Microsoft-Groove: Team-building exercise

Hurwitz explains why the integration of Groove's online collaboration desktop apps with Microsoft's online collaboration technology stands to facilitate team collaboration and project management.

On July 22, Microsoft announced that Groove Networks is working with Microsoft to integrate its flagship product, Groove Workspace, with SharePoint Team Services from Microsoft.

Groove Networks is a provider of desktop collaboration software. This is not the first interaction between these two organizations--last year Microsoft invested $51 million in Groove. Since that time, Microsoft and Groove have worked together to deliver a number of business solutions. Key to this announcement is Microsoft's ability to now provide a team Web site solution.

Highlights of the announcement include:

-- Groove Networks will deliver the features of Groove Workspace as an integration kit to SharePoint Team Services by fall of 2002.

-- The team Web site solution will support and include tools for:

  • online and offline use
  • automatic synchronization
  • secure real-time cross-firewall access
  • collaboration
  • a customizable team Web site
The SharePoint Team Services/Groove Workspace integration kit will be available to customers via Groove Networks distribution channels.

The Hurwitz take: The focus of this release is on team collaboration and team project management. Increasingly, organizations of all sizes are finding that their project teams include more than just organization employees. These teams can include partners, suppliers, customers, and other stakeholders. All members of these teams need, at varying levels depending on their expertise and contribution level, collaboration tools that allow for connected and disconnected communication support as well as access from virtually any location.

The goal here is to use and deliver the Internet as the collaboration medium with a team-specific Web site that serves as the medium for project management and communication activities. The combination of these two technologies represents a convergence between a centralized and decentralized communications model. Microsoft's SharePoint Team Services is built on a centralized platform and Groove's Workspace is built on a decentralized platform. Hurwitz Group believes that the integrations of these platforms will increase not only online collaboration, but also offline collaboration in a multi-faceted team environment.

Bill Peterson is director for portals and content management at Hurwitz Group. This article was first published by Hurwitz on July 26, 2002.


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