For VendorsBlog

Team Collaborative Applications

Team Collaborative Applications

Collaborative software or groupware is application software designed to help people working on a common task to attain their goals. One of the earliest definitions of groupware is "intentional group processes plus software to support them".

The worldwide team collaborative applications market continues to accelerate as collaboration becomes a key component of the future of work in a digital enterprise. The market is growing in revenue, leveraging IT integrations to both bridge functions and the enterprise. The market continues to move to the cloud and emphasizes usage across devices.

The total worldwide team collaborative applications market grew at 24.7% year over year, up from 21.5% growth the previous year. Growth was powered by the adoption of solutions that made working together more agile and seamless and favored solutions with integrations that centralize work, assets, and communications, including messaging and chat. In short, applications that made it easier to get work done by bringing content, context, and communications in a single place.

Feeling the pinch to produce more with less, organizations have turned to collaborative applications to streamline workflow and engage employees, partners and, increasingly, customers. They are discovering new paths to productivity, a better digital user experience (UX), and loyalty. Companies are developing a new way to work together and across their workforce and the sales continuum. A more technology-savvy and digitally connected workforce is empowering and accelerating this trend. Artificial intelligence (AI) is more common across collaborative solutions and almost expected by employees to automate repetitive tasks. Increasingly, machine learning (ML) and AI will generate new forms of value from conversations, meetings, and other content assets.

Make no mistake, the majority of the lead vendors in this space are heavily invested in the future of work and want to be either your future workspace — where work actually is done — or an application that integrates to facilitate better and more productive results with a better-engaged workforce.

The most popular products in category Team Collaborative Applications All category products

Microsoft Sharepoint Server
Microsoft Exchange
Kerio Connect

F.A.Q. about Team Collaborative Applications

What is groupware?

Collaborative software was originally designated as groupware and this term can be traced as far back as the late 1980s, when Richman and Slovak (1987) wrote: "Like an electronic sinew that binds teams together, the new groupware aims to place the computer squarely in the middle of communications among managers, technicians, and anyone else who interacts in groups, revolutionizing the way they work."

Even further back, in 1978 Peter and Trudy Johnson-Lenz coined the term groupware; their initial 1978 definition of groupware was, "intentional group processes plus software to support them." Later in their article they went on to explain groupware as "computer-mediated culture... an embodiment of social organization in hyperspace." Groupware integrates co-evolving human and tool systems, yet is simply a single system.

In the early 1990s the first commercial groupware products were delivered, and big companies such as Boeing and IBM started using electronic meeting systems for key internal projects. Lotus Notes appeared as a major example of that product category, allowing remote group collaboration when the internet was still in its infancy. Kirkpatrick and Losee (1992) wrote then: "If GROUPWARE really makes a difference in productivity long term, the very definition of an office may change. You will be able to work efficiently as a member of a group wherever you have your computer. As computers become smaller and more powerful, that will mean anywhere." In 1999, Achacoso created and introduced the first wireless groupware.

What are the levels of groupware?

Groupware can be divided into three categories depending on the level of collaboration:

  • Communication can be thought of as unstructured interchange of information. A phone call or an IM Chat discussion are examples of this.
  • Conferencing (or collaboration level, as it is called in the academic papers that discuss these levels) refers to interactive work toward a shared goal. Brainstorming or voting are examples of this.
  • Co-ordination refers to complex interdependent work toward a shared goal. A good metaphor for understanding this is to think about a sports team; everyone has to contribute the right play at the right time as well as adjust their play to the unfolding situation - but everyone is doing something different - in order for the team to win. That is complex interdependent work toward a shared goal: collaborative management.