What is groupware?
Groupware is computer network technology designed to boost the productivity and facilitate communication of work groups. This technology is usually based on shared environment interface and used for computer supported cooperative work (CSCW). It supports groups of people engaged in a common activity or project and enables users to communicate, cooperate, coordinate, solve problems, etc. Groupware should consider possible roles people play in cooperative work, how people behave in groups and how aspects of networking technology affect a user's experience.
You can use it for a variety of reasons, however, the main reason is collaboration within the team or employees.
- Allows companies and work groups to share information better
- Helps to coordinate group work and solve problems collectively
- Enables the staff to understand the targets of company business
Also some groupware software are used to bypass the traditional problem of having employees in different places. By logging in to a network or intranet server, employees don't need to be in the office in order to access certain groupware and benefit from collaboration.
Groupware (software) is divided into two categories related to time:
- "Synchronous" (or "Real time") groupware allows to work simultaneously
- "Asynchronous" groupware allows to work at different times
These categories are divided into two groups related to place:
- "Collocated" ("Face-to-face") groupware allows to work together in the same place
- "Non-collocated" ("Distance") groupware allows to work in different places
Groupware supposes highly-structured communication between users. Though communication structure may differ from company to company, task management groupware helps to set a common workflow within the company. Typically, a task is planned by team leader or department manager and assigned to an employee. Then the employee automatically receives a notification about the assignment and starts working. After the employee finishes work on the task, he or she changes status of the task and team leader automatically receives the notification about it.
Groupware Software privacy
When setting up a groupware, it's important to specify what information is private and what is shared. Simultaneous access by everyone to everything is a key feature of groupware software, but sometimes it can be vulnerable and lead to a mess. So groupware administrator should take care that besides common folders with company tasks, users have their personal folders that nobody else can see. This is also true for company tasks that should remain secure against attempts of not authorized users to see them.