Hi Group 2, add or modify your content in this page by Sunday Nov 15 at 2359.
Title: Supporting IT-Enabled Collaboration

Table of content

1. What is online communities?
1.1 Introduction of GroupWare
1.2 Examples of GroupWare
1.2 Benefits of GroupWare
1.3 weakness of Group Ware
1.4 Characteristics of Group
2. What is Open Source?
2.1 The open source software Phenomenon
2.2 Benefit of using OSS
2.3 Risk of using OSS
2.4 Examples of existing OSS products
2.5 Benefits and Risks of Open Source Software Compared to Traditional
2.6 Approaching the Open Source Software Community
2.7 Initial Study on Open-source software development
3. Introduction of Community of practice (CoP)
3.1 Examples of Communities of Practice
4.1 What is GDSS
4.2 GDSS Foundations
4.3 GDSS Taxonomies
4.4 Components of GDSS
4.5 Typology of GDSS
4.6 Factors that affect GDSS
4.7 Advantage and Disadvantage of GDSS
4.8 How GDSS Can Support VM Studies
7.1 GDSS Alternatives
7.2 Innovation of GDSS
8. GDSS Tool Examples
9. Workforce management
9.1 Type of Workforce management
9.2 Risk of Workforce management
9.3 Workforce management software
9.4 Business process automation
10.Virtual Workforce
11. How GDSS improves groupwork
12. Implementation issues for online collaboration
13. Collaboration-Enabling Tools: Teleconferencing

What is online communities?
Successful online communities is the result of a carefully executed strategy, solid design, and patient nurturing.
The benefits an online community can bring to your brand make the efforts worthwhile. We need to
1. Identify the business objectives for your online community,
2. Develop a community strategy to recruit and retain members,
3. Create brand loyalty, bring in new business, and offer value to customers that your competitors cannot imitate
4. Take advantage of free advertising opportunities
5. Use communities to gain market insights and establish a direct line to your customer base
In addition, we need to discover risks and costs of an online community project, how it can end up saving your company money, and even how it can become an important new revenue source of its own. We also be inspired by exclusive interviews, where the people who manage thriving online communities share they have learned and the secrets of their success.
6 are used for a difference of social and professional groups communicate via the Internet
7 Online communication always using web2.0 technique to make it because apply web 2.0 have a real time reaction.

Online community manager

The Four Tenets of the Community Manager
In the following, I’m not going to list out all my findings, but it was clear there were 4 number of Tenets, or beliefs that each role holds. In nearly all the job descriptions, the following beliefs were spelled out as requirements for the role.

1) A Community Advocate
As a community advocate, the community managers’ primary role is to represent the customer. This includes listening, which results in monitoring, and being active in understanding what customers are saying in both the corporate community as well as external websites. Secondly, they engage customers by responding to their requests and needs or just conversations, both in private and in public.
2) Brand Evangelist
In this evangelistic role (it goes both ways) the community manager will promote events, products and upgrades to customers by using traditional marketing tactics and conversational discussions. As proven as a trusted member of the community (tenet 1) the individual has a higher degree of trust and will offer good products.
3) Savvy Communication Skills, Shapes Editorial
This tenet, which is both editorial planning and mediation serves the individual well. The community manager should first be very familiar with the tools of communication, from forums, to blogs, to podcasts, to twitter, and then understand the language and jargon that is used in the community. This individual is also responsible for mediating disputes within the community, and will lean on advocates, and embrace detractors –and sometimes removing them completely. Importantly, the role is responsible for the editorial strategy and planning within the community, and will work with many internal stakeholders to identify content, plan, publish, and follow up.
4) Gathers Community Input for Future Product and Services Perhaps the most strategic of all tenets, community managers are responsible for gathering the requirements of the community in a responsible way and presenting it to product teams. This may involve formal product requirements methods from surveys to focus groups, to facilitating the relationships between product teams and customers. The opportunity to build better products and services through this real-time live focus group are ripe, in many cases, customer communities have been waiting for a chance to give feedback.


History of Online Community

Some of the earliest forms of web 1.0 virtual community websites included, the function focused on bringing people together to interact with each other through chat rooms, and share personal information and ideas around any topics via personal homepage.The web 2.0 wave of online community arrived in the early 2000s and is essentially characterized by virtual communities such asFlickr|Flickr, Facebook|Facebook, and Del.icio.us|Del.icio.us. A similar trend is starting to emerge within businesses where online or virtual communities are taking hold. These communities can be organizational, regional or topical depending on the business. From a technical perspective software tools abound to create and nurture these communities including BigTent|BigTent]], wiki/Yahoo_Groups|Yahoo Groups, wiki/Google_Groups|Google Groups, wiki/LISTSERV|LISTSERV, wiki/Microsoft_Sharepoint|Microsoft Sharepoint and wiki/Lotus_Connections|Lotus Connections.


Online community managers act as different role on different nature and purpose of the profit motivated or not's online communities.such leaders hold the common vision, create or manage relationships, collaborative processes

Features of an Online Community
Community websites offer a common activity
Generally, Human interactive is through the Internet, becau Satisfaction se peoples make a community websites network which connect peoples many to many; bind our activities in a 24-hours operating. We cannot isolate the Internet and we have to use that be more effective.
Community websites offer online identities for their members
In the Internet, we will identify which types of members you are. Every peoples have one or more virtual or actual group for you and you can join or not. You can go the online location basic on your identify.
Community websites give their members homepages or profile pages
You and companies can open your homepages through website to take a broadcast connection by the Internet. I do believe every people will remain some vestige. Sometimes, companies always push the personal information of staff to internal homepage.
Community websites give members a way to communicate one-on-one
Nowadays, ii is difficult for companies to provide a one-on-one communication and gerenally they will use the email system for one -on-one private commnication.
Develop a community strategy: The quantity of people is the win method nowadays. We have to make some characteristic to attrack peoples to use yours to make many values. That have a few steps to achieve the object:
Step 1. Define Business Goals and Objectives: You have to identify a baseline of organization;s goals to define the activities in your organization which should not always to change and just could append that, because the goal of the organization should not be wrong.
Step 2: Community Ecosystem Review: customer, prospect, partner and competitor have to a touch point to commnicate. Using tools like BlogPulse, Technorati, Delicious, and Google Blog search conduct searches for brand mentions in the blogosphere and on smaller niche communities. It's also important to research activity on the communities, and larger social media sies that some times don't surface in search results. Sites like Facebook , MySpace , YouTube , Ning , Flickr , Satisfaction , etc. In particular, look for ad-hoc groups that have sprung up around your brand, or content tagged with your brand/or product.
Step 3: Member Needs Analysis: User's expectations is very important for us to guide decision-making on the types of activities to engage in and the approach, e.g. offline / online, hosted / independent).
Step 4: Community Strategy Development: This final phase will combine the inputs of business goals, user needs and the existing community audit to form a community strategy.
Referenced by: http://www.onlinecommunityreport.com/archives/326-How-to-Develop-a-Community-Strategy.html
Referenced by[[:http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Virtual_community]]
PartnerPoint Communities - Included within PartnerPoint are PartnerPoint Communities. It provdied Forums, Chat Rooms, Group Calendar, Document Repository, New ... etc.
In technology side, it is a quick and efficient way to keep up the important information between the employees and the vendors. It seem to be a group of B2B communities.
It is a full set of module. But it is NOT free.
Here is a demo video.

Reference: http://www.partnerpoint.com/PartnerPoint/tabid/37/Default.aspx


Introduction of GroupWare
GroupWare is a set of programs that help people work together collectively when they are working in different location. Often, groupware users are collaborating on the same project, although groupware can be used to share a variety of information throughout an entire organization and can also be extended to clients, suppliers, and other users outside the organization. It is also used to define workflow, so that as one user completes a step in a project or process, the person responsible for the next step is notified automatically. It provides many services such as sharing of calendars, collective writing, e-mail handling, shared database access, electronic meetings so that people can communicate and share information to others, or other activities. Groupware is usually defined as an integral component of a field of study known as Computer-Supported Cooperative Work or CSCW.

Calendaring and Scheduling - Each user maintains an online calendar to track appointments, days out of the office, and other times when he or she is unavailable. Other users can view their colleagues' calendars to look for "free" time for scheduling a new meeting. The user arranging a meeting may then send an announcement to meeting invitees and track their responses. Some packages also incorporate the ability to reserve a meeting room and any needed equipment, such as a video projector.
Discussion Databases - These are topic-specific databases where a user can post an idea, question, or suggestion on a given subject, and other users can post their responses. A discussion board may be set up for a short period of time to gather comments, for example, on an upcoming event, or left up indefinitely, say to solicit new product ideas on an ongoing basis. Usually, the name of each person who posted an item is recorded, but anonymous postings are an option.
Reference Libraries - These are collections of reference materials, such as employee handbooks, policy and procedure manuals, and similar documents. Typically, only certain users are able to post materials to a reference database, while other users have "read only" access—that is, they can view the materials but are not authorized to make any changes to them.

Email - This is probably the most heavily used groupware feature and is used to send messages to other groupware users. A message may be addressed to one or more individuals or sent to a group, such as "Sales," that includes the names of all people within a given department. Generally, users are also able to send messages to individuals located outside the organization.
website - is a collection of related web pages, images, videos or other digital assets that are addressed with a common domain name or IP address in an Internet Protocol-based network. A web site is hosted on at least one web server, accessible via a network such as the Internet or a private local area network.
Voicemail - (or voice mail, voice-mail, vmail or VMS, sometimes called messagebank) is a centralized system of managing telephone messages for a large group of people. The term is also used more broadly, to denote any system of conveying voice message, including the answering machine.
Revision control - is the management of changes to documents, programs, and other information stored as computer files. It is most commonly used in software development, where a team of people may be changing the same files. Changes are usually identified by a number or letter code, termed the "revision number", "revision level", or simply "revision".

