Big Blue Joins The Groupware Club

ONE OF THE HOT CONCEPTS in software is groupware--programs that help teams of people work together by organizing information and keeping track of project goals and accomplishments. Most often, the term is associated with Lotus Development Corp.'s hot-selling Notes program, but there are lots of other groupware wannabes, including Microsoft Corp. and Oracle Corp. The latest? IBM. Big Blue will unveil its variation on the groupware theme at the Comdex trade show, to be held in Las Vegas starting on Nov. 15.

Instead of using the Notes all-in-one approach, IBM Workgroup is cobbled together from more than a dozen separate IBM software programs, such as FlowMark, a work-flow program that keeps track of big projects. A possible hangup: The software component that manages E-mail and other communications--a cornerstone of groupware programs--is still in the labs and won't be ready until mid-1995. Pricing isn't set yet, either. But IBM Director of Workgroup Marketing Richard Sullivan says the price will be competitive with Lotus Notes and other groupware products.

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