Wednesday, December 20, 2006

Nick Nichols returns to Novell

I’ve known Nick for a long time now. I first met Nick while I was at Zoomit back in the late 90’s. Nick is one of a number of stellar directory smart (directory enabled?!) people in the world. We released Zoomit VIA – the world’s first commercial metadirectory product – in 1998. By the time Microsoft acquired us in June, 1999 Nick had single handedly architected and then convinced folks at Novell to build what was then called DirXML and is now called Novell Identity Manager. I remember when DirXML was released and how amazed I was at Nick’s approach of using XML as the foundation to help solve the metadirectory problem. It was truly bleeding edge back then but now is totally hip because of its XML roots.

Nick, along with a number of other great Novell folks – like Brad Anderson, Greg Macris and Ed Anderson – left Novell during the rein of Jack Messman. Nick joined The Burton Group where he served as an analyst in their identity management practice for a number of years. Over that time I worked with Nick both when I was at Microsoft and at Quest. We talked a number of times about the possibility of returning to Novell but it always seemed to be a non-starter with Nick (and everyone else!) that he’d want to go back while Jack was at the helm. Well, Jack left, Nick got a call and the rest is history. Nick is now VP, Product Management at Novell and I wish him the best of luck.

I’ve always been a big believer in Novell’s strategy, vision and products. If there is a company that really and truly “gets” directory it is Novell. Novell’s identity management products currently generate about $100M in revenue annually. The other players in this business do not break out their IDM revenue but I am willing to bet everyone trails this number by a lot. A couple of reasons for their success are the fact that they do have a good product, an integrated product stack and they have been successful penetrating the SMB (small & medium business) market.

I’m looking forward to seeing Nick’s influence at Novell!

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