Web Based Collaboration Software
MasterControl’s web based collaboration software is based on industry best practices. It combines collaboration with document control, or you can work with the entire quality suite that includes document control, risk management, audit management, training management, and process automation like CAPA, customer complaints, nonconformance, and more. Different types of collaboration and best practices are discussed more below.
Web based collaboration software (also referred to as groupware, work group support systems or simply group support systems) is computer software designed to help people involved in a common task achieve their goals. It is usually associated with individuals who are not located in the same physical location but instead need to work together across an internet connection. It can also include remote access storage systems for archiving common use data files that can be accessed, modified and retrieved by the distributed work group members.
Software systems such as email, calendaring, text chat, wiki, and bookmarking belong to this category. It has been suggested that Metcalfe's law — the more people who use something, the more valuable it becomes — applies to these types of software.
Whereas the more general term social media software applies to systems used outside the workplace, (e.g, online dating services and social networks like Friendster, Twitter and Facebook) the use of web based collaboration software in the workspace creates a collaborative working environment (CWE). A collaborative working environment supports people in both their individual and cooperative work thus giving birth to a new class of professionals, e-professionals, who can work together irrespective of their geographical location.
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 web based collaboration 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.
Sharing through Web Based Collaboration Software
The design intent of web based collaboration software (groupware) is to transform the way documents and rich media are shared in order to enable more effective team collaboration.
Collaboration, with respect to information technology, seems to have several definitions. Some are defensible but others are so broad they lose any meaningful application. Understanding the differences in human interactions is necessary to ensure that appropriate technologies are employed to meet interaction needs.
There are three primary ways in which humans interact: conversations, transactions, and collaborations.
Conversational interaction is an exchange of information between two or more participants where the primary purpose of the interaction is discovery or relationship building. There is no central entity around which the interaction revolves but is a free exchange of information with no defined constraints. Communication technology such as telephones, instant messaging, and e-mail are generally sufficient for conversational interactions.
Transactional interaction involves the exchange of transaction entities where a major function of the transaction entity is to alter the relationship between participants. The transaction entity is in a relatively stable form and constrains or defines the new relationship. One participant exchanges money for goods and becomes a customer. Transactional interactions are most effectively handled by transactional systems that manage state and commit records for persistent storage.
In collaborative interactions the main function of the participants' relationship is to alter a collaboration entity (i.e., the converse of transactional). The collaboration entity is in a relatively unstable form. Examples include the development of an idea, the creation of a design, the achievement of a shared goal. Therefore, real collaboration technologies deliver the functionality for many participants to augment a common deliverable. Record or document management, threaded discussions, audit history, and other mechanisms designed to capture the efforts of many into a managed content environment are typical of collaboration technologies.
Collaboration in Education- two or more co-equal individuals voluntarily bring their knowledge and experiences together by interacting toward a common goal in the best interest of students' needs for the betterment of their educational success.
Best-In-Class Web Based Collaboration Software
Collaboration cannot take place in a vacuum; it requires individuals working together in a coordinated fashion, towards a common goal. Accomplishing the goal is the primary purpose for bringing the team together. Web based collaboration software helps facilitate the action-oriented team working together over geographic distances by providing tools that help communication, collaboration and the process of problem solving by providing the team with a common means for communicating ideas and brainstorming. Additionally, web based collaboration software should support project management functions, such as task assignments, time-management with deadlines and shared calendars. The artifacts and the tangible evidence of the problem solving process (including the final outcome of the collaborative effort) require documentation, archiving and the promotion for potential reuse. This should also include the artifacts of the process itself, such as project plans and schedules noting deadlines and deliverables.
Web based collaboration software should support the individuals that make up the team and the interactions between them during the group decision making process. Today's teams are composed of members from around the globe with many using their second or third language in communicating with the group. This provides cultural as well as linguistic challenges for any software that supports the collaborative effort. The software should also support team membership, roles and responsibilities. Additionally, collaborative support systems may offer the ability to support ancillary systems, such as budgets and physical resources.
Brainstorming is considered to be a tenant of collaboration, with the rapid exchange of ideas facilitating the group decision making process. Web based collaborative software provides areas that support multi-user editing with virtual whiteboards and chat or other forms of communication. Better solutions record the process and provide revision history. An emerging category of computer software, a collaboration platform is a unified electronic platform that supports synchronous and asynchronous communication through a variety of devices and channels.
An extension of groupware is collaborative media, software that allows several concurrent users to create and manage information in a website. Collaborative media models include wiki (Comparison of wiki software) and Slashdot models. Some sites with publicly accessible content based on collaborative software are: WikiWikiWeb, Wikipedia and Everything2. By method used we can divide them into:
- Web-based collaborative tools
- Software collaborative tools
Along with these, already traditional, methods recent expansion of corporate use of Second Life and other virtual worlds lead to the development of a newer generation of software that takes advantage of a 3D data presentation. Some of this software (3D Topicscape) works independently from virtual worlds and simply uses 3D to support user "in concept creation, planning, organization, development and actualization". Other designed specifically to assist in collaboration when using virtual worlds as a business platform, while yet another type of software, Collaborative Knowledge Management (cKM), bridges the gap and can be used simultaneously in Second Life and on the web.
By area served we can divide collaborative software into:
- Knowledge management tools
- Knowledge creation tools
- Information sharing tools
- Collaborative project management tools
For More Information on Web Based Collaboration Software
For more information on web based collaboration software, please contact a MasterControl representative.