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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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15 Comments
 
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Expert Comment

by:Sjef Bosman
ID: 34209963
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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LVL 22

Expert Comment

by:mbonaci
ID: 34211113
Yes, in other words, groupware is any kind of software that helps multiple people work together more efficiently.
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Author Comment

by:kam_uk
ID: 34211240
Thanks all...so within a messaging team, groupware would refer to?
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Expert Comment

by:mbonaci
ID: 34211413
I'd rather say that the messaging is one kind of groupware.
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LVL 46

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by:Sjef Bosman
ID: 34211475
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
ID: 34211492
AFAIK, messaging is not just mail. It also consists of IM, SMS, paging.
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by:Sjef Bosman
ID: 34211871
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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LVL 22

Assisted Solution

by:mbonaci
mbonaci earned 664 total points
ID: 34211996
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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LVL 46

Expert Comment

by:Sjef Bosman
ID: 34212169
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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Accepted Solution

by:
nilanjansaha earned 668 total points
ID: 34212360
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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Author Comment

by:kam_uk
ID: 34314215
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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LVL 46

Assisted Solution

by:Sjef Bosman
Sjef Bosman earned 668 total points
ID: 34314923
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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LVL 1

Expert Comment

by:nilanjansaha
ID: 34315985
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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LVL 3

Author Comment

by:kam_uk
ID: 34347006
Thanks Nilan, in which case the only possible explanation for Groupware is Lotus Notes?
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LVL 46

Expert Comment

by:Sjef Bosman
ID: 34347360
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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