CXO

GroupSystems offers good collaboration research

If you're looking for information on collaboration tools and how to use them in your company, visit GroupSystems.com. Among its features, the site has case studies of client projects as well as a "Knowledge Library" loaded with useful resources.


As training professionals, we often work on projects where being able to collaborate is important. It is doubly important to us, because we may be asked to help others in our organizations develop better collaboration skills and/or find tools to assist with collaboration. GroupSystems.com, the subject of this week’s Web site review, serves as a useful resource for finding help in these areas.

An overview
For the most part, the Web site describes the group’s products and services. GroupSystems itself is presented by the site as “the leader in best practice automation for mission-critical collaborative knowledge activities like strategic planning and risk assessment.” The organization’s work is described as helping companies “to predictably and repeatedly create and sustain the group dynamics they need.”

GroupSystems’ clientele includes professional service organizations, the government and the military, and corporations looking to move to an e-business strategy.I was impressed by this client list, which included GTE, Nokia, and the nation of Bosnia-Herzegovina, as well as by GroupSystems’ experience helping organizations collaborate by providing and designing tools and processes to achieve that end. The site also provides client case studies by industry—government and military, business, education, and professional services—or by the particular business process—planning, marketing, systems and process analysis and design, problem solving and crisis management, and human resource management.

The Knowledge Library
The site has all the typical stuff for a company’s site—about us, news and events, services, and so on. These are all well implemented on a well-designed site, but the site’s most compelling page is the Knowledge Library.

The Knowledge Library is divided into five sections:
  • Collaboration systems
  • Collaborative reasoning in education
  • Anytime, anyplace collaboration
  • Research in collaboration
  • Collaboration links

Each section is rich with materials and information useful to individuals interested in collaboration and collaboration software. The resources that are available, which include book excerpts, reviews, and even a master’s thesis, I found very impressive.

Two chapters from the book, Introduction to Electronic Meetings, are provided, and offer an overview of electronic meeting theory and practice. Larger files, such as these two chapters, are delivered via .pdf format, which works flawlessly on this site. The resources for planning and facilitating meetings using this technology are especially relevant to trainers. For example, “Electronic meeting systems: Another tool in the facilitator's bag” by Jana Markowitz, is one of the offerings in the Knowledge Library’s Collaborations Systems section.

The links section covers research done by the Center for the Management of Information at the University of Arizona. The research includes these topics:
  • Knowledge Management
  • Planning Support
  • Process Improvement
  • Technology-Supported Learning
  • Virtual Organizations

Final impressions
One thing I look for in any company site is some characteristic that sets it apart, some section that provides real value to the visitor. With its very useful and valuable Knowledge Library, the GroupSystems site meets this criterion very well. If you want to learn more about online collaboration tools and electronic meeting systems, the resources on this site, particularly in the Knowledge Library, are well worth a look.

Kevin Eikenberry is president of the Discian Group, a learning consulting company in Indianapolis.

To comment on this article or suggest other Web sites to review, please write to Kevin with your ideas.

Here is Kevin’s review of GroupSystems.com.

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