Groupware: What works the way businesses do?

The internet is full of 1.5 million to 7 million indexed pages of groupware packages available on the market today. Every business needs groupware to control, manage, or track documents.

Groupware is similar to other systems that enable document management, often using a centralized system to work through business collaboration processes to create budgets, market reports, presentations, contracts, and countless other documents necessary to run a business.

Ad Hoc Collaboration

Often times, however, businesses do not, or cannot, follow an outlined document collaboration process. Deadlines near, clients change their minds, management changes their minds, information changes, and needs change. In searching for groupware that enables businesses to track collaborative documents, even in an ad hoc environment, businesses need to find groupware that works the way businesses do.


In an ad hoc business environment, tracking your document versions can be a chaos. To meet deadlines, many documents are created. But, work is often hurried through, multiple drafts are saved on multiple drives, emails are shot back and forth, and changes are continually made. But when the deadline arrives, the document may barely be missing key parts because drafts and changes were difficult to track, drafts may be missing, nobody knows the draft order, and nobody knows who made the suggested changes. Businesses need groupware that can handle ad hoc collaboration.

Businesses often have to put documents together ad hoc, but the end result doesn’t have to be a mess. In searching through the groupware available, there are technologies to keep an eye out for which enable document tracking during hectic, ad hoc, document collaboration.

Digital Thread Technology

Groupware with Digital Thread Technology strings a digital thread through each draft of a document as it changes hands, even through email. An informational tag is inserted into the meta data of the electronic document which acts as a genetic tracker for the document. Digital Thread works in conjunction with Digital Signature and Version History to display the who, what, when, where, and how of a document.

Digital Signature

Digital Signatures provide basic version information every time a tracked document is attached to a Microsoft Outlook e-mail. A link is provided that allows users to see in real time if they still have the latest version of a document.

Businessman holding a tablet with the words "Digital signature".

Version History

In addition to a signature that provides basic version information, groupware with a Version History feature enables a display of the document genealogy or family tree. Version History is a flow chart or visual display of the who, what, when, where, and how of the document.


After utilizing these groupware technologies, merging the changes is very simple. With just three clicks, you can compare different versions of a document. All of the changes are recorded and tracked, and all of the options are at your finger tips when deciding how the information will be presented in its final format. The ad hoc mess has essentially been cleaned up behind you and presented to you in an organized system to allow the final document to be complete, as well as having a helpful version trail to refer to in case other changes are necessary in the future.


This is often the most costly part of collaboration software. In sifting through the millions of groupware packages indexed online, the most cost efficient groupware will not require new IT infrastructure. Groupware which can be downloaded is quicker, more efficient, and more budget-sensitive.

The market knows that businesses need services to track and manage documents, especially in an ad hoc environment. Use these tips to make an effective search for a groupware that works the way businesses do.

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