they were working on something that would really differentiate their offering in the market. On Wednesday morning they announced Novell Pulse at the Enterprise 2.0 Conference in San Francisco. I've been watching Pulse move from concept to what is now an announced product with an H1 2010 announced ship date for the better part of two years now. It represents an interesting blend of synchronous and asynchronous collaboration and content generation capabilities. If that sounds a bit familiar, think Google Wave. In fact, at the time Wave was announced, I was holding my tongue when folks would ask me if I'd seen anything like it before. I had, the product that became Novell Pulse. I just couldn't say because of a pesky NDA!
Thus it was interesting that Novell became the first vendor in the collaboration space to announce a significant partnership and integration with Google around the upcoming Wave offering. The premise is actually pretty cool. A user in Novell Pulse can work in real-time on a document simultaneously with a user on Google Wave. From the Novell side, all security is managed and maintained by Novell.
In the meantime, Pulse does not stop at being a real-time content generation and collaboration offering. It actually pulls a number of collaboration capabilities together in a single unified user experience, including an email inbox, real-time collaboration including presence, conferencing, co-editing and chat, workspace and social capabilties. The integrated experience allows users to choose the right collaboration experience for the task at hand without the need to switch between applications.
Novell needed to move in a bold direction to catch attention in an increasingly competitive collaboration market. With Pulse they have definitely proven that they're willing to be bold.