A groupware is computer software that is devised to help people who engage in doing the same task to reach their goals. Individuals may not be in the same locality, but they are connected by the Internet.
Data is accessed remotely, which is retrieved and modified by distributed workgroups, and this creates collaborative workgroups. This paper focuses on the most important things to do in the implementation of a groupware in an organization: these include collaboration through communication, process analysis and justification, and training and people involvement.
Hills (2008) argues that groupware balances communication and conversation. Communication between the group members is essential because it allows transfer of ideas from one person in a different locality to another; information can be exchanged in a well organized manner. When devising a groupware, it is important to build both formal and informal communication channels.
Groupware helps to make communication easy, clearer, and faster. This technology makes communication possible even to the places that it would not be possible. It enables telecommuting where people are able to save travel costs and consolidate different ideas in discussions and expertise because it enables the formation of groups with the same interest, and with different outlooks on problem solving rather than meeting face to face (Bruce, 2008).
Additionally, groupware supports the people that make a team, especially in decision making process. Teams are composed of members from different countries and continents and some even use different languages. Brainstorming is important because it facilitates exchange of ideas. Groupware also supports multi user editing of documents with white boards and chats, and collaborative media software also allows simultaneous users to make and build information in a website.
Similarly, Strom (n.d) affirms that process analysis and justification of change is also important when designing a groupware. This is because these processes should be designed with the goal of supporting system usage and improving the processes, the costs involved and plans are laid down to meet the goals and objectives of an organization (Miller, n.d).
All the group members should be able to understand that the new system is meant to improve their work. In designing of the system, users evaluate the system model in real work practice so that further developments can be made according to users experience or further needs. Cooperation of the group members is essential because they are the end users.
Groupware will be successful only when employees agree to use it. This may sometimes fail because employers may use them to downsize or to replace employees, and those who remain may fear job loss and become insecure. The organization should make the employee to understand that the implementation of the groupware is meant to help them.
The concept of sharing is important and it is essential to train people because some may resist. This resistance may come from some individuals in departments that store information, and they think that it gives them power because they fear to lose their status. However, people are comfortable doing things as they have been doing and it takes time for the system designers to make them accept because they see it as disruption from the normal to the worse.
Before the implementation of the system, the concerns of those who will take part should be considered. People should be involved from the beginning to the end. This can only be achieved by building teams and collaborative cultures. This helps people to get to know one another even before they start working as a group. It involves change from the old culture to a new one, which supports collaboration; the organization should make sure that employees feel secure working as a group.
Furthermore, good communication is essential in the process of groupware implementation. When people are helped throughout the change process they see the need to have a new system. This is achieved by training the employees and also having specialized training programs to cater for each users needs, thus making them understand how groupware improves their work (Hills, 2005).
After the implementation, the groupware system is tested and pilot runs are done to determine whether it is working properly. Users use it to identify any challenges or difficulties for further improvements. If the system is approved, the group members immediately start using it. Training continues until the users get contented with the new system.
In conclusion, organizations should consider how groupware adds value to business processes, and think about implementing it. This can be successful when the organization is aware of the existing system, cultures, norms and what people think about sharing. By understanding all these, conflicts are avoided.
Organization performance gets better with less time in marketing because one advantage of groupware is the ability to cut down on time for meetings and decision making to allow more time on satisfying customer needs and hence, increasing customer satisfaction and putting the organization into a competitive edge.
Bruce, H. (2008). Groupware Collaboration. New York: Barron’s Educational Series, Inc.
Hills, H. (2005). What’s so hard about Groupware? Networking Computers is easy Compared to Networking People. Intranet Journal. Retrieved from http://www.intranetjournal.com/features/groupware-1.shtml
Miller, J. (2005). Groupware: What Works the Way Businesses Do? Buzzle.com. Retrieved from http://www.buzzle.com/editorials/6-6-2005-71151.asp
Strom, D. (n.d). Groupware: Ready or Not. Retrieved from http://www.strom.com/pubwork/jf95.html