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Meaning of Groupware

Posted on 2010-11-24
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Hello

Slightly embarrasing question...I went to meet some people in the Messaging team today of a sister company of ours. Their messaging environment is Exchange and Lotus Domino/Notes.

One guy introduced himself as the Groupware specialist.

I've heard of GroupWISE (as in the Novell E-mail platform), but does anyone know what Groupware actually refers to? I've Googled and don't come back with an answer!
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Question by:kam_uk
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by:Sjef Bosman
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Don't check Google, but use Wikipedia: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Collaborative_software
"... groupware is part of computer-supported cooperative work ..."
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by:mbonaci
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Yes, in other words, groupware is any kind of software that helps multiple people work together more efficiently.
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by:kam_uk
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Thanks all...so within a messaging team, groupware would refer to?
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by:mbonaci
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I'd rather say that the messaging is one kind of groupware.
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by:Sjef Bosman
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All elements (H/W and S/W) you employed to improve the effectiveness or efficiency of a group of people, by sharing information. IMHO, just mail isn't really groupware, because information is only pushed to specific parties, and not shared amongst all. It's the difference between a sales-related mail concerning the ACME corporation sent to John Doe directly, and a mail stored in a CRM system where all users can see that mail. Or a bulletin board, with triggers to alert people when there is new info available (e.g. via mail).
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by:mbonaci
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AFAIK, messaging is not just mail. It also consists of IM, SMS, paging.
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by:Sjef Bosman
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Did I say otherwise?? Ok, maybe... I'll rephrase:

All elements (H/W and S/W) you employed to improve the effectiveness or efficiency of a group of people, by sharing information.

IMHO, just messaging isn't really groupware, because information is only pushed to specific parties, and not shared amongst all. It's the difference between a sales-related message concerning the ACME corporation sent to John Doe directly, and a message stored in a CRM system where all users can read its contents. Or a bulletin board, with triggers to alert people when there is new info available (e.g. via messaging).
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by:mbonaci
mbonaci earned 166 total points
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IMHO, that definition/explanation is a little too narrow.
I'd rather stay with definition that groupware is anything (software & software components) that helps people work together, as a team, more efficiently.

So e-mail, instant messaging & conferencing, web applications, Lotus Notes, SPPS, CVS/SVN/Git, LN Project tracking application, shared mail & group calendar,...  would all be groupware in my book.

I may well be wrong here, I haven't explored the official definition (was the term originally forged at IBM?), I'm only saying what it (currently:) represents in my eyes.
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by:Sjef Bosman
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To me personally, messaging per se doesn't qualify as groupware, and neither does instant messaging. It is "point-to-point", it lacks "shared", "team", and things like that. Like you, it's my personal opinion.

But have a look at the Wikipedia definition...
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nilanjansaha earned 167 total points
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Messaging simply means Emails while Groupware means Messaging, Collaboration, Application, Webserver, etc. For Example MS Exchange, Postfix, are Messaging solutions as these can only serve you the basic messaging/email functionality while Lotus Domino is a Groupware solution which have the ability to provide messaging, collaboration (instant messaging), file sharing, application hosting, web server, etc.

I hope I made it easier to understand
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by:kam_uk
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Within that Messaging team, they use Exchange, OCS (IM), Symantec Enterprise Vault, BlackBerry BES server and also Lotus Notes.

So, do you think Groupware referred to the Lotus Notes side, or the full suit of everything?

Or is there no clear cut ansewr?
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by:Sjef Bosman
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Exchange: Groupware element (messaging, calendaring?)
BES server: Groupware element (messaging, calendaring?)
Lotus Notes: Groupware

Is there CRM software available? To me, it would qualify as Groupware if a group of users shares information that way. A bulletin board just as well, or a wiki. But messaging alone isn't about sharing information, in my opinion it is pushing information to others.
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by:nilanjansaha
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Well, I think that we are going in the wrong direction. Groupware is not a collection of multi vendor products doing almost the same thing neither it is exactly about group of users sharing information. Well just said that then some way you might eveb consider IT or Information Technology as a groupware as all it means that multiple people/ group is sharing information.

Grouoware is aproduct which offers multiple functionality and not multiple products offering almost the same functionality.
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by:kam_uk
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Thanks Nilan, in which case the only possible explanation for Groupware is Lotus Notes?
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by:Sjef Bosman
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In our opinion: indeed, it is.

I think it is a pity that nobody from the opposite faith contributed to this question. All you have right now is the opinions of a few Notes-minded experts, all suggesting more or less the same. Maybe you should post the same question again, but then in the Exchange Zone.
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