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(computer science)
Multiuser software that supports information sharing through digital media, such as electronic mail and messaging, electronic meeting systems and audio conferencing, group calendaring and scheduling, workflow process diagramming and analysis tools, and group document handling including group editing.



Software that supports multiple users working on related tasks in local and remote networks. Also called "collaborative software," groupware is an evolving concept that is more than just multiuser software which allows access to the same data. Groupware provides a mechanism that helps users coordinate and keep track of ongoing projects together.

Lotus Notes is often considered the father of groupware, because it was the first to popularize a multifunction groupware system and development environment.

A fundamental component of groupware is email, because email is used to notify team members, obtain responses and send alerts. Email messages include live links to databases, intranets and the Internet. Instant messaging (IM) is also widely used.

Groupware Is Comprehensive
Groupware also includes document sharing and document management, group calendaring and scheduling, group contact and task management, threaded discussions, text chat, data conferencing and audio and videoconferencing. Workflow, which allows messages and documents to be routed to the appropriate users, is often part of a groupware system.

From Simple to Complex
The Internet/intranet explosion focused attention on groupware because of the ease with which HTML pages could be created and shared. However, as documents became widely distributed throughout the enterprise, security and synchronization problems surfaced. Document management became a problem, and access control and replication became issues. Thus, what started out as a simple way to electronically publish information, wound up becoming a complex enterprise-wide system. See workflow, contextual collaboration, collaborative browsing and wares.

Groupware and Workflow
Groupware focuses on the information being processed and enabling users to share it. Workflow emphasizes the process, which acts as a container for the information. Groupware is "information centered." Workflow is "process centered." (Illustration courtesy of Delphi Consulting Group, Inc.)
References in periodicals archive ?
Fujitsu will also provide technical assistance to integrate each existing system's authentication mechanism and data records as well as a variety of groupware.
These activity records include groupware activity logs, onscreen videos, and activity video as detailed below:
Research on the usage behavior of groupware applications is still relatively recent.
If groupware provides the means for increased collaboration and information transfer, why couldn't this type of product be used to share the work on reference questions?
SuSE Linux Openexchange Server 4.1 will be generally available on November 17 and will cost from $1,240 with a base license for 10 groupware clients and unlimited email clients.
Life sciences companies use common groupware suites that lend themselves to KM, such as Lotus Notes and Microsoft Exchange.
"Diyixian is proud to offer a new breed of managed hosting service that features AMD's new line of AMD Athlon MP processors and Magically's top messaging and groupware solution," said Lap Man, CEO of Diyixian.
This study in electronic collaboration usage and implications extends what has already been done in groupware and group collaboration systems.
The applications most often integrated with the portal software are groupware, customer relationship management and enterprise resource planning applications.
The collaborative groupware can also be used to make data available across networks.
Magic Notes automatically saves notes whenever changes are made and includes a newly updated Net Send feature, allowing the program to be used as a groupware application for a LAN setting such as a small business or home network, or over the Internet.