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Collaborative software which is sometimes referred to as groupware is a computer program that allows data to be shared and exchanged between various computer systems such as desktops, tablets, and mobile phones. The idea behind collaborative software is to allow users to collectively work on tasks even when their physical location doesn’t allow it. The software works to connect individuals across both remote and local computer networks.
Collaborative software is highly regarded and necessary in many industries because of its many benefits. Some of the benefits include being able to facilitate cooperative planning, tracking, scheduling, and integrated project management tools. In today’s fast-paced environment users need to be able to collaborate via Internet or intranets. This combined with the data storage abilities of collaborative software have made the advent of this program very successful.
Often thought of as the precursor to collaborative software, groupware are computer programs that assist users working collectively together remotely. Unlike contemporary collaborative software, most groupware programs didn’t allow for ‘real time’ collaboration in less it was synchronous groupware.
Groupware does offer the same features as collaborative software and many believe groupware is indistinguishable from collaborative software. This is because many groupware services include sharing calendar, email, shared access to database and word processing systems, and other project management tools.
Groupware has spawned not only collaborative software but collaborative media that is often used on collaborative software modules. Collaborative media models include websites like Wikipedia.
Common collaborative software tools
Collaboration tools are one of the biggest benefits to collaborative software. The business world isn't just cubicle and desk and more now than ever before the ability increased productivity means greater collaborative efforts. Increasing productivity among a company's employees or the company and its clients are usually done with service features listed below.
Common sharing features are:
- Email communications
- IM (instant messaging)
- Chat rooms
- Time trackers
- Project management tools
- Workflow sheets
- Extranet systems
- Image galleries
When examining collaboration and information technologies defining human interactions are imperative to ensure proper use. There are three categories of use when it comes to human interactions. They are listed as follows:
- conversational interaction
- transactional interaction
- collaborative interaction
Conversational interaction is defined by information being shared by one than one part with the purpose of relationship building. This is a free exchange of information without constraints. In a collaborative software environment this is often conveyed using communication technology from telephones to instant messaging.
Transactional interaction is defined by a relationship pattern changing by transactional methods. Transactional interactions are most effectively handled by transactional systems that manage state and commit records for persistent storage. This is usually handled by work flow systems of the collaborative software.
Collaborative interactions is defined by the main fiction of the relationship entities is alter to collaborate. The collaboration entity is in a relatively unstable form. An example cited is the development of ideas or some creation within the group dynamic.
Understanding the type of worker and how he will work on a collaborative effort is very important and plays to the implementation of collaborative software.
The implementation of collaborative software can be a huge challenge for management. This is because most often you are convincing people to change their methods of doing things and change isn't always met with enthusiasm. There are times when management can also be apprehension as many times software use requires training. Usually to combat this employers try incentives and further explanation. When workers understand the importance and feel they have can provide input implementation can go a lot smoother.
The following are software applications or solutions including free software:
- AceProject, web-based collaboration software for project management
- Adobe Acrobat, gives synchronous and asynchronous review of PDFs
- AgileZen, online collaborative project management software
- AirSet, personal information management and private social network platform
- Atlassian Confluence, web-based team and content collaboration software
- Atmail, full server/client groupware software based on CalDAV
- Axigen, messaging and collaborating software based on proprietary architectures such as Axigen: GrowSecure, SmartProcessing, UltraStorage
- Basecamp, web-based project collaboration and management
- Binfire, web-based project collaboration & management software for remote teams
- Blogtronix, web-based suite combining groups, blogs, wiki, documents, multimedia, workflow and more
- Box.net, web-based collaboration and content management for enterprises
- BSCW, Basic Support for Collaborative Work
- Cadac Organice, SharePoint based document management and collaboration software for engineering companies
- Cadweb, web-based construction collaboration extranet, incorporating document management and drawing mark-up/review
- Calliflower, Web-based team document sharing, synchronous conferencing, online chat, whiteboarding
- Celoxis, web-based project management and collaboration software.
- Cerebro, software complex for media project management. Incorporating audiovisual reviewing and assets management.
- Clearspace, web-based suite integrating forums, blogs, wiki, chat, VOIP
- ClickHome, collaborative software for the construction industry provided as app and web-based office product.
