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Groupware vs. E-Collaboration vs. Social Collaboration

2 min read  •  August 19, 2014

Which cloud software is the right one for me? There is not only a vast variety of tools for working in a team, but also at least as many terms for programs and platforms. Many are probably wondering what they are actually searching for. Therefore, here is a brief clarification of these concepts.

Groupware / Group Software: This is most likely the easiest one to explain – the name by itself says it all. This term describes software that enables collaboration in a group, regardless of spatial and temporal distance.
Social Collaboration: This term is already less precise than groupware. Social Collaboration generally describes apps that provide collaboration areas for projects, groups or teams via the Internet.
E-Collaboration: While Social Collaboration and Groupware relate to specific applications, the term E-Collaboration includes a variety of options for decentralized collaboration over the Internet. It includes E-Mail as well as online calendars or wikis / blogs.

It is pretty transparent that all these terms are incredibly similar. While E-Collaboration is often used as an umbrella term, the borders between Social Collaboration and Group Ware are blurry. Usually a Social Collaboration application includes a kind of wall (known from Facebook) or communication channel where people can discuss different posts. Therefore, it is not the targeted communication between people that is aimed, but rather the acquisition of information by the whole team. This means that no receiver is addressed directly, but all participants can react to a post or topic. This makes the information retrieval much easier.

How do I find the right tool for my business?

Finally, most readers probably have the same question: “Which category is the right one for me and my business?” This cannot be answered right away. A starting point should be the evaluation of the purpose the software will be used for. When selecting the appropriate solution, you should also consider how flexible it is. The needs of businesses usually change over a long period of time, which is why a simple task management tool may not be enough after half a year. In addition, the expectations for a Social Collaboration Tool should be discussed within the team. Most work habits differ drastically inside a team. Additionally, an intuitive user interface is essential for the adoption of the tool in the team. Computer knowledge and the use of it are rarely on par level within the team. Therefore, never forget that a team is only as strong as its weakest link – if new software is introduced, it must be understood by each person.

If you consider the points mentioned above and plan everything well, there will be no obstacles when introducing an E-Collaboration Tool. No matter in which marketing category the tool is classified.

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Christopher Diesing
About the Author:
Christopher Diesing is the COO of Stackfield. He loves all kinds of marketing, product design as well as photography.
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