Groupware: Technology and Applications

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9780133051940: Groupware: Technology and Applications

Designed to provide an overview of groupware, this book focuses on the technologies, vendors, and organizational issues that must be confronted in order to make groupware successful within an enterprise. KEY TOPICS: Part I offers an in-depth look at each of the technologies that comprise groupware, from electronic mail to document management. Part II covers key groupware vendors, their product strategies and architectures. Part III examines groupware implementation strategies and case studies. For both technical and business managers.

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From the Publisher:

Focuses on groupware technology and standards, vendor strategies and implementation issues. Coleman is chair of Groupware Conference that was held in March.

From the Inside Flap:

Preface

"Groupware" is one of those mysterious and undefinable terms that have the ability to affect all of our lives. This book is an attempt to compile some of the wisdom, knowledge, and experience of technical and business communities that have dealt with groupware since 1989. This book has been written with both the technical and business-oriented reader in mind, and its goal is to enable both audiences to understand the benefits, issues, and methodologies of groupware well enough to determine how t o best use groupware in their organizations.

The book is set up in several sections. The first section covers some of the technologies critical to groupware. These include email and messaging, workflow and process management, group calendaring and scheduling, collaborative document and image management, and electronic meeting systems. These are by no means all the technologies or services that fit under the groupware umbrella, but this introductory chapter lays out a functional framework for groupware that can serve as a guideline through the rest of the book.

The second section is also product focused, but from a vendor rather than a technology point of view. This section has executives from the major groupware vendors discussing their products' architecture, history, and future development plans, as well as how the use of these products has affected their and their customers' organizations. Lotus, Microsoft, IBM, DEC, and Novell/WordPerfect are all in this section, and they all provide different views on groupware, including a desktop view, a network view, a messaging view, and a database view. We have encouraged these vendors to write these chapters with the view that they will be read in the second and third quarters of 1995, even though the chapters reflect the state of the art at the end of 1994. Because the groupware market is such a dynamic one, we are sure that by the time you read these chapters some of these vendors will have announced new products, marketing agreements, and distribution channels. The purpose of this section is to provide an overview of the direction in which each company is going with their groupware products rather than a strict product features and benefits description.

The third section focuses on implementation and management strategies for groupware. These chapters are a combination of case studies of groupware implementations, as well as chapters on implementation strategies by experts at various consulting firms. This section also takes a look at some of the organizational aspects of groupware.

The final section of the book is a reference section. This section includes a variety of resources about groupware. Included in this section is a listing of all the 300-plus vendors in the Groupware Buyer's Guide, a groupware reading list, and groupware newsletters, events, and newsgroups where information is exchanged.

So in this volume we go from a technical and product focus to a more business and organizational orientation for groupware. The reason for organizing the book this way is to lay a foundation on what groupware technologies are; what products are available; how these products are best used and implemented; and finally, how groupware affects the organization.

This volume addresses a subset of issues related to use of information technology to improve group and organizational productivity. However, we have covered issues such as desktop integration and user experiences with groupware in other volumes. Raman Khanna edited a recently published volume entitled Integrating Personal Computers in a Distributed Client-Server Environment. That volume deals with platform integration, application integration, and distributed systems management. David Coleman and Marvin Manheim (author of Chapter 12) are co-authoring a groupware case book. We believe such a book is a necessary follow-on to this volume, and it examines a number of groupware implementations in detail and analyzes the lessons learned in each instance.

We believe that the greatest challenge facing the groupware market (if there is such a thing) today is "education"—educating people, especially business people, about the need and ability to collaborate, and how collaboration can change their organization to be more efficient, more customer-focused, and more profitable.

In a recent discussion with a colleague who is an expert on negotiating with the Japanese, we focused on the role of groupware. He noted that the Japanese have a great deal of interest and curiosity in groupware. And rightly so, as the U.S., the land of rugged individualists, has developed software to help people work as coordinated teams and virtual organizations. This ability, coupled with a knowledge of the Japanese negotiations code (on which my colleague is an expert), we believe will give U.S. negotiators a real competitive advantage with the Japanese.

It is these creative business uses of groupware that will, we believe, drive the groupware market. Although the technology is important, most business people do not care if the technology is called "groupware" or "multimedia" or "remote computing" or whatever, as long as it solves their business problem.

We also believe that groupware, or collaborating over the computer, will radically change the face of business in the next few years. Tom Peter, Peter Drucker, Peter Keen, Don Tapscott, Tom Davenport, and other management gurus are all heralding the changing organization. Groupware is the technology that is enabling these changes. Organizations will begin to decentralize, with contractors and "tiger teams" coming together electronically from all over the world to work on a project or solve a problem. For example, Decathlon Systems of Colorado has reduced its office space from 6000 square feet to 500 square feet. They only use the office now for occasional meetings and customer visits, and as a site to store and maintain the computers (servers) that tie them all together. Dr. Thomas Malone of MIT (who wrote the foreword to this book), in an article he wrote in the September 1991 issue of Scientific American, looks at the first-, second-, and third-order implications of this technology on our society. He sees sweeping changes in our society, some of which we can already see today, such as an increase in home-based businesses and telecommuting. The largest area of growth in the business community is not in large businesses—they are downsizing—but in the SOHO (small office home office) market. The implications of this trend for home builders is very interesting, and for commercial real estate developers not very bright. However, humans are social animals, so office buildings and cities will not completely disappear. The impact of groupware on businesses is the focus of David's consulting practice and the GroupWare conferences he organizes. It is enlightening to see a Danish hearing aid manufacturer increase its bottom line 500% in two years by using group ware and restructuring its organization.

We have rambled on about the benefits and future of groupware and the text of this volume enough. The first chapter in this book looks at an overview of the groupware technology and its benefits. We hope you will refer to Chapter 1 many times while reading this volume.

David Coleman

David Coleman is the founder and conference chairman for the GroupWare '9X Conferences and expositions which are held on an annual basis in Boston, London, and San Jose. He is also the editor of GroupTalk, the newsletter of workgroup computing, and of The GroupWare Products and Services Catalog and The Groupware Buyer's Guide. He is also co-author of a forthcoming groupware book called Collaborating for Competitive Advantage, which will be published in 1996. Mr. Coleman is a frequent author for technical and trade publications, and in the last year has written a groupware supplement for NetWork World magazine, a white paper on groupware for ComputerWorld, and a special supplement on groupware for Fortune magazine. Mr. Coleman has also done work to advance groupware throughout the world by founding G.U.A.V.A. (Groupware Users and Vendors Association).

Mr. Coleman is a principal at Collaborative Strategies, a San Franciso-based consulting firm focused on technology assessment, marketing, and information in the workgroup computing arena. Collaborative Strategies provides business and technology assessment and marketing and business strategies for workgroup products and services. Collaborative Strategies also provides market research, competitive analysis, collateral development, product positioning, and management for increased competitive advantage on a worldwide basis. Collaborative Strategies works with groupware users as well to define groupware projects, examine business processes with an eye toward redesign, and aid in the selection and implementation of pilot or enterprise-wide groupware projects. Mr. Coleman has an eclectic educational background that covers a wide range from cybernetics to neurobiol

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