My BrainShare Takeaways

From November 1 through November 5 I attended two events in Salt Lake City, Utah. I was able to attend and speak at the TTP Summit at BrainShare 2014 on November 1, 2 and then attend the main BrainShare 2014 conference from November 2-5. I had a great time at both events and want to thank everyone who was involved in getting them off the ground my thanks. I’m hoping to be able to come back in the future.

If you want a look at what Novell took away from conference, you can read Bret Fitzgerald’s post over at Cool Solutions. It has a good “30,000 foot” overview of the main conference. I had the pleasure of talking with Bret and other team members at Novell and NetIQ and enjoyed every one.

Below you will find what I took away from the entire week:

  • The development changes started at Novell not too long ago are pretty much fully implemented. Every division is talking about multiple releases over a given calendar year, beta programs, getting feedback from customers earlier in the process … all good things. I know that many of the headline products have received significant upgrades over the past 12 months already and that progress is not slowing down.
  • Vibe is maybe the most criminally underused product Novell has at the moment. Talking with the guys at Code and Concept was enlightening because of all of the things you can do with Vibe as a platform for more than just simple collaboration. I have in mind to spend some time this coming year to really dig into Vibe. I feel like it could fit into multiple areas on campus with little effort.
  • The Micro Focus merger can mean some good things for the company overall, but there is still a lot of work to be done and the prospects in the distance are unknown. Many of the education customers I talked to are quietly optimistic that a change in ownership is going to, overall, be a benefit to The Attachmate Group companies. It seems that “the market” agrees as shares have been up (quite a bit) since Micro Focus announced the plan.
  • Mobility is here to stay and Novell knows it. A lot of talk about expanding the capabilities of products like Vibe, Filr, iPrint (really excited about some of this stuff), and ZENworks to make managing mobile devices even easier. That is going to be a major focus here as well (at MLC) and those products will be central to how we get those things done. I had only my iOS devices along for the trip and so I was able to use the Filr and iPrint apps to get work done. They worked well and I’m excited to see where they go in the future.
  • GroupWise moving to embrace open standards to support the Mac is a great move in my opinion. Bringing first-class IMAP, CalDAV, and CardDAV support will allow them to integrate into the Mac platform seamlessly in ways that Google and Microsoft just are not interested in (sadly). I think it is a great move.
  • Good to hear some increased development around NetIQ eDirectory and iManager. Both will be getting major version updates in the coming year and as I like both products, that makes me happy.
  • There is an excellent community of IT professionals around the Novell and NetIQ ecosystems and I am happy to continue to try to embed myself in it a little more. I’m hoping that the continued effort on bringing great products to market to solve problems we are facing will grow the ranks again.

I’ll have more to talk about in the future as products start to be released. I am also hoping to talk briefly about my experience of going iPad-only for a week-long trip. More on that in the future.

I’ll See You at BrainShare 2014

I’m looking forward to being able to attend BrainShare 2014 at the beginning of November. I’ll be there spending as much time as possible learning about the mobile and file-sharing options from Novell and NetIQ and especially focused on our upcoming Novell OES migration.

Before that, however, I will have the opportunity to speak with my education IT friends at the TTP BrainShare Summit 2014 happening on Saturday and Sunday. I will also have the pleasure to speak there on Saturday. The title of the talk is SmallOps: My First Year in IT Operations at Martin Luther College, and much of it will be familiar to those who read this blog but I’ll post what I can after the talk.

It should be a good time and if you happen to see me, just grab me to say “hi”!

BrainShare: The Next Generation

I just stole the title from this article over on Novell’s Cool Solutions titled, obviously, BrainShare: The Next Generation … which you should go and read.

While it speaks generally about BrainShare and Novell, the overall message is a useful one for any information technology company of department:

How do you spread the word about technology choices to the next generation of IT professionals?

That’s my quote up above, feel free to steal it. It has probably been said 1000 times in the past, so I don’t claim any real ownership of it.

However, the question still stands. Many decisions are bore out due to context that is long gone, or long perverted in our minds, and so new decisions are often made without the benefit of understanding why the old decisions were made in the first place! What a waste of time, effort, and resources!

One of my favorite things to do is to listen to the stories about why certain technology decisions were made. Who was there. What were the options. What was tried in the past. Ultimately, why the decision to go with one technology in one way over others. They all provide valuable insight into not just the technology, but into the organization as a whole. You learn about internal politics, decision-making structures outside of the organizational tree, and tons of other important cultural information.

I mean culture as in what is there, not what some people in the organization are trying to push.

For me, BrainShare 2014 is going to be another part of that. Novell has been the backbone of our IT infrastructure since 1995, and it looks like it is going to stay a major part going forward. In order to adequately serve the campus, I’ll need to also get to know Novell better and Novell, me.

Going to conferences, talking with other users, trying out the new (AND THE OLD) technology is all part of the same goal of retaining knowledge from the past while also looking to the future so that we can make better decisions with more information to provide the best services we possibly can.

So I look forward to attending BrainShare 2014 and many conferences to come in the future as I navigate providing the best systems and services I can for today and the future.