Novell unveils new focus on government sector


15 Sep 2004

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BARCELONA: Novell has announced a series of new products and services aimed specifically at the government sector that are designed to improve how state organisations can deal with citizens more efficiently.

The government solutions available from Novell are intended for public sector organisations to deliver the correct information to users effectively and securely. Specifically, the new product set includes a policy-based Citizen Portal as well as Linux migration strategies, tools and services.

Novell has also set in place procedures to share best practice between its diverse sales teams in different regions, so that reference sites are more easily accessible. The company’s consulting arm has also been trained to address the public sector.

According to Jack Messman, chairman, CEO and president of Novell, web portals can give citizens a secure, personalised place to access information about themselves. Governments benefit from implementing them because this process reduces the cost of transacting with the citizen, he added.

“Citizens today are demanding more from governments,” said Messman. He described these new kinds of users who are familiar with the web and how it works as “Amazon citizens”, whose expectations of online services have been influenced by websites such as Amazon.com or Ebay. “They are accustomed to having resources on tap, online,” he said.

Other data and application integration tools from Novell also help to break down the so-called ‘silos’ of information between various government agencies, a situation that can hinder organisations in providing a single view of the citizen.

Messman underlined the company’s credentials in the public sector market: “Novell has been working with government organisations for decades. Our research and development as well as partner relations are aligned to this very important vertical market. We understand the language and complexity of government.”

Novell outlined several identity-driven and open-source systems for the government market that are currently being implemented worldwide in places such as the city of Bergen in Norway, US state of Michigan, Leeds City Council in the UK, Victoria state in Australia and the city of Stockholm, Sweden.

Tied into this effort, the software company is firmly building its new and future software offerings around Linux, having already committed itself to the operating system with the acquisition earlier this year of the development firm SuSe.

Richard Seibt, EMEA president for Novell, argued that using Linux and open-source software was not simply a decision based on the lower-cost argument. “Customers take decisions on their computing architecture for the next six to 10 years varying from industry to industry. Today they are taking Linux into consideration. In government for example, Linux is always the preferred alternative.”

By Gordon Smith