It was way back in November 2009 when Novell first started talking about its Pulse real-time collaboration platform. Whether last week's announcement of the first Pulse previews will cause the enterprise IT managers at which this product is aimed to skip a heartbeat is anyone's guess.
Novell is hedging its bets on the assumption that the popular use of social media tools is divergent enough from the traditional tools of business collaboration to warrant a new interconnectivity layer - or at least a new approach.
In this regard, the company asserts that there is a need for an authoring, communication and social messaging tool that is capable of working in real time with robust security and management capabilities. All of which, as luck would have it, sums up the descriptive terms for Novell's “consumer-like interface business collaboration experience.”
I don't know if pulse rates will skyrocket, but there may be grounds for getting excited here if Novell provides of the full shopping list of features it claims should be integral to the ingredient mix for an enterprise tool of this kind. Along with sign-on and permissions control, Pulse will support audit tools for companies' compliance requirements and will (allegedly) delivered all of this in a secure package.
While press announcements in late 2009 made much of Pulse's cosy relationship with the Google Wave Federation Protocol and Novell's focus on what it calls, “emerging collaboration paradigms” - recent news appears to make mention of the arguably less than secure Wave platform rather further down the page.
Longer-term, the company says that, “Novell Pulse provides an open collaboration framework that enables organisations to access third-party collaboration tools from one common interface.”
Unfortunately IDC's supporting quotes for this story are just so overly positive that I can not include them.
Instead I'll do my best to comment objectively and say that this appears to be quite a smart progressive move. This development probably falls a little short of Novell's claim that it has, “revolutionised business collaboration.” But if I asked you whether Twitter was easy to use and whether clunky enterprise apps could benefit from an extra vitamin boost in the usability department you'd probably say yes - right?
So what do you think of Novell? Is the company drawing on its “rich” heritage of identity, security and collaboration with this product, or is it just treading water in sea of collaboration mavericks who will soon outstrip them by developing the next big thing?