Groupware: Avoid the Ad Hoc Shuffle


Efforts are continually made to manage the unavoidable ad hoc business process, but ad hoc processes do not necessarily mean a pile of messy, shuffled documents, at least not anymore. Groupware is software which tracks and manages the ad hoc business collaboration.

Look at the search engines to see just how many solutions similar to groupware are available to help businesses organize collaboration efforts. In most cases, collaboration and document tracking software are built around organized and established drafting processes. They enable filing and tracking of collaborative efforts in a structured collaboration environment.

Ad Hoc Business

The reality is that the collaborative environment cannot always be structured. Flexibility is a necessity and ad hoc is a reality. Often, collaboration has to take place very quickly to meet deadlines. When that happens, what is left is a scattered set of emails, drafts, Word and Excel documents, and other changes saved in multiple locations. Groupware is software that manages ad hoc collaboration while working the way businesses do.

Simple Installation

Businesses are budget-sensitive when it comes to new technologies. Often new technologies require an expensive IT infrastructure with an installation fee and service fees. Groupware provides simple software installation that eliminates those costs and saves time.


Business concerns about new technologies are valid, especially regarding questions of accessibility. For example, installing or downloading new software within a company network is cost-efficient and beneficial to the entire company. But, because companies are not a self-sustaining entity, they need to know if new software will also benefit clients and investors.

Groupware is software that works with any person or company with which your business works. Clients, partners, and other businesses may not yet have the same teamware, but once the technology is adopted by your company, it works for them too.


Another concern businesses may have in incorporating new technology is whether or not the new technology is compatible with current technology. Businesses do not need to worry about interfacing or learning new technology. Groupware utilizes technology with which businesses are already familiar. Microsoft applications such as Word, Excel, and Outlook are applications through which the technology works.


Groupware utilizes a variety of technologies which enable effective tracking and managing of ad hoc documents. Digital Thread technology tags the meta data of an electronic document, tracking the who, what, when, where, and how of any changes made in the text or the location of the document. This tracking takes place over email and hard drives, stringing together all of the document drafts.

Digital Signature displays the tracking information in a signature at the bottom of each email. Version History ties it all together by displaying a flowchart of the various document versions. Groupware tracks and manages all document versions, no matter how much of a hurry you are in during collaboration.

When searching for the document management and collaboration technology for your business, remember that document management will most often require tracking ad hoc processes of fast-paced business. Groupware solutions work the way your business works.

Joe Miller is a specialist in online advertising. Groupware information is available at

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