Perhaps no term in the computer industry generates such a mix of enthusiasm, cynicism and confusion as “groupware.”
In the six years or so since the word was first uttered, groupware alternately has been used to describe everything from basic E-mail to complicated work-flow-automation software. As a result, detractors say, the term ultimately refers to everything, or nothing in particular.
Actually, grasping the principles of groupware “is like riding a bike,” said Brian Plackis, a network manager at MCI Telecommunications Inc., in Richardson, Texas. “You don’t understand it until you’ve done it.”
Plackis and many of his colleagues maintain that groupware should not be considered a category distinct from other types of …