- Clinked, cloud-based collaboration tool for managing projects and data management
- codeBeamer, web-based collaborative Application Lifecycle Management software for distributed software development projects
- Collaba, integrated collaboration and communication platform server
- Collaber, Eclipse-based client–server platform
- Collabtive, web-based project management software for distributed teams
- Concursive, web-based and mobile tools for socially enabled project management, customer support and business directories
- Collanos Workplace, server-less, cross-platform, P2P collaborative software for teams working beyond enterprise platforms
- CoMotion, by General Dynamics C4S Viz is a multi-tiered client–server collaborative workspace system with extensive data visualization, annotation, and organizational tools
- Contactizer Pro, by Objective Decision; decentralized collaborative sharing of contacts, tasks and events, for Mac OS X
- Creately, collaborative online diagramming software used by teams around the world to communicate more effectively.
- Debategraph, web-based, collaborative idea visualization and deliberation
- e, collaborative editor which works as a live revision control system; uses an edit-and-commit style of collaboration
- err, an extensible XMPP/Jabber chatbot for collaborative work over MUC chatrooms
- EditGrid, online spreadsheet with access control and revision history support, which real-time update (RTU) feature allows multiple users to collaborate on one spreadsheet concurrently
- EMC Documentum eRoom, collaborative software provided via browser as on-premise or hosted
- Fabasoft Folio Cloud, cloud DMS for organisations with hybrid cloud and data residency option
- FirstClass, client/server groupware
- FMYI, free web-based, private social network for small to large size teams
- GForge Advanced Server, distributed software development as a web based platform with many plugins to interact with Eclipse IDE and Microsoft Visual Studio to handle full software life cycle
- Google Apps, web-based real-time collaboration: document, spreadsheet, presentation editing and more.
- GrexIt, Email based collaboration tool for Google Apps.
- GroveSite, web-based collaboration suite with document sharing, file libraries, discussion threads and more.
- Hall.com, web-based collaboration, group chat, video chat, file sharing, one-on-one chat and more.
- Huddle, secure web-based content management and content collaboration platform for enterprises and governments.
- Hyperoffice, web-based online collaboration, messaging and project management; for small to medium sized firms
- i-sense, full featured, web-based groupware; has organizer and collaboration, customer relationship and enterprise resource functions; free to non-commercial users, organizations
- IBM Lotus Notes and Domino
- IBM Lotus QuickPlace, name changed to Lotus Team Workspace in version 6.5.1 only
- IBM Quickr, replaces IBM Lotus QuickPlace; runs on Domino or WebSphere servers
- IBM Workplace-branded products
- IBM Lotus Sametime
- Incentive, A Social Collaboration software for enterprises. www.incentivecorp.com for more information.
- Jama Contour, web-based collaborative platform for communicating requirements and managing complex projects
- JotSpot, wiki supports calendars, spreadsheets, file repositories, photo galleries; made for ease of use
- Kerio Connect, multiplatform mail and groupware server
- Knowledge Plaza, web-based social knowledge management tool
- KnowledgeTree, online document management and collaboration for mid-market businesses and enterprises.
- Kolab, groupware collaboration solution with server and native client. Fully Open Source and Open Standards through to the storage layer
- Liferay, portal, web content management and social collaboration platform
- LiquidPlanner, wiki-like pages, document sharing, Twitter-like commenting
- LucidChart, collaborative diagramming and website/software prototyping, supports real time collaboration, built on web-standards
- Mavenlink, web-based project collaboration and management
- Microsoft Exchange Server and the Microsoft Outlook client
- Microsoft Windows Live messenger, office web apps, skydrive, mail, ...
