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A groupware, also called collaborative software, is a software that supports multiusers tasks on the same platform. Instead of a workflow processed-centered task, groupwares enable a workflow information-centered task in which all actors can access and modify an information.
Groupwares aren't only softwares that permit to share and access the same information. 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.
Here is a not so complete typology of different kinds of systems (including a few examples)
- "Mainstream" centralized groupware that also provide workflow facilities.
- MS SharePoint
- Lotus Notes
- PhProjekt (Open source)
- Social web applications
- Ning (Social web apps server)
- Peer-to-peer groupware
- Computer-supported collaborative learning systems (CSCL)
- Computer-supported cooperative work systems (CSCW)
- Content management systems and learning management systema always include some groupware components
- Forums, in particular more complex forums that allow e.g. file attachments
- Wikis, in particular ones that include additional features such as uploads, special discussion pages, and other "sharing" modules.
.... in fact, most portals can be used as groupware.