In an earlier post about Novell's Earnings, Larry Dignan wrote that Novell's identity and access management business is only up 5% over last year. This isn't the first time that such news has clouded the Novell annual report either. Novell consistently has trouble capitalizing on their expertise in the identity space. This should be especially troublesome to shareholders given that there's never been a time when identity has had more mindshare.
I'm most familiar with Novell's efforts in this area at the pointy end of the spear--I know several of the engineers and product managers who work in this area at Novell. I'm usually impressed with what I see. Case in point: at the Internet Identity Workshops Novell is one of the main players. Their efforts are noteworthy and innovative. I've so been a happy customer in their enterprise product space.
I'm left to conclude that the strategy, not the products, is the problem. Frankly, I see little synergy between the identity products and the rest of Novell. As a consequence, they're probably holding each other back as executives struggle to manage and resource two very different businesses. Novell's shareholders would be better off with two Novells: one focusing on their identity business and one concentrating on Linux.
This is especially true with identity moving beyond the firewall. Freeing Novell's identity expertise from the constraints of traditional enterprise sales thinking is just the kind of outside the box thinking Novell needs right now.