If you asked ten different people to define collaboration in a computer environment, you would receive ten different answers. Some would say collaboration is e-mail. Others would mention video teleconferencing or the World Wide Web. You might even hear Internet chat as an answer. People struggle to define collaboration because there are so many technologies and its definition today is broad. Really, all of these answers are correct. Collaboration—at least in part—is the integration of many different technologies into a single application or environment to facilitate information sharing and information management.
Integrated technology, however, is only one aspect of collaboration as we're defining it. Timing is another. We're all familiar with real-time collaboration in which you work with others at the same moment, taking turns communicating ideas. But new technology offers you an entirely different way to collaborate—asynchronous collaboration—in which you don't have to be present to participate. Asynchronous collaboration allows you, at your convenience, to collaborate with other people, at their convenience. E-mail, public databases, the Internet, and
Collaborative technology provides these key benefits to businesses:
How does a collaborative system provide these benefits to corporations? In terms of its architecture, a collaborative system must have several characteristics. First, it must have a robust, replicated object database that can store many different types of information such as web pages, office documents, and e-mail messages, and it must support replication both from server to server and from server to client. This replication allows
Second, it must support the Internet and industry standards. The days of stovepipe computing are over. New technologies are connecting disparate networks to form one global, cohesive network. A collaborative system must be able to
Third, a collaborative system must offer powerful, easy-to-use development tools and technologies. The environment must be