Groupware can use three words to explain that:
Environment: it include software and hardware which setssome context to interactive; is designed by a architecture to operate in coordination. Sometimes more powerful functions would be added to the architecture with software and hardware to make a flexible environment for usage.
Interactive: Nowadays, real-time system is as a trend, but the Groupware do not focus on real-time. As the technical limitations and human interaction, it just could merely enforce deadlines that can span weaks.
Shared: Grouping is the main purpose to indicate two or more participants interact with one another in such a manner that each person influences and is influenced by each other person. As a large numbers of persons, every person should be as a group to make the interaction.

Collaborative software (also referred to as groupware or workgroup support systems) is software designed to help people involved in a common task achieve their goals. Collaborative software is the basis for computer supported cooperative work. Such software systems as email, calendaring, text chat, wiki, and bookmarking belong to this category. It has been suggested that Metcalfe's law — the more people who use something, the more valuable it becomes — applies to such software.

The Three levels of collaboration
Groupware can be divided into three categories depending on the level of collaboration—communication tools, conferencing tools and collaborative management (Co-ordination) tools.
Communication can be thought of as unstructured interchange of information. A phone call or an IM Chat discussion are examples of this. Conferencing (or collaboration level, as it is called in the academic papers that discuss these levels) refers to interactive work toward a shared goal. Brainstorming or voting are examples of this. Co-ordination refers to complex interdependent work toward a shared goal. A good metaphor for understanding this is to think about a sports team; everyone has to contribute the right play at the right time as well as adjust their play to the unfolding situation - but everyone is doing something different - in order for the team to win. That is complex interdependent work toward a shared goal: co-ordination.

Reference: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/

Examples of GroupWare
Lotus Notes and Microsoft Exchange is an good and famous example of GroupWare . Both softwares provide a functions such as calendar sharing, e-mail handling, and the replication of files across a distributed system. All user can share, access and view the same information within the network. Besides information sharing, all user is able to hold a electronic "face-to-face" meetings by CU-SeeMe and Microsoft NetMeeting.

Reference: http://searchdomino.techtarget.com/sDefinition/0,,sid4_gci212217,00.html

**IBM lights online collaboration services**
LotusLive Engage's communications and collaboration tools work both within and beyond the corporate firewall so that employees can interact with clients, partners, or suppliers. IBM's phrase to describe what's going on is "extranet collaboration." The short list of the features include profile and contact management, online meetings, file sharing, instant messaging, and project management capabilities.
Added by g2-3445 https://www.lotuslive.com/en/campaigns/sesimple.php

Examples of GroupWare - Daimler Chrysler
Communities of Practice

Reorganized into M-form “car platform” structure (minivan, truck, small car, Jeep) to compete
Reduced product development cycle and encouraged employees to communicate across platforms
Cross-platform groups evolved into informal Tech CoPs known as Tech Clubs
Supported and sanctioned by top management
Tech Clubs developed area expertise
Revived “Engineering Books of Knowledge”
Technical debates and discussions, which inadvertently built sense of community
Three nurturing acts to garner benefits from CoPs in organizations
Identifying potential CoPs
Hiring CoP consultants to help develop possibilities
Providing a CoP infrastructure
Establishing legitimacy ad providing resources
Budget, incentives (for participation), executive sponsorship
Measuring CoPs
Collecting anecdotes (success stories) systematically to paint a picture of kinds of specific contributions
Referenced by: www.daimler.com

What is Groupware?
Groupware -- also call workgroup support systems or collaborative software . The software that help the people participate the job that has common task is its purpose. Email, textchat, or wiki like(wikispaces) is also in this categories. The latest free groupware--google wave. I use this software as an example. This software that help the people participate the job that has common task is its purpose. Email, textchat, or wiki like(wikispaces) is also in this categories. The latest free groupware--google wave that allow people communicate and work together with formatted text, photos, videos, maps something like that. The following movie is detail infomation of this software:

Rather than debate the best definition of groupware, a more appropriate question is "Is this definition really important?" The groupware concept is to foster collaboration and interpersonal productivity by automating many tasks and enhancing the efficiency of others. Whether a product is e-mail or workflow does not matter in today's competitive business environment. What matters is whether groupware technology provides a solution to a specific business problem.

Analysis Groupware - The target group
The target group was identified as a representation of the level of IT skills within the organisation. The data gathering techniques used, collected and examined information regarding the participant’s current level of computer skills, usage and future training requirements. The researchers deemed it appropriate to focus the research strategy on identifying the levels of computer proficiency and training requirements among the participants. The investigation strategy formulated to conduct the analysis stage of the research consisted of: interviewing a select number of the target group, group discussions and observation. The target group comprised of employees with varying roles within the organisation, senior management, administration, operators, supervisors and IT personnel. The group was interviewed to build a picture of the training system in operation and the system required. In total 16 interviews and 4 group discussions were conducted to ascertain the skills and the issues of the participants. The first objective of the data gathering techniques was to assess the participant’s level of computer proficiency and to group the participants accordingly. To ascertain this, each interviewee was required to rate their level of skills between 1 and 4, 1 representing a basic understanding of ICT and 4 an advanced level. The results enabled the researchers to determine the structure of the training system based on the different levels of skills. The information collected resulted in the following (see Table 1) breakdown of the target group’s level of computer proficiency:

Computer Proficiency Ratings
Computer Proficiency
Basic understanding
Good understanding
Very good understanding
Advanced understanding

The level of computer usage among the participants was in direct proportion to their proficiency level. The participants with a basic understanding of computers reported limited usage in their job descriptions. A high proportion of those interviewed, 62%, reported no use of computers in work related activities and 38% reported some but limited interaction. Those respondents with a good understanding of computers reported a varying level of usage. However, the opinion among the different groups was varied regarding the availability of computer resources within the organisation. Level 1 reported a mixed view with equal numbers rating the access as good, average and poor. However those with a good and very good understanding also rated access as good but the majority of the groups with a level two and three rating are required to use computers to do their jobs. Some of the respondents did however remark that availability was good but finding the time to learn new things was difficult. The majority of the members of groups 2 and 3 did recognise the importance of increasing their ICT skills. It is also important to note that 50% of group three own a home PC. All of the participants recognised the need to develop skills in ICT. Each group attached the same benefits to the development of a new training system. The participants listed both personal and corporate benefits. The personal benefits ranged from an increased chance of promotion, increased efficiency, home accounts, accessing the Internet and the ability to teach their children the skills gained as a result of participating in the training program. Corporate benefits included increased communication, informed decision-making, greater communication and efficient record keeping. The participants from each of the groups provided detailed lists of their requirements for the new training system (see Figure 1). They suggested ways in which increased training and therefore computer usage would improve their job performance. The participants identified the importance of a structured training system that would increase their computer literacy, generate ideas for improved efficiency through incorporating IT into their work activities and help the participants solve problems when they arise. Participants also identified or requested training in fundamental applications such as Word, Excel and the Internet. Figure 1 presents the findings of the interviews conducted with the target group. Each level of participants as well as their managers, from prior experience with training initiatives, communicated a clear understanding of the factors needed for the system to be successful. Figure 1 also shows specifically the issues of each level. It therefore presents what they expect from the system. Each required customised training, small classes time to practice and a support system. However, due to the small number of employees level 3 and 4 were combined to form one level.


An analysis of the case environment

Sourced by: Neville, K. (2000) A Web-based training (WBT) system development framework: A Case Study – (Business Information Technology Management (BIT) 2000, 10th Annual Conference, Manchester, UK, 11 pages). - Karen Neville, 2004

20 rules for Success with Groupware

Based on the author's experience with groupware, he has compiled a list of 20 common sense rules to aid you in being successful in deploying groupware within your organization:
  1. Find a groupware champion! The higher up in management, the better. Get their hands on the keyboard. By getting top management involved they will see the benefits, and you will get a lot more support!
  2. Groupware changes the corporate culture. Plan for it!
  3. Pick a pilot project rather than trying to roll groupware out to the whole organization.
  4. Pick a bounded project with a group that is supportive of both technology and innovation
  5. Pick a project with visibility and financial impact.
  6. Measure productivity factors before you start the project.
  7. Measure productivity factors after the project has started. This is a good way to cost-justify groupware!
  8. Pick the groupware software based on a specific business problem that needs to be solved and has not been solved successfully using traditional methods. Corollary: Do not pick the groupware first and then try to find a problem to apply the technology to.
  9. Make sure you have adequate planning, support, training, and mainte-nance for your project.
  10. No one groupware product can do it all. Don't expect it to!
  11. Don't expect software vendors to offer you all the services you need for groupware. You may need to use internal people or consultants to insure your project's success.
  12. Groupware is not a quick fix! As part of a re-engineering effort, it may take 2-4 years to see the results.
  13. Listen to the people involved in the pilot project. They are experts on what needs to be done and can often suggest ways to better the process.
  14. Don't be afraid to make changes! A pilot project is an experiment. Learn as you go.
  15. Make sure the software you pick fits with existing systems. Try to amortize your LAN investment by connecting to your mainframe or other legacy sys-tems.
  16. You can't change people overnight. Be prepared for resistance!
  17. If people take time to change, organizations take even longer!
  18. It takes courage to change a corporate culture! Applaud those who are willing to change.
  19. Be careful about paving the cow path. There is no point in automating a very inefficient process. There are no big productivity wins here!
  20. Groupware can be very political. Make sure it is a big win!

