Collaborative and Workflow Tools

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Collaborative and Workflow Tools

A paper presented to the
Department of Information Systems
University of Cape Town

Ntombenhle Mngomezulu
In partial fulfillment of the requirements for the course
Systems Development (INF4004W)
Seminar #10

1. Introduction3
2. Collaboration3
3. E-Collaboration and virtual teams5
3.1. Challenges of virtual teams6
3.1.1. Virtual Environment:6
3.1.2. Trust:7
3.1.3. Communication7
3.1.4. Cultural differences7
3.1.5. Team Cohesion7
3.1.6. Software Collaboration7
4. Drivers of e-collaboration8
4.1. Increase in internet technology9
4.2. Pressure to constantly innovate9
4.3. Globalisation and Liberalisation of markets9
4.4. Emergence of virtual organisations10
5. Collaborative ICT tools10
Unified communication and collaboration11
6. Advantages and Disadvantages of collaboration12
7. Issues and Challenges in effective collaboration13
7.1. Trust and cohesion13
7.2. Cultural Differences13
7.3. Collaboration14
8. Management of collaboration15
9. Workflow16
10. Workflow Management16
11. Key benefits of workflow management17
12. Workflow vendors20
12.1 Metaphase Technology- metaphase 2.020
12.2. Metastorm20
12.3. Memetex, Inc.20
13. Relevance to Information Systems21
14. Conclusion21
15. References22

Collaboration and workflow are processes used within organisations to help facilitate the flow and quality of work produced by employees and teams which may be in different time zones due to their geographical location. The purpose of this paper is to explore what is meant by collaboration, its role within an organisation and to establish the benefits for an organisation and individuals using collaboration as a work tool. The benefits and disadvantages of collaboration are then explored and discussed closing off with a summary of the management of collaboration; how it’s done efficiently and effectively. In addition, this paper explored the workflow concept, the tools used and the management of workflow. 2.COLLABORATION

Collaboration is defined as being the sharing of ideas and information among a group of individuals (Li, Du, & Wong, 2007; Riemer, Steinfield, & Vogel, 2009). The increasing number of geographically dispersed organisations, has in turn resulted in there being more workers needing to work in dispersed setups(Li et al, 2007; Riemer, Steinfield, & Vogel, 2009; Rosenzweig, 2009). These workers not only work in physically different environments, but they also come from different organisational cultures, with different skills and expertise (Li et al., 2007). Management is therefore forced to look at ways to bring individuals from different organisational backgrounds , and dispersed physical environments together to work as effective teams (Reimer et al, 2009).Collaboration is the process used to reach goals that cannot be reached by a single organisation, and is illustrated through the “follow the sun” workflow concept (Carmel, Espinosa, & Dubinsky, 2010).The follow the sun workflow is the handing off of work at the end of the day from one site to another, across different time zones, in order to speed up the development of a product (Carmel, Dubinsky, & Espinosa, 2009; Carmel et al., 2010). The underlying idea behind the “follow the sun” concept is for work to be advanced and continually worked on by another team whilst the first team rests (Riemer, Steinfield, & Vogel, 2009; Rosenzweig, 2009). One of the key aims of collaboration is to get quality work, innovative and diverse solutions from individuals working on a particular project (Riemer, Steinfield, & Vogel, 2009). Collaboration is appealing because of its potential to reduce what is termed; time to market (Carmel et al., 2010; Riemer, Steinfield, & Vogel, 2009). The term time to market is the length of time it takes from product conception until the product...
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