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Book Contents

Ch. 8
Implementing Communications-Driven and Group Decision Support Systems

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Groupware

Computer conferencing provides meeting participants with connectivity and with a database of comments and interactions. Electronic bulletin boards are a simple type of groupware. Email is also a groupware tool. Other capabilities of groupware software includes information sharing, joint document authoring, shared calendars, and project management. Groupware provides support for communication and collaboration among group members, and it provides coordination for group tasks.

A Conferencing System, Messaging System or Bulletin Board is a widely used tool. It allows posting of messages that can be read and responded to by team members and meeting participants at any time. A conferencing system can be searched for content, sender, and date of sending. Also, posted articles or messages can have embedded hyperlinks. Most conferencing systems can have any number of topics or forums.

Many of us use Electronic Mail. An electronic mail facility is needed to provide one-to-one message transfer among team members. Email remains an important communication and collaboration tool.

A Chat Tool is also sometimes useful. A chat tool provides real-time text-based communication among participants. People can type in a message and they can "chat" with others in the chat session.

An interesting meeting support tool is a Whiteboard. A Whiteboard allows for real-time communication among meeting participants using a graphical drawing or painting interface. A person draws on the whiteboard and all other participants "see" what is drawn on their computer screens.

Most groupware programs let users transmit Email, but they also tend to have such features as group calendars, databases and message boards. Groupware programs let users check other staff members' schedules in order to plan meetings. One of the biggest strengths of groupware programs is their messaging capability.

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