Groupware: Applications:
Asynchronous Groupware
Newsgroups and mailing lists
Electronic mailemaile.maile-mail
external image 400px-Email.svg.png
Workflow systems
Group calendars
Collaborative writing systems
Synchronous or Realtime Groupware
Shared whiteboards
Video communications systems
Chat systems
Instant messagingIM
external image 180px-Pidgin_2.0_contact_window.png
Decision support systems
Multi-player games

Benefits of GroupWare
  • Helps increase efficiency - Redundant work is eliminated, less time is spent searching for data, and more time is spent working on required tasks.
  • Stimulates creativity - Ideas can be easily shared, and individuals can build off one another. User can share new ideas and add valuable insight that can benefit the project.
  • Provides structure - It build a level of accountability to each user groups and provides direction as to what the ultimate project goals are, and how everyone fits into their situation base on their role.
  • Helps define and enforce a process - By implementing groupware, there are some process should be enforced for how information is to flow. It ensures that all group members are properly performing their specific tasks and contribute as agreed upon at the project outset
  • Users can design their own custom database applications - By using this capability, a department could create and use a
  • database that is tailored to its specific needs.
  • Access Control - Groupware is able to control who sees a given piece of information. Access can be limited to specifically named individuals or to members of a group, such as all managers, members of the accounting department, or those employees working on a sensitive or confidential project.

Reference: http://www.web-conferencing-zone.com/advantages-of-groupware-applications.htm

1.3 Disadvantage of Groupware:

i)Not getting face to face interaction
ii)Facial expressions
iii)Body language
v)Loss of personal relationships in group related projects
vi)Loss of individual ideas

Lack of or too many capabilities-Narrow range of capabilities,Too complex to know application,Cumbersome user interfaces
Mistakes with data by inexperienced user
abusive users
Personal privacy

Cost Implementation
Server and Networking Hardware
Training programs
Technical Support

Network speed,Reliability & compatibility
-Older systems
-Reliant on computers and networks which can fail
-Reliant that all users be comupter literate
-May lack compatibility between two systems

1.4 Characteristics of Group

Difference types of IT-enabled collaboration support group and it’s characteristics

Authority Group
Project Team
Intradepartmental groups
Interdepartmental work groups
Committees & task forces
Business relationship groups
Peer Groups
Electronic Groups
Network Armies
Not too closed
Open to close

Tight to loose
Not Tight

Tight to loose




2 What is Open Source?
According to http://www.opensource.org/osd.html Open source doesn't just mean access to the source code. The following 10 points must be meet as a open source software:
1. Free Redistribution
2. Source Code
3. Derived Works
4. Integrity of The Author's Source Code
5. No Discrimination Against Persons or Groups
6. No Discrimination Against Fields of Endeavor
7. Distribution of License
8. License Must Not Be Specific to a Product
9. License Must Not Restrict Other Software
10. License Must Be Technology-Neutral
Open source is an approach to on design, development, and distribution of software, which offer accessibility software's code of source.
Before open source became widely, most developers and producers used a variety of phrases to describe the concept, and the open source gained popularity with internet. It provided access to different production models, communication paths, and interactive communities.
Reference http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Open_source
Open source, by definition, means that the source code is available. Open source
Software (OSS) is software with its source code available that may be used, copied, and distributed with or without modifications, and that may be offered either with or without a fee. If the end-user makes any alterations to the software, he can either choose to keep those changes private or return them to the community so that they can potentially be added to future releases1. An open source license is certified by the Open Source Initiative (OSI), an unincorporated nonprofit research and educational association with the mission to own and defend the open source trademark and advance the cause of OSS. The open source community consists of individuals or groups of individuals who contribute to a particular open source product or technology. The open source process refers to the approach for developing and maintaining open source products and technologies, including software, computers, devices, technical formats, and computer languages.
In practice, software companies often develop both types of software. OSS is developed by an on-going, iterative process where people share the ideas expressed in the source-code. The aim is that a large community of developers and users can contribute to the development of the code, check it for errors and bugs, and make the improved version available to others. Both OSS and proprietary approaches allow companies to make a profit. Companies developing proprietary software make money by developing software and then selling licences to use the software, for example Microsoft receives a payment for every copy of Windows sold with a personal computer. OSS companies make their money by providing services, such as advising clients on the version that best suits their needs, installing and customising software and development and maintenance. The software itself may be made available at no cost.
There are two main types of OSS licences:
• Berkeley Software Distribution (BSD) Licence: this permits a licencee to ‘close’ a version (by withholding the most recent modifications to the source-code) and sell it as a proprietary product;
• GNU General Public Licence (GNU GPL, or GPL, Box 2): under this licence, licencees may not ‘close’ versions. The licencee may modify, copy and redistribute any derivative version, under the same GPL licence. The licencee can either charge a fee for this service or work free of charge.
It is generally agreed that whether software is open source or proprietary, the following attributes are of key importance:
• reliability: defined as how long a system can stay in operation without user intervention;
• quality: commonly defined as the number of errors in a fixed number of lines of code;
• security: how resilient the software is to unauthorized actions (e.g. viruses);
• flexibility: how easily the software can be customized to meet specific needs and run on different types of device;
• project management: how well organised the development process is;
• open standards: documents created with one type of software being readable in another. This avoids ‘lockin’ to a particular document format
• switching costs: the cost of moving from one system to another;
• total cost of ownership (TCO): the full costs incurred over the lifetime of the software;
• user-friendliness: how easy the software is to use.

Although OSS has recently become a hot topic in the press, it has actually been in existence since the 1960s and has shown a successful track record to-date. Examples of popular open source products include Emacs, GNU toolset, Apache, Sendmail, and Linux. The development of Perl is an example of the open source process. Emacs was one of the first open source products. It is a text editor that is widely used for software development. As a software tool, many developers (including defense contractors) use Emacs to develop their (non-open source) applications.2 The success of Emacs led to the GNU program. GNU stands for “Gnu’s not Unix.” The GNU project consists of an operating system kernel and associated Unix tools. The GNU tools have been ported to a wide variety of platforms, including Windows NT. Again, they are widely used by software developers to produce both open source and proprietary software.3
The Apache web server is a freely available web server distributed under an open source license. Apache developers form a voting committee, and votes from this committee set the direction for the project. The Apache Software Foundation provides organizational, legal,
1 There are several licensing models for Open Source. Some require that all changes made to the source must
be freely distributed with the modified product. Other licenses permit an organization to make changes and
keep the changes private.
2 For more information on Emacs, see http://www.gnu.org/software/emacs/emacs.html .
3 For further information on GNU, visit the GNU Project web server at http://www.gnu.org/ .
GNU Project was launched in 1984. It is a free software. The users are free to run, copy, distribute, study, change and improve the software.

ref: http://www.gnu.org/

Referenced by: Washington C3 Center Bedford, Massachusetts
Detail of Open Source Software (OSS):
Open Source Software, or OSS, is free software that available for commercial and non-commercial use, and can be freely modified and redistributed, as long as users honor the open source license. The free software movement was launched in 1983. In 1998, a group of individuals advocated that the term free software be replaced by OSS as an expression which is less ambiguous and more comfortable for the corporate world.

The most important difference between software created by the open source communities and commercial software sold by vendors is that open source software is published under licenses that ensure that the source code is available to everyone to inspect, change, download, and explore as they wish. This is the essential meaning of open source: the source code--the language in which the software is written and the key to understanding how the software works--can be obtained and improved by anyone with the right skills.
More precise definitions extend this basic concept by adding provisions concerning derivative works, the rights to use the software for any purpose, the rights of the original author, and prohibitions against discrimination.

Different between open source and closed source

One source of conflict is related to economics: Making money through traditional methods, such as sale of the use of individual copies and patent royalty payment (generally called licensing), is more difficult and in many ways against the very concept of open source software.

Some closed-source advocates see open source software as damaging to the market of commercial software. This is one of the many reasons, as mentioned above, that the term free software was replaced with open source — because many company executives could not believe in a product that did not participate economically in a free-market or mixed-market economy.

The counter to this argument is the use of open source software to fuel the market for a separate product or service. For example:

  • Providing support and installation services; similar to IT Security groups, Linux Distributions, and Systems companies.
  • Using the software as a stepping stone to sell a higher-end product or service; e.g., OpenOffice.org vs. StarOffice.
  • Cost avoidance / cost sharing: many developers need a product, so it makes sense to share development costs (X Window System and the Apache web server)

Different between open source and freeware

The definition of open source software was written to be almost identical to the free software definition. There are very few cases of software that is free software but is not open source software, and vice versa. The difference in the terms is where they place the emphasis. “Free software” is defined in terms of giving the user freedom. This reflects the goal of the free software movement. “Open source” highlights that the source code is viewable to all and proponents of the term usually emphasize the quality of the software and how this is caused by the development models which are possible and popular among free and open source software projects.

Free software licenses are not written exclusively by the FSF. The FSF and the OSI both list licenses which meet their respective definitions of free software. Open source software and free software share an almost identical set of licenses. One exception is an early version of the Apple Public Source License, which was accepted by the OSI but rejected by the FSF because it did not allow private modified versions; this restriction was removed in later version of the license. There are now new versions that are approved by both the OSI and the FSF.

