Groupware and Version History: Collaboration Series #1
By Joe Miller
This article is the first of a series of articles exploring specific aspects of groupware. The brief informational articles in this series discuss some of the technologies associated with groupware, as well as some of the characteristics of groupware. Some of these characteristics may go hand in hand with business collaborative needs. Other characteristics go beyond what some groupware providers have to offer. The purpose of these articles is to equip the groupware user or investigator with helpful knowledge about the product in order to enable more effective use or to lead the investigator to the groupware service he or she is looking for. This first article explores Version History, a service that can be provided in groupware in order to simplify version tracking.
What is Groupware?
I have already mentioned that groupware helps businesses meet their collaborative needs, but groupware is not simply software used by businesses to organize documents and their drafts. Groupware deals specifically with the ad hoc nature of much of the document collaboration in today’s fast-paced business. But, in order to provide the document tracking and management necessary to run effective document collaboration, even in an ad hoc setting, groupware must have the ability to track documents and their versions across multiple email boxes, hard drives, and servers.
What does Version History do for Groupware?
Version History utilizes Digital Thread technology to complete its tracking across email boxes, hard drives, and servers. The Digital Thread inserts tracking code into the meta data of any Word, PowerPoint, or Excel document and keeps track of the who, what, when, where, and how of each change made, even with multiple users. The information is literally threaded together like beads on a string, and displayed in a flow chart through the Version History option.
As deadlines draw near and it comes time to merge the document changes, questions will inevitably arise as to who made certain changes and why. Using Version History as a reference, users know exactly who to ask. The questions left in the wake of ad hoc document collaboration are gathered together and sorted out by Version History until all businesses see in front of them are answers.
You can also click on any two documents in a version history and click “compare”. That runs Microsoft Compare of the two document versions. It makes it easy to see differences between any two document versions.
Narrowing Down Your Search
In B to B searching, Google has the reputation of the most relevant searches. However, groupware is not only used in B to B communication. In B to C communication, Yahoo may be your best bet. MSN is also in the “big three” of search engines for the most relevant searches. Whichever index you choose to use, you will still need to sift through millions of indexed pages to find groupware that works for your business.
This article has explored one way of narrowing your search, and that is by looking for groupware that uses the Digital Thread empowered Version History option.