A technology that enterprises are using for competitive advantage is workgroup computing. Workgroup computing occurs when all the members of the workgroup, or a collection of individuals working together on a task, have specific hardware, software and networking equipment that enables them to connect, communicate and collaborate. Groupware software provides computerized support for the information needs of these workgroups. The most groupware applications include e-mail, video conferencing tools, group scheduling systems, customizable electronic forms, real-time shared applications and shared information databases.
The first successful groupware product, Lotus Notes, was designed to run on client and server systems. Newer groupware products, including Microsoft Exchange, run on intranets and extranets. These groupware applications enable collaboration between geographically separated workgroups and even between group members who work for other organizations, such as affiliated research labs.
In groupware applications such as Microsoft Exchange can quickly determine the optimum time for a meeting, locate and open room, send a notice asking for the meeting and then coordinate responses to show who was confirmed that they will be at the meeting. Groupware also facilitates workflow automation. Workflow automation is the process of sending documents and data to the next person who needs to see the. As an example a master document may be shared among a group and then all of the group’s comments can be collectively edited by the author of the document. Consider the case of an engineer at a firm prepares a proposal for an external contract. The proposal goes to the engineer’s supervisor for review and approval. The document may need to be seen by several other people before us finally approved and sent. Workgroup computing and groupware software make this process possible.
In many instances workgroups and groupware software even make it easier to conduct business on a local scale. An example of this is the ability to instantly communicate throughout a local office, from cubicle to cubicle and even floor to floor, in order to facilitate the sharing of whatever workflow is occurring and also to streamline communications on any level, from individual to individual all the way up to individual to the entire office or workforce.
Hopefully now you have learned a bit more about workgroup computing and groupware software that makes it possible. If your business is considering becoming interconnected via a workgroup is a highly recommended idea that includes all of the aforementioned benefits and more. Do not hesitate to institute a workgroup environment into your business in order to see an increase in efficiency and productivity.