Reference http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Free_and_open_source_software

2.1 The open source software Phenomenon
2.1.1 Historical Overview
In the past time open source software normally refer to the operating system GNU/Linux, Unix (1969) and its applications.
Nowadays, Linux with the not-quite-complete GNU system resulted in a complete free operating system. The Heavily improved
and extended versions of the Linux kernel9 and the GNU software tools have been released since then, millions of people
have joined the GNU/Linux community and today it is the largest growing operating system.
(Reference: http://user.cs.tu-berlin.de/~tron/opensource/node4.html)
2.1.2 Intellectual Property
Intangible property that is the result of creativity, such as patents, copyrights and grants individuals or groups certain control over valuable information. Intellectual property laws have an important effect on software value and thereby its development.
There are 4 legal instruments to protect intellectual property:
i. Patents
ii. Copyright - Reproduction Right, Modification Right, Distribution Right, Public Performance Right, Public Display Right, Idea, Independent Creation
iii. Fair Use
iv. Trade Secret
v. Trademarks
(Reference: http://user.cs.tu-berlin.de/~tron/opensource/node5.html)

2.2 Benefit of of using OSS:
Solutions are developed quickly as most of the coding is ready. Also it works fine with lower configuration hardware. There is no need to change or upgrade the higher configuration hardware. OSS is more reliable since a large number of users can do the change of coding, bugs tend to be more visible and make the correction rapidly. This also leads to stable and easier to maintain Open source applications may be customized by anyone with the requisite skill. Therefore, open source software can be readily adapted to meet some special needs. Even if the person without any knowledge on the programming, it is easy to post a feature request on an open source software project's home page. If you would like something added or customized urgently, you can generally pay an appropriately skilled software developer to do it for you. We mentioned before OSS allows any people to change the source code. So, by adopting open source software you become part of a community of users and developers. The extent to which you engage with this community is up to you, but you may obtain the intangible benefits of goodwill if you do. No required license fees, saving you thousands of dollars in some cases, hundreds of thousands of dollars!
Reference: http://www.thefreelibrary.com/Why+Should+Go+for+Open+Source+Software%3F+Take+the+Advantage+of+Open...-a01073874513

1. Core software is free - If you're just getting started in online business, cost can be a major factor. Using Open Source software can really cut down on your initial capital outlay. It's also my firm belief that the Open Source 2. community has helped to rein in prices on commercial software over the years.
3. Evolving software - As mentioned, some Open Source software projects can have huge communities of programmers involved, allowing for the rapid implementation of new features and security fixes. The communities of users and programmers are also invaluable resources for asking questions relating to troubleshooting and suggesting enhancements.
4. Encourages hands on - When you're short on cash, you are more than likely to want to make modifications to software yourself. I'm no programmer, but the use of Open Source software has encouraged me to go beyond the user interface; to dig into code to try and understand what it does and to make minor edits. As a business owner, it doesn't hurt to understand a little of the voodoo that goes on behind the scenes in the software you use on your site.
5. Not tied to a single vendor - If you purchase a commercial application, you can then become reliant on a single company to solve your problems and maintain the software - which can also be very expensive. Some commercial software companies may only provide support and upgrades for a limited time before you need to fork out for any further enhancements or assistance.

reference http://eu.conecta.it/paper/Advantages_open_source_soft.html

Benefits of using OSS
OSS is more flexible and adaptable than proprietary software. A commercial software developer aims to make money by charging for upgrades or extra functionality - sometimes deliberately limiting functionality so as to avoid competing with another product. With open-source software the opposite is true. Software developers want to meet the needs and requests of the end-users. There also is a valuable educational message about the advantages of collaboration here too, as open-source software products are created by teams of people who choose to work together towards a common goal. Open-source software is frequently upgraded to take into account recent security issues, bug fixes and essential features. It is almost endlessly customizable and modular so that the user can make it their own, and there is a thriving community of committed OSS sharing ideas, support and good practice.
Added by g2-3445 Reference: http://ask-oss.mq.edu.au/index.php?option=com_content&task=view&id=10&Itemid=61

Proprietary software vs Free software
1. In education, most children taught to use one company's product: Microsoft.
Using free software, children is encouraged to explore and learn.
2. Microsoft uses software with backward names like WIndows Genuine Advantage to inspect the contents of users' hard drives.
In using free software, user can explore the code and do not have a hidden software in it. The user's privacy can be protected.
3. Microsoft has block free standardization of document formats.
Free software can also developed by yourself under the international standard. So the document has high compatibility.
4. Microsoft Windows has a long history of security vulnerabilities, enabling the spread of viruses and allowing remote users to take over people's computers. The software is secret and all users are dependent on Microsoft to fix these problems.
The source of the free software is freely published. Every user can fix the it when the problem occur. No need to sit and wait.

ref: http://en.windows7sins.org/


This term was formed by Richard M. Stallman. He demands that the user is granted the following four kinds of freedom in order to call it 'free software
  1. The freedom to run the program, for any purpose.''</li><li>The freedom to study how the program works, and adapt it to your needs.''
  2. The freedom to redistribute copies so you can help your neighbor.''</li><li>The freedom to improve the program, and release your improvements to the public, so that the whole community benefits.''
Freedom 2 and 4 requires the availability of the entire source code as a precondition.
It is important to understand that the term 'free' is about freedom and not about price. The definition does not exclude charging money for the distribution of your software [GNUProject, Selling Free Software], but the paying customer must still have the described freedom, otherwise it would not be right to call it free software.
The term is quite close to the following term 'open source software', but they are not identical

Open Source Software

Free RedistributionAnyone who received the software legally can share all of it with anyone he likes without additional payments. Source CodeThe source code of the software must be distributed as well or be available at reasonable reproduction cost. Derived WorksThe modification of the software and the distribution of this derived work must be allowed. Integrity of the Author's Source CodeThe distribution of modified source code must be allowed although restrictions to ensure the possibility to distinguish the original source code from the derived work are tolerated, e.g. requirement of different names. No Discrimination Against Persons or GroupsThe license must not discriminate against any person or group of persons.'' **No Discrimination Against Fields of Endeavor**The license must not forbid the usage of the software in specific field of endeavor, e.g. business or genetic research. **Distribution of License**The rights attached to the program must apply to all to whom the program is redistributed without the need for execution of an additional license by those parties.'' License Must Not Be Specific to a ProductThe rights given by the license must not be different for the original distribution and any other one even when it takes place in a totally different context. License Must Not Contaminate Other SoftwareThe license must not demand any condition on the software distributed along with the licensed software, e.g. 'distribution only with other open-source software' is not allowed.

2.3 Risk of using OSS:
  1. No support exists for open source software :No help documents and manuals are made available since the software is being changed every second week.
  2. Higher installation costs : More than 99% of PCs and laptops come with Windows operating system preinstalled and very few open source software applications adjust well with Windows.
  3. No guarantee of updates :Open source software is freeware, may not be update at every time
  4. No support exists for open source software : No help documents and manuals are made available since the software is being changed.
  5. Problems connected to intellectual property: It is very difficult to know if some particular method to solve a software problem is patented, and so the community can be considered guilty of intellectual property infringement.
6. Unknowingly violating open source licenses which expose the organization to termination clauses, "stop shipment" injunctions, litigation and court-ordered fines. The resultant bad publicity can affect customer loyalty, partnerships, sales and company valuation.
7 . Unknowingly shipping products containing components governed by viral licenses may require companies to provide source code for "proprietary" portions of their product or result in injunctions barring them from future sales of their product until the violation is resolved.
8. Unknowingly shipping dead code as part of the final product, distributing material that is unnecessary and which may incur additional support/maintenance costs on the customer's part if it affects implementation or integration with other applications. Dead code may also include license violations.
9. Underreporting open source and third party components in a company's software assets
10. Ignorance of third-party subcomponent issues such as whether an apparent BSD licensed product actually contains GPL can trigger massive rework of finished products.

Code leakage is another problem that arises when open source is mixed with proprietary code -- a common problem with serious implications. As projects move amongst many internal development teams, developers forget to strip out proprietary code strings before posting the work back to open source development communities. These blocks of "open source" code are then picked up by other developers, who now have both open source and another organization's proprietary code in their code base. This scenario creates two problems: inadvertent code leakage and code stealing.

6 Software does not work more secure because of the fact that the producing team is the only party who knows how it works. The source code could only reveal already integrated weaknesses of the algorithm which should be fixed anyway.
7.Trusting the creating party without appropriate observation of the result requires a large amount of trust in each single person and party that has access to the (secret) source code. Only one black sheep would destroy the protection provided by secrecy. Besides, you might not even know that you have already lost your protection.
8.The already mentioned parallels to academic research raises another interesting question: What is about science? Does a scientist use formulas that are based on unavailable secret information that was not challenged by comprehensive peer review? E.g. for constructing a nuclear power station? I do not think so.

2.4 Benefits and Risks of Open Source Software Compared to Traditional
Proponents of open source argue that ‘traditional’ software development projects suffer from various ills. Such projects have been shown be prone to time and cost overruns, are largely unmaintainable, with questionable quality and reliability. The 1999 Standish Group report revealed that 75% of software projects fail in one or more of these measures, with a third of projects cancelled due to failure. In addition, systems often fail to satisfy the needs of the customer for whom they are developed

These failures are ascribed to:
· Inadequate understanding of the size and complexity of IS development projects
coupled with inflexible, unrealistic timeframes and poor cost estimates

· Lack of user involvement is touted as contributing to project failure

· Shortfalls in skilled personnel: Team members with insufficient technical expertise,
managerial skill or knowledge about the problem domain can affect project success

· Project costs are further exacerbated by the price of license fees for software and tools required for application development as well as add-on costs for exchange controls.Roets, Minnaar, et al. Towards Successful Systems Development Projects in Developing Countries Proceedings of the 9th International Conference on Social Implications of Computers in Developing Countries, São Paulo, Brazil, May 2007 The last two points are of specific concern to developing countries. The issue of skill is
particularly pertinent to developing countries. Developed countries have a relative glut in IT skills. In developing countries sourcing skilled individuals for projects is a struggle due to a lack of training or the brain drain (Kunda and Brooks, 2003). The cost of software licenses is problematic for the software industry in developing countries, which tend to rely on donations or concessions from software companies such as Microsoft

