Groupware as concept is based on the co-operative work of people, who work for a common purpose or in the same organisation, through the support of devices and machines like computers.
Untill one point of human history people used to work in groups only when they were gathered into the same place during a predetermined period time. Furthermore, they were able usually to process their activities and duties by the use of papers and pencils. However, by the advance of technology, the development of microchips and fianally the creation of a global network between machines and computers the work of people in groups became quicker and far more efficient. As a consequence, nowdays it is very difficult for anyone of us to imagine the various organisations, offices,companies etc to elaborate an activity without the critical assistance of computerised networks and associated hardware / software...
Description of groupware
Defining groupware we are able to say that it is that kind of technology that intends to assist the effort of a group. This technology can be used in a variety of activities like: cooperation, solving problems, competition, negotiation, coordination or communication. Even if, long established technologies as phone regarded as groupware, the word is normally used to mention certain rank of technologies based on nowdays computerized network, like newsgroups, chat rooms, forums, video conference or e-mail.
The technologies that concern groupware are generally considered on two main proportions:> The matter of working the group simultaneously during the same period or in different time -synchronous and asynchronous groupware-> The matter of working the group jointly in the same place or in diverse places -face to face and distance groupware- The manufacture
of groupware engages realising groups and the attitude of people within groups. Furthermore, it includes a satisfactory perceptive of network technology and how parts of this technology (for example, synchronised opinions that are held up) shape the experience of a user. On the other hand, the concerns connected with the conventional user interface design stays unchanged, since the people are related with technology.In generall, a lot of characteristics of groups necessitate particular concern.
Providing an example, it is certain that 5-person group have a different attitude from million-member groups, in addition the perfomance factors of the different technics to sustain various groups is based on an enormous selection. Besides, there must be an easier use as concerns groupware than a single use system. Another important matter that concerns groupware are the response and the effect of the scheme. In conclusion, the designing teams have to realize fully the level of the homogeneity of the users, the roles people paly within collaborative work and who are the decision makers and what affect them drastically. Groupware is certain that offers more important compensations than single user software.
Below are presented some reason of why groupware is considered so importan:
- To provide easier,faster communication
- To provide communication where it couldn't be potential
- To provide telecommunication
- To reduce transfer cost
- To gather different opinions
- To arrange group with interests in common
- To accumulate cost and time
- To provide solutions from groups
- To provide new types of contact
In addition, it is commonly admitted that groupware solutions are far more difficult than common software. Generally, groupware software is imposiible to be successful unless there is no adoptivity of the target group.
Facilities offered towards
This section describes all the systems that are used for more than a few kinds of groupware. Additionally, in lots of situations, those software tools are able to be used alltogether and usually in collaboration with each other. Above it has been described the two generall and different techniques as concerns groupware: asynchronous and synchronous.
Now, think about how those software tools are able to be incorporated. Email is the most familiar groupware function. Although, the fundamental technology is the sending and the receiving of a message between two peoples, still the most basic e-mail systems provide very interesting characteristics like file attachment, creating mailing lists, file forwarding. Hypertext is developed as a language to connect text documents enriched today with video, photos and hyperlinks and WWW(World Wide Web) being its obvious realization. Lots of hypertext schemes involve abilities for noticing which other person has called a sure page or link, or giving the opportunity noticing how frequently a page has been visited. When lots of people write and link documents, the system turn into groupwork, persistently involving and act in response to others work.
Group calendars give the chance of designing schedules, managing projects, and collaboration through lots of people and can provide maintainance to make schedules for equipment as well. These calendars help also into finding people. Some common disadvantages are completeness, accuracy and privacy. You also have options to view a week or a year layout by simply accessing the tabs at the top of the pane.Video communications systems/equipment enable two-way or multi-way contact by live video stream, basically a phone scheme by an additonal ocular module. Matters like compatibility and cost restricted early
use of video to programmed videoconference congregation rooms.
Furthermore, video could be also be used in less straight cooperative situations, such as giving a sight of activities in a distant position.Chat systems allow lots of people to send messages to each other in realtime in public view. Chat groups are oftenly shaped by providing registering chat rooms by location, name, topic of conversation, number of persons etc. Lots of systems provide rooms with controlled admission or with moderators to guide the conversations. However, there is a number of topics of interest for research including matters associated to unmoderated realtime contact.
Decision support systems are manufactured to help groups in decision making. They offer implements for critiquing ideas, putting disadvantages and possibilities, brainstorming on facts and alternatives, like voting. In primary, it was constructed to ease meetings to provide equal participation by giving anonymity or encouraging turn-taking.
The case study is occupied with bussiness in which I have worked. The business is a stock-broking office called Hermes Inc.
There I have offeres my services in refreshing the prices of stocks with the help of Internet, to print the amount and the price of the stocks of the varius customers, to keep the bill-cases informed, to receive e-mails and paying every bill of the office. As a main groupware function we used e-mail, where we sent the weekly results of the actions held by the office. This facility helped into the improving of decisions.Apart from that we used group calendars that helped the office into scheduling, project management and collaboration towards many offices and organisations related to finance.
However, ine my opinion it could have helped a lot a system of
teleconference between the stockmarket offices and their customers in order to provide improvement to the communication and reduce the time to make decisions related to the realtime stockmarket stream. Besides an established video communication to the office might have helped into the meeting and decision making process, by connecting customers and stockbrokers or stockbrokers with the box offices in stockmarket in order to give orders of buying or selling stocks.
From my point of view, another very useful and effective groupware application could be a decision support system. As it is written above, a system like that could have aid the colleagues of the business itself or the employees among various stockbroking offices into brainstorming, providing critique on ideas and perspectives, alternatives or even votin for a decision. To sum up an application like this should have enforce group activity sustain tools to systematize and rule their deparmental processes and dealings. In conclusion, it is worth to mention that all these groupware systems and techniques can save lot of time and travel cost and in addition to those applications many other systems as chat rooms, newsgroups and mailing list with a daily refresh on the stock prices of the customers, or even workflow systems can be added to the above.
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