Collaborative software or groupware is application software designed to help people involved in a common task to achieve their goals. One of the earliest definitions of collaborative software is "intentional group processes plus software to support them".
In terms of the level of interaction it allows, collaborative software may be divided into: real-time collaborative editing (RTCE) platforms that allow multiple users to engage in live, simultaneous and reversible editing of a single file (usually a document), and version control (also known as revision control and source control) platforms, which allow separate users to make parallel edits to a file, while preserving every saved edit by every user as multiple files (that are variants of the original file).
Collaborative software is a broad concept that overlaps considerably with computer-supported cooperative work (CSCW). According to Carstensen and Schmidt (1999) groupware is part of CSCW. The authors claim that CSCW, and thereby groupware, addresses "how collaborative activities and their coordination can be supported by means of computer systems." Software products such as email, calendaring, text chat, wiki, and bookmarking belong to this category whenever used for group work, whereas the more general term social software applies to systems used outside the workplace, for example, online dating services and social networking sites like Twitter and Facebook.
The use of collaborative software in the work space creates a collaborative working environment (CWE).
Finally, collaborative software relates to the notion of collaborative work systems, which are conceived as any form of human organization that emerges any time that collaboration takes place, whether it is formal or informal, intentional or unintentional. Whereas the groupware or collaborative software pertains to the technological elements of computer-supported cooperative work, collaborative work systems become a useful analytical tool to understand the behavioral and organizational variables that are associated to the broader concept of CSCW.
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F.A.Q about Collaborative Applications
What is the definition of collaboration software?
Collaboration software was described in 1990 as “intentional group processes plus software to support them.” Today, collaboration software leverages existing technologies to enable groups to communicate, share, coordinate, cooperate, solve problems, negotiate, or even compete for the purpose of completing a task. Collaboration software, also known as collaborative software or groupware, allows the managing, sharing and processing of files, documents and other types of data among several users and systems anytime and anywhere.
What is collaboration software and what are its uses?
The main purpose of collaboration software is to enhance the productivity of individuals in a group or team within an organization in order to achieve a particular goal. With this type of program, users can coordinate tasks and create individual workspace then have workflows and data added to it. The primary user who created the workspace can allow others to access, view and make changes, and whatever modifications are made on data and files are synced across all users. This ensures that everyone involved is on the “same page” and has the latest version of the current project.
There are two dimensions to collaboration software technologies and they relate to time and location.
- Real-time or synchronous – users do tasks together at the same time.
- Asynchronous – users work together at different times.
- Face-to-face or collocated – users do tasks together in one place.
- Distance or non-collocated – users work together from various places.
What are the benefits of collaboration software?
You now know what is collaboration software but what are its main benefits? There are a number of benefits of collaboration software that can result in more efficient and effective completion of tasks and goals. Understanding what does a collaboration software do will help you justify its implementation in your organization and bolster its adoption with your employees. The successful execution of good collaboration software will afford you many advantages. Why use collaboration software? Here are four good reasons why.
- Save time – Time is gold, and in a business that is tantamount to money. The more you save time, the more you save on unwanted expenses, and the better it is for your organization. Collaboration among employees makes possible the quicker completion of end goals that wouldn’t otherwise be achievable in other ways. Embracing collaboration methods cuts disparate, uncoordinated work on a particular project from different contributing members and saves not only time but also resources and efforts. If you are looking to cut costs on projects, collaboration software can help in that respect.
- Enhance project management – Keeping a handle on a project, a team and its members and their progress are never easy to work. Coordination and communication are of paramount importance if you want a project completed. Collaboration is one of the most optimal means to guarantee that you get the most out of your team. It opens lines of communication and makes sure everything is on track in order to avoid mistakes and confusion that can delay projects.
- Strengthen team relationships – One sure-fire way to build effective working relationships among employees is to have them work together to complete tasks and projects. Collaboration programs are designed to do that, making it easy for teams to work almost like a concerted unit with a singular purpose. This makes teams comfortable and confident in working with one another when it comes to completing common objectives.
- Improve organization – The process of keeping things and tasks in order has always been a problem for businesses. It is typical to lose track of what has been done and what needs to be done in project workflows simply because everything is a mess. Collaborative programs assist in maintaining order and managing the stages in workflows through open communication and coordination among concerned individuals and team.