2.4 Examples of existing OSS products:
XFree86XFree86 Project, Inc: XFree86 is a freely redistributable implementation of the X Window System that runs on UNIX(R) and UNIX-like operating systems (and OS/2). The XFree86 Project has traditionally focused on Intel x86-based platforms (which is where the `86' in our name comes from), but our current release also supports other platforms. One of our current goals is to increase the range of platforms that XFree86 runs on. **KDE**K Desktop Environment: KDE is a powerful graphical desktop environment for Unix workstations. It combines ease of use, contemporary functionality and outstanding graphical design with the technological superiority of the Unix operating system.
KDE is an Internet project and truly open in every sense. Development takes place on the Internet [...]. No single group, company or organization controls the KDE sources. [...] All KDE sources are [...] subject to the well known GNU licenses.
[...] KDE has developed a high quality development framework for Unix, which allows for rapid and efficient application development. Applications developed with this framework include KOffice, a full-featured Office Suite, KDevelop, a C/C++ IDE (Integrated Development Environment), and many others
LinuxLinux Kernel: One of the most famous open source projects is the Linux kernel. Linus Torvalds has started this project in 1991 and has been leading it since then. The source code package passed the 70 megabyte limit a while ago and is still growing.
``Linux is a clone of the operating system Unix, written from scratch by Linus Torvalds with assistance from a loosely-knit team of hackers across the Net. It aims towards POSIX compliance.
It has all the features you would expect in a modern fully-fledged Unix, including true multitasking, virtual memory, shared libraries, demand loading, shared copy-on-write executables, proper memory management, and TCP/IP networking.
Linux was first developed for x86-based PCs (386 or higher). These days it also runs on Compaq Alpha AXP, Sun SPARC, Motorola 68000 machines (like Atari ST and Amiga), MIPS, PowerPC, ARM and SuperH. Additional ports are in progress, including PA-RISC and IA-64.''
2.5 Approaching the Open Source Software Community
2.5.1 Economical view on open source software
i. Total Cost of Ownership (TCO)
Making Money with Open Source Software
Nevertheless even software developers have to eat. Therefore I will give some examples of how present companies profit from the development of open source software:
a. Computer hardware and programs

HardwareAs hardware devices cannot be used without the appropriate software, vendors usually spend a remarkable amount of financial resources on the production of driver software. It is the usual procedure to make this software available for free, but without source code. However, more and more companies also start to participate in open source projects to assure the compatibility and support for their products.
Software DistributionsDistributors simply sell copies of open source software. This business is based on the idea that the regular user of open source software is willing to pay a small amount for comfortable access to the software.
b. Operation expenses
ServiceThere are many different services in the software field as described in the section about TCO above. Examples are support, training or simply paid bug-fixing. Books, magazines and news services provide required information about open source software for a reasonable price, e.g. nicely printed manuals.
c. Long term expenses
d. Failures
ii. Giving Away Software for Free
iii. Making Money with Open Source Software
a. Software Distributions
b. Service
c. Hardware
d. Information
2.5.2 Software Engineering
2.6 Initial Study on Open-source software development
Scientific method
In the phase 1
In the phase 2
In the phase 3



Introduction of Community of practice (CoP)
Communities of Practice (CoP) is a group of people who share an interest, a craft, and/or a profession. The members in this group can learn IS knowledge and experiences from each other. Another way, member can also their share information to the other. Therefore, people have an opportunity to develop themselves personally and professionally.

Members can communicate to everyone in CoP online such as within electronic bulletin boards, newsgroups, on designated websites, or discussion forums. In the real life, they can hold a discussion in a lunchroom at work, in a field setting, on a factory floor.

Reference: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Community_of_practice

The basic charter for all sponsored Communities of Practice (CoPs) should have three major objectives:
  1. To enable colleagues to learn from one another through the sharing of issues, ideas, lessons learned, problems and their solutions, research findings and other relevant aspects of their mutual interest;
  2. To more broadly share and better leverage the learning that occurs in the CoP with other colleagues;
  3. To generate tangible, measurable, value-added benefits to the business.



Communities of practice are formed by people who engage in a process of collective learning in a shared domain of human endeavor: a tribe learning to survive, a band of artists seeking new forms of expression, a group of engineers working on similar problems, a clique of pupils defining their identity in the school, a network of surgeons exploring novel techniques, a gathering of first-time managers helping each other cope. In a nutshell:

Communities of practice are groups of people who share a concern or a passion for something they do and learn how to do it better as they interact regularly.

Note that this definition allows for, but does not assume, intentionality: learning can be the reason the community comes together or an incidental outcome of member's interactions. Not everything called a community is a community of practice. A neighborhood for instance, is often called a community, but is usually not a community of practice. Three characteristics are crucial:
  1. The domain:
A community of practice is not merely a club of friends or a network of connections between people. It has an identity defined by a shared domain of interest. Membership therefore implies a commitment to the domain, and therefore a shared competence that distinguishes members from other people. (You could belong to the same network as someone and never know it.) The domain is not necessarily something recognized as "expertise" outside the community. A youth gang may have developed all sorts of ways of dealing with their domain: surviving on the street and maintaining some kind of identity they can live with. They value their collective competence and learn from each other, even though few people outside the group may value or even recognize their expertise.
  1. The community:
In pursuing their interest in their domain, members engage in joint activities and discussions, help each other, and share information. They build relationships that enable them to learn from each other. A website in itself is not a community of practice. Having the same job or the same title does not make for a community of practice unless members interact and learn together. The claims processors in a large insurance company or students in American high schools may have much in common, yet unless they interact and learn together, they do not form a community of practice. But members of a community of practice do not necessarily work together on a daily basis. The Impressionists, for instance, used to meet in cafes and studios to discuss the style of painting they were inventing together. These interactions were essential to making them a community of practice even though they often painted alone.
  1. The practice:
A community of practice is not merely a community of interest--people who like certain kinds of movies, for instance. Members of a community of practice are practitioners. They develop a shared repertoire of resources: experiences, stories, tools, ways of addressing recurring problems—in short a shared practice. This takes time and sustained interaction. A good conversation with a stranger on an airplane may give you all sorts of interesting insights, but it does not in itself make for a community of practice. The development of a shared practice may be more or less self-conscious. The "windshield wipers" engineers at an auto manufacturer make a concerted effort to collect and document the tricks and lessons they have learned into a knowledge base. By contrast, nurses who meet regularly for lunch in a hospital cafeteria may not realize that their lunch discussions are one of their main sources of knowledge about how to care for patients. Still, in the course of all these conversations, they have developed a set of stories and cases that have become a shared repertoire for their practice.
It is the combination of these three elements that constitutes a community of practice. And it is by developing these three elements in parallel that one cultivates such a community.

Examples of Communities of Practice

A famous example of a community of practice is a Xerox customer service representatives who repaired the machines in the field. In the CoP, they exchange tips and tricks over informal meetings over breakfast or lunch. Xerox also establish a global network of representatives that allow these interaction to be shared in the Eureka project. This project has been estimated to have saved the corporation 100$ million.

Reference: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Community_of_practice

Problem solving

"Can we work on this design and brainstorm some ideas; I’m stuck."

Requests for information

"Where can I find the code to connect to the server?"

Seeking experience

"Has anyone dealt with a customer in this situation?"

Reusing assets

"I have a proposal for a local area network I wrote for a client last year. I can send it to you and you can easily tweak it for this new client."

Coordination and synergy

"Can we combine our purchases of solvent to achieve bulk discounts?"

Discussing developments

"What do you think of the new CAD system? Does it really help?"

Documentation projects

"We have faced this problem five times now. Let us write it down once and for all."


"Can we come and see your after-school program? We need to establish one in our city."

Mapping knowledge and identifying gaps

"Who knows what, and what are we missing? What other groups should we connect with?"




4.1 Introduction to GDSS

GDSS which is a new technology in supporting the group decision-making process has been widely used in strategic planning in many international companies and Government departments. GDSS is designed to improve the quality of group decisions by facilitating the exchange of ideas, opinions, and preference within the groups
GDSS is a Group Support Systems (GSS) or Computer Support Cooperative Work System (CSCW). It is a "silent partner" to improve the efficiency, reliability, and quality of group decisions in meetings. GDSS is a new technology combining “communication”, “computing” and “decision support technologies” to facilitate the formulation and solution of unstructured problems by a group of people.
In short, GDSS is a computer-based system which supports groups of people and engages them in a common task through an interface of sharing environment. Regarding the components, GDSS consists of “hardware”, “software”, “people” and “procedures”.


· Hardware - facility, computers, network, display boards

· Software - organize and gather data, comms

· People - participants, trained facilitator





4.5 Typology of GDSS

The GDSS technology supports group decision making by:
• Eliminating the barriers of communication,
• By offering different tools for a group and
• By managing the use of time and the handling of meeting items systematically


GDSS Time/Place Environment

Same-Time Same-Place (Most widely used GDSS- computers with projectors, voting tools)
Same-Time Different-Place (team room, tools, audio conferencing, screen sharing, chat)
Different-Time Same-Place (audio/video conferencing, document sharing)
Different-Time Different-Place (voice mail, email, bulletin boards)

GDSS includes a network of computers, usually in a face-to-face environment and the software which enables a group to exchange written comments and voting results
• GDSS meetings are technically different from conventional meetings in three ways:
– Each participant has a PC
– A facilitator helps a chairperson to run a meeting
– Combination of oral and IT communication






Benefits of GDSS
· GDSS offers an effective and rapid way to collect and evaluate the information about customer needs
· The simultaneous collection of customer need and requirement statements from different experts
· Organizing the collected information into larger, illustrative categories à facilitates the understanding of the information
· The prioritization of the information and the rapid recognition of conflicting and jointly important opinions
· Timesaving; the participants felt that their time has been effectively and usefully utilized

· Visual decision making--packaging, logos, etc.
· New analytic methods based on diagrams and pictorial representations
· Intercultural meetings
· Integration with video and computer conferencing
· Interactive teaching
· New forms of groups
· Issue oriented GDSS
· Personnel decisions
· New, temporary organizations
· Electronic mediated debates
· Hierarchical meetings which can communicate and also convene as a committee as a whole
Eliciting system design requirements from users and from management
· System design walkthroughs
· Eliciting expert knowledge from groups
· Expert system(s) as the n+1st meeting participant
Increasing the range of applications has many benefits, besides improving meetings involving the applications. As Huber (1984) pointed out, systems that are not used fully will not survive. Increasing the number of applications also increases the number of times specific individuals use the facilities. They become better trained and become owners of the systems.
Furthermore, innovation begets innovation. As we use GDSS for more and more purposes, we will inevitably start inventing additional applications to which GDSS applies.

