Groupware: Collaborative Software
What is Groupware?
Groupware, also known as collaborative software, refers to business software which allows people to work on the same project while located in different places from one another. While there were already programs in place for this, such as email, telephones, telegraph machines and letters, the aim of groupware is to make business collaboration instantaneous, multi-layered, easy, and fun.
The modern world has taken groupware in many different directions over the past several years. Some of the most prevalent programs online involve word-processing and spreadsheet group ware, in which users can log in from around the world and collaborate on a document. This is useful and fun for business purposes, because people can instantly get together and brainstorm ideas or build a paper all at once via application sharing. This is a lot like the age-old chat room, but it provides a project on which people can actively collaborate and create.
A form of SaaS groupware is that of web conferencing and desktop sharing software. By viewing another’s screen live over the Web, groupware opens the doors for real-time collaboration with anyone, anywhere around the world. Remote computer access software enables small business owners and freelancers to work within a greater marketplace via business presentations, online training, and online conferencing.
Who Can Benefit from Groupware?
The most immediate beneficiaries of groupware are the thousands of businesses that have temporary or permanent employees anywhere other than the main office headquarters. Freelancers, offshore workers, workers from home, or workers in other plants or offices around the world can use online collaboration software to connect directly and work on projects. As more and more businesses are considering offshore development to save money on payroll, the consistency and efficiency of groupware programs should be on many CEO’s minds. Conversely, the freelance economy is picking up, as businesses need results but don’t want to be tied to employees with health insurance and retirement accounts. The answer is groupware software for small business. The easier it is to communicate what you need from your freelance employees, the more successful your business will be in the long run.
The best groupware programs are judged by how easy and how fun they make communication, both for business and for pleasure. An example of a great groupware program would be a mutual social calendar for groups of friends online. The calendar would be the “collaborative project,” and each person could post when he or she was free and when he or she had to work. This would help the group be able to spontaneously plan outings simply by looking at the calendar and say, “oh, so and so are all free, I’ll call them all up and we can meet at cafe abc!”
Groupware is the wave of the future, as far as working together is concerned. Before the present day Internet, online communication was too fluid, too much about communication without enough solid production value. Those times are changing. With groupware, groups of people can get work done from anywhere in the world, so long as they have access to a computer.