- Microsoft Live Meeting
- Microsoft Office Live Communications Server
- Microsoft Office desktop tools for collaboration
- Microsoft Project Server
- Microsoft SharePoint Server and Microsoft SharePoint Foundation
- Microsoft SharePoint Workspace, desktop collaboration application
- Microsoft Team Foundation Server, developer collaboration platform
- MindMeister, collaborative mindmapping software that supports superior teamwork
- Mixedink, combines collaborative editing with voting
- Nefsis, multi-party online collaboration and video conferencing software for businesses
- Novell GroupWise
- Oracle Beehive, combines email, team collaboration, and conferencing in one collaboration platform
- Oracle WebCenter, Group Spaces
- omNovia Technologies, online meeting platform for collaborative meetings, eLearning, interactive training sessions
- Owis, workflow management, document management, knowledge base, calendar, IM and collaboration suite
- PabloDraw, collaborative text and ANSI/ASCII art editing tool on Windows
- Pidoco, cloud-based collaboration tool to create, share, test website and mobile app UI prototypes
- Pivotal Tracker, agile project management and collaboration tool
- Planbox, web-based agile project management tool with team collaboration features: comments, file sharing, feedback management
- ProtoShare, web-based collaborative prototyping and review tool for interactive projects
- Qontext, enables communicating, sharing, and collaborating from inside common business applications like netsuite, sugarcrm, Salesforce.com and more
- Saba Software, collaboration platform for holding online meetings and virtual classrooms
- SamePage, Web-based enterprise wiki for knowledge management and collaboration
- Saros, collaborative text editing for Distributed Party Programming
- Seefile, Web-based interface for image collaboration
- Smart Meeting Pro, a collaborative meeting software that connects two or more desktops/laptops or interactive whiteboards in the same meeting room, or across distances when using Smart Bridgit software. Users write over soft copy documents using digital ink and pass the document to the next interactive whiteboard or laptop
- Smart Bridgit, a data conferencing software that connects multiple parties across distances and allows users to share their desktop/laptop or interactive whiteboard screen with all participants. Smart Bridgit includesVoIP, webcam capability and digital ink
- Smartsheet, Web-based workflow, collaboration management; information owners can involve contributors without needing them to use the application
- Socialtext, suite of web-based social software applications
- SubEthaEdit, collaborative text editing on Mac OS X
- Synovel Collabsuite, full messaging software for organizations with email, calendaring and instant messaging; with integrated server, web administration console, desktop client suite, web access
- TeamWox, web-based collaboration software with file storage, email client, contact book, bagtracking, IP PBX, chat and forum
- Telligent, enterprise community and collaboration platform with blogs, wikis, more enterprise 2.0 abilities
- tmsEKP, suite for content management, knowledge portal, organisational collaboration, document management, e-learning, content syndication, human resource, project management, helpdesk
- Traction TeamPage, model focuses on collaboration within and among groups using a sophisticated permission model that aggregates multiple blog/wiki spaces using a web-based journal modeled on the principals of Douglas Engelbart's On-Line System (NLS)
- Teamwork, cross-platform software, integrates project management, issue tracking, groupware
- Tonido Workspace, cross-platform collaborative software, synchronizes workspaces, allows web based guest access
- TrackerSuite.Net, Web based, modular software suite, with online workspace for project and IT service teams, organization calendar, document management, can use email for automated team notifications and e-newsletters
- Ubidesk, has collaborative online workspaces that help teams work together effectively with document collaboration, file sharing, task management
- Vignette, content management system
- VSee, video conferencing tool with screen share, annotation and file sending capabilities
- WebEx, web-based collaboration tools
- WebTrain, web-based collaboration for meetings, training, and education
- Wiggio, web-based free group calendars, list-servs, messaging (texting, email, voice), shared document editing and versioning, meetings management (chat, teleconference)
- Workspot, web service providing Linux desktops, which can be shared securely via browser
- WorkZone, SaaS project management and collaboration tool.
- Wrike, tool for project management and collaboration
- Writeboard, collaborative text editor
- Zing Technologies AnyZing and ZingThing, electronic learning and meeting system software for team rooms and networks
Cloud collaboration software applications that allow companies to manage data and communicate electronically within the organization via devices. Usually the service is provided in a social networking environment.
Cloud collaboration applications currently support many features and services like their traditional software counterparts. They are even accessible via mobile devices and nearly instantaneously scalable but there are two afflictions that are hindering many companies from fully relying on cloud collaboration. The first affliction is also found in the use of traditional collaborative software. Implementation of collaborative software must be far spread throughout an organizations with every department in agreement of its use. Many times management finds that common office communication tools like email or IM doesn't take the place of old fashion communications methods especially when workers are creating presentations or other important documentation. Lastly, there is also down-time and many performance problems with cloud collaboration software. The time it takes to regulate a technician can get jarring. “When the technicians are unable to get physical access to the machine in question, it can take an average of 40% to 50% longer. Moreover, remote workers have a wide collection of routers and firewalls that require more work to troubleshoot. This challenge has a ripple effect on productivity (Roe)”
Cloud Collaboration: Connecting SharePoint to Windows Azure with Silverlight Web Parts by Steve [Fox http://msdn.microsoft.com/en-us/magazine/gg309179.aspx]
Collaborate Cloud (Corporate Website)
Cloud Collaboration for Business Needs: Advantages, Challenges by David Roe 
Collaboration in the Cloud -- Why Aren't You doing it? by Jeff Van 
Word IQ - Collaborative_software 
List of collaborative software -- Wikipedia