4.7 Advantages and Disadvantages of GDSS


Affect group productivity and effectiveness in several ways:
Enables parallel communication between group members. Every group member can contribute simultaneously and in parallel.
Offers an equal and anonymous opportunity to contribute ideas and opinions.
Eliminates too big domination of participants in meeting.
Makes it is possible to find out rapidly the agreed and disagreed opinions of group members.
Helps to manage the schedule and agenda of the meeting.
Provides the effective automatic electronic document capacities.


Supporting in a flexible way a wide range of group decisions for the latest emerging organizational phenomena is the main challenge of the GDSS.
Has to exhibit sufficient flexibility to support decisional process in very dynamic setting.

4.8 How GDSS Can Support VM Studies

GDSS is a computer-based system which is specifically designed to assist the group decision-making process, and it provides three supports including (i) communication support, (ii) data analysis support, and (iii) decision technique support to assist the implementation of VM studies.
Various Types of GDSS Support to VM Studies
Decisions and recommendations are occurred as a result of interpersonal communication in VM studies, and Communication Technologies (level 1 GDSS support) can alter the communication pattern in order to promote participation and encourage interaction in workshops. The use of electronic communication tools such as chat room and newsgroup provides a shared environment to facilitate the exchange of ideas, opinions, and preference within the groups (DeSanctis and Galluple, 1987). For example, large screen can be used to display of anonymous ideas and preferences in meetings. With the help of GDSS, VM studies appear to result in production of more feasible solutions; consideration of more alternatives; and prevention of dominated discussion in VM studies.
Recommendations and suggestions of VM studies are made after extensive consultation and in-depth analysis in VM studies and the tasks of backup calculations and cost analysis are essential, in particular the development phase, to translate the screened idea into proposed alternative designs. These activities, however, are time consuming and might constitute over half of the time of a VM study. (Norton and McElligott, 1995). In order to improve the productivity, Computer Technologies (level 2 GDSS support) can be applied to assist the data analysis process and hence less time is required. The use of modeling tools such as cost model and multi-criteria decision model can support the data-oriented tasks and preference tasks.
Moreover, computer technologies also improve the information management of VM studies including information retrieval, maintenance and presentation. For example, the provision of file exchange server and connection with Internet improves the availability and quality of information to support decision analysis in workshops. These features enable the analysis to be completed more efficient and effective way and finally, the uncertainty encountered in VM studies are significantly reduced.

Decision Support Technologies include (i) decision-modeling methods such as decision trees and risk analysis, (ii) structured group methods such as Nominal Group and Delphi techniques, and (iii) rules for directing group discussion. The creative use of communication technologies and computer technologies can facilitate the introduction of new "group structuring techniques" to VM studies. For example, anonymous individual brainstorming can be integrated with face-to-face group brainstorming to form a new brainstorming technique. The ideas can be collected from individuals without showing identities and then presented to the group to invite further suggestions. GDSS facilitates the use of certain techniques which are difficult to be applied in traditional workshops and it also provide a framework to streamline the different tasks in VM studies.
Ref: http://home.bre.polyu.edu.hk/~bsjacky/gdss/L4b.htm

GDSS Tools Examples

GDSS special software:
• GroupSystems for Windows (Univ. of Arizona/ Ventana Corporation) for group decision process support
• Expert Choice for multi-criteria evaluation
• Idegen ++ for idea generation
• I-Think for system analysis
• Decision Explorer for causal mapping
• QFD Scope for Quality function deployment


Workforce Management (WFM) is the process of balancing work to be completed with the resources available to complete that work. Therefore, balancing the work volume and resources to achieve a desired quality of service is the essence of Workforce Management.


Group decision support systems (GDSSs), a subclass of DSSs, are defined as information technology-based support systems that provide decision-making support to groups. They refer to the systems that provide computer-based aids and communication support for decision-making meetings in organizations. The group meeting is a joint activity in which a group of people is engaged with equal or near-equal status. The activity and its outputs are intellectual in nature. Essentially, the outputs of the meeting depend on the knowledge and judgment contributed by the participants. Differences in opinion may be settled by negotiation or arbitration.
Components of GDSS
The difference between GDSSs and DSSs is the focus on the group versus the individual decision-maker. The components of a GDSS are basically similar to those of DSS, including hardware, software, and people; but in addition, within the collaborative environment, communication and networking technologies are added for group participation from different sites. Moreover, compared with DSSs, GDSSs designers pay more attention to the user/system interface with multi-user access and system reliability because a system failure will affect a multi-user group, rather than just an individual. There are three fundamental types of components that compose GDSSs:
1. Software
The software part may consist of the following components: databases and database management capabilities, user/system interface with multi-user access, specific applications to facilitate group decision-makers’ activities, and modeling capabilities.
2. Hardware
The hardware part may consist of the following components: I/O devices, PCs or workstations, individual monitors for each participant or a public screen for group, and a network to link participants to each other.
3. People
The people may include decision-making participants and /or facilitator. A facilitator is a person who directs the group through the planning process.
Benefits claimed for GDSS
There are three benefits claimed for GDSSs: increased efficiency, improved quality, and leverage that improve the way meetings run. Due to increasing computer data processing power, communication and network performance, the speed and quality for information processing and information transmission create the opportunity for higher efficiency. Efficiency achievement depends on the performance of hardware (e.g., PCs, LAN/WAN) and software. With regard to the software aspect of GDSSs, the software architecture with database management and an interactive interface affects system run time efficiency and performance. Improved quality of the outcomes of a group meeting implies the increased quality of alternatives examined, greater participation and contribution from people who would otherwise be silent, or decision outcomes judged to be of higher quality. In a GDSS, the outcome of a meeting or decision-making process depends on communication facilities and decision support facilities. Those facilities can help decision-making participants avoid the constraints imposed by geography. They also make information sharable and reduce effort in the decision-making process. Therefore, those facilities contribute to meeting quality improvement. Leverage implies that the system does not merely speed up the process (say efficiency), but changes it fundamentally. In other words, leverage can be achieved through providing better ways of meeting, such as providing the ability to execute multiple tasks at the same time.
Factors that affect GDSS
Research indicates there are usually several factors affecting GDSSs,
· Anonymity
· Facility design
· Multiple public screens
· Knowledge bases and databases
· Communication network speed
· Fixed versus customized methodology
· Software design
· Group size and composition
· Satisfaction
Information needs of groups
It is fundamental and important to clearly understand what groups do and which of their activities and procedures can be and should be supported by GDSSs. Also, it is necessary to know the information needs of groups and examine how best to support these information uses with GDSSs. The information needs of groups cover a broad spectrum.
Database access
Databases are one of the basic components of GDSSs. GDSSs offer groups the advantage of accessing databases or some on-line service for the latest information. The databases can be internal or external databases. This is a key element in information retrieval and sharing in a group meeting. The requirements on the presentation and functions of the obtained information can be summarized as follows: information should be presented in clear and familiar ways; information presentation and all other associated management control aspects should assist the decision-maker to guide the process of judgment and choice; with an explanation facility, information containing an advice or decision suggestion enables users to know how and why results and advice are obtained; and information should be helpful to improve the precision of task situation understanding. Moreover, information needs are based on the identification of the information requirements for the particular situation.
· Information creation
In addition to a decision, the output of the meeting is new information. In a GDSS, all input into the computer is usually captured. In some cases, the actions of individual members of the group are stored in a database, file or some other storage format. Making a decision is not a point-event. The decision is produced based on valuable knowledge. It is worthwhile to save the valuable information in efficient ways which make it convenient for further use.
· Dissemination of information, decisions, and responsibilities An often-cited advantage of GDSSs is that the participants are allowed to know what new information was created, what decision was reached, and who is responsible for follow-up or for implementing decisions.
· On-line modeling
On-line modeling is the next step beyond sharing existing data. For example, the participants can perform on-line analysis and send out their results or ideas to a public board.
· Visual decision-making
Some decisions involve visuals rather than words or numbers. Intuitively, graphics with shape, size, and color, might make it easier and faster for users to have an overall view of the information.
· Multimedia information presentation
The combination of visible and audible information presentation format impacts the traditional information presentation format. The benefits of multimedia presentation include better interaction, more straightforward and effective communication in the group, and decreased learning time.
· Idea generation
A variety of idea generation packages or methods exist for GDSSs use.
· Voting
This implies the ability to vote, rank, or rate.
GDSSs have an impact on the work of individuals, groups, and organizations. In general, the performance improvement and satisfaction of individuals will lead to the improvement of the group. Both hardware and software will influence GDSSs. For example, the performance of a network will directly affect data transmission. If the network slows down, it will constrain the GDSS’s capability of on-line data processing. Video and audio devices are adopted to make it more straightforward for users to recognize multimedia information, which results in the improvement of efficiency and in effectiveness, as well as in the quality of meeting outcomes. Hardware development and innovation are significant for GDSSs performance. Software is another factor that has an impact on GDSSs performance. Software and hardware interact, and, to a certain extent, trade off performance. Because of either software or hardware, the performance can be enhanced or inhibited depending on the target environment.
Added by g2-3445
Reference: http://psychology.wikia.com/wiki/Decision_support_system

Virtual Workforce

“Virtual Workforce”, the latest boon of the technology and globalization, has questioned the very nature of employer employee relationship structure across the world. The concept of virtual workforce is fast welcome by a section of employers and working people in many countries.
An organization’s workforce is said to be virtual when its employees are geographically dispersed, or operating through the differences of time, place and organisational boundaries. In simplified terms, the members of the virtual workforce work from places distant from their offices (their homes, office branches in different states or even different countries) and collaborate effectively even after not being in physical contact with each other.

Advantages of having virtual workforce:
Employees can work from anywhere
Technology enabled virtual workforce has helped the organisations to resolve and reduce various HR problems by enabling the employees (especially the working women and the new mothers) to take benefit of the flexible working hours. Now the employees can work from their homes and other locations at their convenience.
Facilitates hiring the best talent irrespective of the location
Virtual workforce has opened the doors of attracting best talent from anywhere in the world (i.e. eliminating the limitation of distance and the physical separation).
- Time and cost savings

One of the most significant benefits to the organisations and the employees is the cost and the time savings resulting from less commutation. Many organisations have admitted of registering reduction in the employee absenteeism. Most importantly, virtual workforce in different countries or locations helps an organisation to compete in the global industry and strengthen its position.

Collaboration in Virtual Organizations

Many organisations are currently forced to collaborate with others in renewing their products and processes to stay competitive, to enter new or to retain their current markets, or to get easy access to new knowledge. Management of collaboration between two or more organisations is, however, still not well understood, given that about half of the collaborative endeavours fail.

Motivating a virtual workforce

The concept of virtual workforce came to existence and became successful nowadays becasue technology supports virtual workforce through the hardwares and softwares like mobile phones, laptops, modems, wireless communication links like LAN, WAN etc. the software include the e-mails, remote access softwares, video and tele-conferencing technologies etc.

Technology provides the connecting links to the virtual workforce. Technological tools like video-conferencing enable people to see and talk to each other being spread at different places around the world at a given point of time. It would be apt to say that technology provides and creates the virtual infrastructure and facilities for the virtual workforce

Managing virtual workforce

The virtual workforce can be dispersed across the country or even to the different continents. The biggest challenge of having virtual workforce is to engage, integrate and manage them in alignment to the organisational goals and objectives. Being away from the organisation, peers and the organisational environment can make the employees feel isolated or not –valued by the organisation. The employees miss the happenings or events in the organisation. Miscommunication problems also arise in the virtual workforce.

The organisation needs to have a complete system or structure in place to effectively manage the virtual workforce which should have the following components:
- Training for the managers to mange the virtual workforce effectively and efficiently.
-Technology should be put to its best possible use in managing the virtual workforce.
-Incorporating trust in the employees and the organization
-Ensuring proper communication between the organisation and the team

Workforce management software

It is no doubt that businesses struggle to match agent availability and skills with customer needs and staff volume. Overstaff means wasting money while understaffed, or even staff agent skills inefficiently, and you risk a bad customer experience.
Therefore, workforce management software is designed for managers to effectively balance work factors, such as optimal staff levels, anticipated workloads, resource availability and technological capability, all while considering elements such as employee preferences and unexpected absences.


First of all, workforce management software enables businesses to develop scheduling strategies based on skills, tasks, and shift preferences. Also enables managers to perform root cause analysis of changes made in workforce management
Moreover, it helps managers determine if plan is being met the schedule views so as to improve productivity through tracking system schedule or improves performance by sending alerts when variances exceed specified levels.


Precision planning ensures that each store has the right labour it needs to execute the rights tasks at the right time, at the right place, and in the right way. Merchandising and operations managers can coordinate their store planning while stores can execute their tasks on-time with labour schedules fine-tuned to their individual needs. Real-time execution visibility and feedback helps everyone work better and work smarter. And that drives:
1.Increased sales
2.Reduced labour costs
3.Satisfied customers
4.New opportunities for growth

Governing Virtual organizations

Managing open source appears to be an impossible task because there are at least 750 000 developers, all of whom signed up on their own volition and can stop volunteering at any time. Many open source projects work well because they employ three governance principles: managed membership, rules and institutions and social pressures.

Managed Membership

Open source work has a well-defined leadership, with the originator often maintaining a lead role in development and distribution. Or a lead team might rule, dividing the work, refereeing coordination across teams and so on. Although anyone can be involved in searching for bugs and fixed it (in most open source work), project authority only can give to the most core team.

Rules and Institutions

One rule is the open source license – how the software can be used. The license may for instance, permit any form of commercial use or not allow commercial versions at all. Other rules relate to how members and leaders are chosen or how voting and discussions are conducted.

Social Pressures

Social Pressures to have teeth, rules need means to enforce compliance and resolve disputes. To bring continual non compliers into line, open source groups generally use social pressures.

Open Source Software has risen to great prominence. Briefly, OSS programs are programs whose licenses give users the freedom to run the program for any purpose, to study and modify the program, and to redistribute copies of either the original or modified program without having to pay royalties to previous developers.
Using and developing open source software are mixed, ranging from philosophical and ethical reasons to pure practical issues. Some of the most widely proposed practical advantages will be introduced.

Usually, the first perceived advantage of open source models is the fact that open source software is made available gratis or at a low cost. But this characteristic is not exclusive to open source software, and several proprietary software products are made available in similar ways. All of them combined produce a synergistic impact which is the cause of the real advantages of the open source model. The following are more details of the advantages :

The availability of the source code and the right to modify it is very important. It enables the unlimited tuning and improvement of a software product. It also makes it possible to port the code to new hardware, to adapt it to changing conditions, and to reach a detailed understanding of how the system works. This is why many experts are reaching the conclusion that to really extend the lifetime of an application, it must be available in source form. In fact, no binary-only application more than 10 years old now survives in unmodified form, while several open source software systems from the 1980s are still in widespread use. Source code availability also makes it much easier to isolate bugs, and to fix them.

The right to redistribute modifications and improvements to the code, and to reuse other open source code, permits all the advantages due to the modifiability of the software to be shared by large communities. This is usually the point that differentiates open source software licences from free ones. In substance, the fact that redistribution rights cannot be revoked, and that they are universal, is what attracts a substantial crowd of developers to work around open source software projects.

The right to use the software in any way. This, combined with redistribution rights, ensures (if the software is useful enough), a large population of users, which helps in turn to build up a market for support and customization of the software, which can only attract more and more developers to work in the project. This in turn helps to improve the quality of the product, and to improve its functionality. Which, once more, will cause more and more users to give the product a try, and probably to use it regularly.

The issue about non-exclusive rights on the software, which has just being mentioned, deserves some more attention. When no one holds exclusive rights on a given code, several traditional problems of the proprietary software model can be overcome:

There is no one with the power to restrict in a unilateral way how the software is used, even in a retroactive way. Such a power manifests, for instance, when a proprietary software vendor decides not to upgrade some software product for some old platform. In this case, customers can only stick to the old version of the software, or switch to another product. If open source software is used, customers can also fund some development for the desired platform, or look for other vendors to provide the upgrades (of the very same product).
There is no single entity on which the future of the software depends. This is a very common concern with proprietary software. Let us say that a company uses a software product, and relies on the software manufacturer for upgrades and continued development. If the software manufacturer closes doors, or decides to discontinue development of the product, no one has the right to take the program and continue development on it, effectively killing its usability in the market. This has happened many times, and this problem is amplified by the recent mergers in the software market, that usually lead to "cannibalization'' of some software product to allow just one or two to get to the market. Open source software effectively protects against this, because if the group or company that originated the code decides to stop development, it is always possible to fund another software group to continue the maintenance and improvement, without legal nor practical limitations.

Case Example of Open Source Software : Electronic design automation (EDA)
Electronic design automation (EDA) is the category of tools for designing and producing electronic systems ranging from printed circuit boards (PCBs) to integrated circuits. This is sometimes referred to as ECAD (electronic computer-aided design) or just CAD. (The articles for Printed circuit boards and wire wrap both contain specialized discussions of the EDA used for those.) EDA is divided into many (sometimes overlapping) sub-areas. They mostly align with the path of manufacturing from design to mask generation.


Business process automation

Business process automation can be defined as computer aided coordination of resources, facilities and people to achieve the desired outcomes in such a way that the process is optimised. Business process optimization is the ultimate level of automation, where optimum utilization of resources is achieved to obtain superior quality of output consistently.

The term business process automation is applied to the spectrum of business process management tools. The continuum of business process automation encompasses workflow automation, business process integration, process control and improvements based on business intelligence and expert systems.

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Business process automation in its simplest form is workflow automation where operational aspects of a work procedure are computerised by facilitating flow of information. Based on their complexity from the view point of amenability to automation the business processes can be classified as follows:

  • Administrative processes are one of the most generic and sluggish of all kinds of business processes – at best symbolised by a moving paper around the sections for a routine decision. These are the processes that can be automated easily using simple workflow methodologies, by proper design of validations and interlocks. For example, approval for business trip can be applied online and the sanctioning authority will have a fixed time period to say “yes” or “no”, beyond that time system sanctions the tour and the information is carried forward to finance department for information and administration department for making arrangements for the trip. Office automation is generic term used for automating administrative processes.
  • Transaction oriented business processes are those that generally result in payments or receipts. Accuracy of data is of utmost importance here, where automation aims at data integrity and eliminating multipoint of data entry.
  • Critical processes are those processes that are key to the success of the organization. These are the processes where a company’s major chunk of activities get done and are critical for delivery of company’s strategy. Data and application integration is the essence of automation of these processes.
Throughput is a generic measure for any kind of workflow and workflow automation maximises it.
In general business process automation is application of principles of manufacturing process control like measurement of process variables, comparison against standards or set values, closed loop control mechanisms etc. - all this using available features of information technology - BPM provides repository of tools for just the same.
Generally breakthrough improvements in business processes are taken up as a project and once the projects goals are accomplished, the processes are standardized and remains largely unchanged (but for occasional interventions by participants to eliminate glaringly visible flaws in the processes). But availability of process modelling and simulation tools have given business processes the ability to adapt to ever changing dynamics in the market place and incorporate improvements in the processes.
Most important thing to note is that business process automation is not simply automating or computerising the tasks that are being conducted manually. It provides an opportunity to probe and eliminate underlying assumptions around the manual tasks. For example, the basic assumption of purchase order against indents even for general spares can be defeated by the realisation that general spares can be ordered automatically based on the inventory levels. Automation is an opportunity to simplify work and get rid of repetitive tasks and non value adding activities.
Next, business process automation deals with most common delays associated with business processes – delays due to reluctance of people in making decisions, lack of right information and separation of decision making authority from points in the process requiring decisions. Computerised information flows can be deployed to bring routine decisions closer to the process, with the help of integrated process data and optimizing software, which can in the worst case provide process participants with the most viable options to choose from. This brings the decisions right where they belong – to the frontline.
Another important aspect that business process automation addresses is that effectiveness of business processes is marred by the erroneous data that gets processed. Through automation it can be ensured that there is a single point of data entry, and validated through built-in controls or even better, if manual entry can be done away with altogether and process data is captured through automated transactions.

One point that emerges strongly from the above discussion is that the business process automation is oriented around the desired outcome and not around the tasks – against the popular notion that business process automation is about automating the individual tasks to achieve the speed.
Speed comes not from automating all the manual tasks, but from dissemination of error free information, faster and informed decisions, and better understanding of the dependencies through challenging the underlying assumptions in the system.

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How GDSS improves groupwork

  • Parallelism - In a group-support system, a process gain in which everyone in a group can work simultaneously (in brainstorming, voting, ranking, etc.)
  • Supports parallel processing of information and idea generation (parallelism)
  • Enables the participation of larger groups with more complete information, knowledge, and skills
  • Permits the group to use structured or unstructured techniques and methods
  • Offers rapid, easy access to external information
  • Allows parallel computer discussions
  • Helps participants frame the big picture
  • Anonymity allows shy people to contribute to the meeting
  • Anonymity helps prevent aggressive individuals from driving a meeting
  • Provides for multiple ways to participate in instant, anonymous voting
  • Enables several users to interact simultaneously
  • Records all information presented at a meeting
Implementation issues for online collaboration

  • To connect business partners, an organization needs an effective collaborative environment; provided by groupware suites
  • The need to connect collaborative tools with file management products on an organization's intranet
  • Automatic language translation
  • Protocols are needed for easy integration of different applications and to standardize communication

Collaboration-Enabling Tools: Teleconferencing

  • Teleconferencing: The use of electronic communication that allows two or more people at different locations to have a simultaneous conference
  • Video teleconference: Virtual meeting in which participants in one location can see participants at other locations on a large screen or a desktop computer
  • Data conferencing: Virtual meeting in which geographically dispersed groups work on documents together and to exchange computer files during videoconferences
  • Web conferencing is conducted on the Internet
    • few as two and as many as thousands of people
    • allows users to simultaneously view something
    • interaction takes place via messaging or a simultaneous phone teleconference
    • is much cheaper than videoconferencing because it runs on the Internet


  • An integrated portfolio of collaboration and communication services designed to connect people, information, processes, and systems both within and beyond the organizational firewall. (MS Website)
    • A virtual desktop
    • A collaboration space
    • Shared workspace
    • Communication portal for teams


This noticed in the Lotus community how some members are opening up to Sharepoint, or at least acknowledge that we are living in a mixed world. I'm in the same boat. I have been for over a year. I've been observing Sharepoint as a product in a large organization, but also how it is perceived in online communities. I have used it myself at the power-user level (no real custom development) and also was closely involved in actual development projects. I'd say I now know enough to at least form an opinion about Sharepoint, so here goes some random observations:
  • Sharepoint is great for end users and power users. It has a viral thing going on. As an end user you can freely create collaboration sites with quite rich functionality using nothing but your web browser. I witnessed this myself by building a collaboration "portal" site for our regionally spread development teams. Without any coding I pulled together a site with a news section, member info, forum, subscriptions/alerts, portal zones, Wiki, meeting center and slide repository. The site is of course integrated into the farm, so you also get search, a site directory, instant messaging awareness, profile sites (mySites), the whole bunch. The way it is deployed, we can also access it from the outside and even authorize non-company users. Great power for end users. Little costs (in development) for the business. No wonder this stuff is popular.
Referenced by: http://www.ferdychristant.com/blog//archive/DOMM-7PYQPC

Collaborative Software

Electronic calendars

We called time management software, it is used to schedule events and tasks, it will automatically notify and remind group members when schedule is defined.

Project management systems
The system is used to monitor the schedule, track, and chart the steps in a project as it is being completed.

Workflow systems
Collaborative management of tasks and documents within a knowledge-based business process.

Knowledge management systems
Through this system to collect, organizes, manage, and share various forms of information

Enterprise bookmarking
Collaborative bookmarking engine to tag, organize, share, and search enterprise data

Prediction markets
It is used to let a group of people predict each others of the outcome of future events

Extranet systems
It acts as project extranets, it is used to collect, organize, manage and share information associated with the delivery of a project.

Social software systems
To organize social relations of groups

Online spreadsheets
To collaborate and share structured data and information with memebers.

People always look for the next big thing that will change our industry. My aspirations are usually a bit less grand. I look for the next incremental or evolutionary step that moves us forward. There have certainly been some grand ideas that have fundamentally changed the way we create our software systems -- like incremental, iterative development -- but, in general, none of them has completely changed our view of the universe.

Lately I've gotten interested in an area that I think has the potential to create the next fundamental change in software development: collaboration and creativity support. The agile movement brought into the spotlight the need for teams to communicate continuously and well. It emphasized other practices that good developers have always known, and codified them into a growing body of practices and principles. Agile methods are but one way to develop software. The common feature of all successful projects I've encountered has been effective communication and collaboration among the whole team.

The whole team includes the customers, developers, managers, quality professionals, writers, and everyone else who is involved with the project. This has been true regardless of whether the project uses a waterfall, iterative, or agile methodology.

Many tools claim to support collaboration, while the actual degree of collaboration support, until recently, has been minimal. However, a new breed of tools has begun to appear that gives me hope that we're going to see a dramatic increase in real support for team collaboration. Following on the heels of collaboration support is creativity support. These two areas -- collaboration and creativity -- are closely related. This month I'll look at collaboration, some of the tools that are now available, and look ahead to where we might be going with the concept. Success in developing automatic support for collaboration and creativity might take us to the next level in our ability to produce great software systems.

Relationship between collaboration and creativity

How are these two concepts, collaboration and creativity, related? By definition collaboration involves a team, and collaborative efforts are task-based, but there is often some bit of exploration, such as the "spike" in eXtreme Programming. 2 I'm not sure that one would call this work creative in light of the components given by Csikszenthmihalyi. The creative effort can be both individual and team-based, but the work is mostly exploratory.


A history of collaboration tools

Supporting successful collaborative efforts should support these factors. Let's look at how tools support them. I'll start with the simplest and oldest and work forward to where we are today.

Helping teams identify tasks and task assignments has been a part of project management tools for decades. On very simple projects one can use a spreadsheet with a few macros. Projects that have a large team, multiple components that must be integrated, and a long development cycle use sophisticated, complex project scheduling tools.

Project management tools support collaboration somewhat, but one would not categorize them necessarily as a collaboration support tool. One reason for this is that they don't make the team members aware of their teammates' activities easily. If you're a developer and your project uses a sophisticated project management tool, ask yourself when you last used that tool to find out what another developer was doing? Quite possibly the answer is "never."

The issue of awareness is an important one. A good collaboration tool will make it easy for team members to be aware of what their fellow team members are doing. The tool, or tools, will also make information about the overall progress on the project available to everyone on the team with little or no effort. It's a matter of productivity. If it takes time to find the information one needs, that's time that could be spent on a more primary task, such as coding the implementation of a new feature. Also, if it takes time and effort to locate the information, people won't access it regularly. They will only access it when a crisis arises. The information at this point, while critical, is used in a reactive mode.

Using project progress and task assignment information proactively makes more sense. The information has more value. Consider a programmer who's assigned to implement a new feature on an application. As she works on it, she realizes that another part of the system will use the feature she's implementing. She could just implement the feature and after she checks it in, the programmer who needs to use her feature will have to adapt his code. If she can quickly find out who is assigned to the work that will make use of her feature she can work with that programmer to implement the feature in such a way that it is best adapted to both their needs. This is what I mean by proactive use of the information.

Rich history information has many uses. With respect to collaboration it allows the team to review a project retrospectively and learn where they might have made better choices or to revert to a previous version of the project and pursue another path. Many of the capabilities for capturing rich history information have been around for years with version control systems. IBM® Rational® ClearCase® has been a premium entry in the software configuration management (SCM) tool market for a long time. The ability to branch, merge, and do parallel development went into the design of the product. Such products provide the basis for providing rich history, but we still need more.


conclusion of GDSS

Due to the fact that "the design of the user interface and the design of the functionality go hand in hand" [19], the conceptual interface architecture presented in this paper seems much closed to the GDSS functionality description. This closeness is normal since for the user "the interface is the system". Moreover, in web-based systems, the interface is one of the main design considerations.

Considering a "typical and complete" web-based group decision support systems, the proposed interface combines desktop features with web features, focusing on the user and on the activities specific to group decision-making processes. The interface model is schematic, specific to this early phase of design, and it will be enriched and improved during development.


New Collaborative Technologies – Web 2.0
Web 2.0 has been described as “an attitude not a technology” (David, 2005). Essentially it is a philosophy supporting the development of online collaborative technologies, and it has changed how the World Wide is perceived and used. The concept surrounds the change from Internet users being visitors to a web in which users can participate in knowledge creation through technologies such as wikis, blogs, RSS feeds, folksonomies, and tagging (Abram 2005). It has also led to other “2.0” discussions including E-Learning 2.0, Information Literacy 2.0, and Library 2.0, as specific groups attempt to define how Web 2.0 developments apply to their sectors.
Library 2.0 is of particular interest to library practitioners because it provides an avenue through which Web 2.0 opportunities can be discussed in the library context. Whiles literature suggests such an interest in the global sphere, to date tere has been little to gain insight into the Australian context, he authors conducted an investigation in 2006 into the use of blogs and wikis in Australian public, academic, and special libraries. This research, sponsored by the 2005 ALIA Ray Choate Scholarship, aimed to uncover the landscape of blog and wiki use in Australian libraries, increase knowledge of blog and wiki use in Australian libraries, increase knowledge of blog and wiki technologies, and promote innovative communication within the library and information sectors.
Referenced by: