The internet-based collaborations or the c-commerce technologies were regarded as a significant boost to the information technology at the dawn of the twenty-first century by analysts. They made an observation concerning corporations terming knowledge as an investment with its shortcoming being able to maximize its value while having the capability to control and manage information. The experience of workers helped them co-exist and work with others to complete tasks. They form an internal collaboration with their colleagues and external partnerships with suppliers and clients. The act of cooperation takes place at different levels from smaller groups of peers to project teams with different disciplines. Collaboration according to Kalay (1999) is more of an agreement between professionals who share their skills in particular processes to achieve a greater achievement for a project as outlined by a client or the community as a whole.
Collaboration technology therefore describes the combination of software or the hardware that is used to help people collaborate. They may include intranet applications and enterprise portals, requests for the project teams, video, and the web conferencing and the IM, or real-time instant messaging. One of the major steps towards the evolution of collaboration technologies was that of the establishment of Microsoft Office 2007(Kennedy & Mighell, 2008). It became a great example of how the designers began to include the collaboration features into standard programs through which people could use daily. The improvement in collaboration features also included the Adobe Acrobat 8. For lawyers, for example, standard legal tools began to sprout with the advent of new capability devices. During this period, Wikipedia had also garnered some attention as a new collaborative form of a collaborative encyclopedia (Wilkinson, 2005). Other wikis followed the Wiki model. The Microsoft SharePoint, a collaborative tool also became the hot topic for the technology enthusiasts at the time. The advent of electronic discovery in litigation also meant that collaborative tools had come in handy especially for the review of cases and other legal tasks.
The construction companies are among the largest industries in the world. It, however, is defined by certain unique characteristics such as those of fragmented organizations, the distinctiveness of each of the projects and labor intensive activities. For the completion of the construction process to be successful, there has to be communication and collaboration of different disciplines and at times, it may comprise of team members that are geographically separated. The continued formal or informal communication among the members is vital especially in resolving conflicts, ensuring that projects are within the scheduled time, solutions are found amicably and that knowledge is shared for the coordination of these efforts. The advances in the Online Collaboration and Project Management (OCPM) technology offers excellent opportunities to improve on the existing projects. Despite the numerous benefits from the technologies into the realization of the successful communication between participants, the proper utilization of the OCPM technology has not made any significant progress beyond the storage of documents, its exchange, and management.
The slow adoption by the participants to the new use of new tools has resulted in insignificant changes in the traditional work routine. The OCPM technology in this report refers to any number of web-powered and web-based technologies. They are designed to provide platforms for communication, project management functionalities and also to host collaboration spaces for construction projects. The web-enabled application differs from the web-based application in that it is a special software application distributed across a local area network. Using both of the configurations can assist the team members to arrive at the project information through their Internet browsers with access that requires permission through the usernames or passwords. The services are leased for either a period or per-user fee despite the fact that the business models differ depending on the OCPM provider. The technology facilitates the automation of construction processes. The tools the main purpose is to allow the participants to send, store, record, share, receive or even monitor and manage the correspondence (Townsend, Riz & Schaffer, 2004).
As the world moves towards more intelligence based data structures, the providers of technology should also move towards the tools of knowledge that will enable them to deliver comprehensive and all-rounded information rather than unnoticeable solutions that produce reports that are progressive. The solutions currently offered by the OCPM are more document-oriented making the industry go through the tiresome process of shuffling electronic papers rather than allowing for legitimate electronic processes. The mere presence of the electronic papers offers a clear indication that the industry could move towards gaining more efficiencies in future, although the tools are still in need of more intelligent workflow to ensure survival in the future. The OCPM tools should in the near future automate tasks between the business partners. The purchase of orders or making of invoices can be one automatically and linked with the back-end systems for easy tracking of shipments from one corporate portal without having to log onto multiple information sites. By making possible, the direct interaction of companies with the information that is available to other enterprises, the intelligent tools of the OCPM will make the reach and integration of supplies a possibility.
The problem of connectivity hampers the ability of the construction industry to move towards a web-based model. The speed of the internet is weak as a result of the high number of users and also the bulk of information stored in the system. The OCPM tools are designed to be beneficial to all the members of the project. A maximum benefit can only be attained when all the participants demonstrate their options concurrently by ensuring that they invest the required amount of resources into the system. If this is not put into consideration, the full potential of the investment can never be realized. Amram (1999) observes that the possibility of the ultimate users adopting a new technology just like the corporate IT department is still far from realization in an industry that is primarily defined by conservatism and a decentralized way of approaching at decisions. The solutions should, therefore, work efficiently on the databases of the clients to avoid issues that may arise with connectivity. The team members in their response mentioned that tools should be established to cover wider areas with a component of the internet to allow for ease of sharing hence keeps the need to upload files to internal servers at bay.
One of the biggest challenges of using information derived from electronic sources to make decisions is the inability to share and have an interaction with the information effectively. This report highlights emails and telephone as the primary tools of communication that are vital for the success of the project
Template on the use of sampled collaborative technologies
Job role: Collecting information on the
various use of technology Forms of communications
(Tick where applicable) Response
How do you use the technology Telephone Emails What do you like and dislike about the technology Telephone Emails What are the advantages of the technology? Telephone Emails How can the technology be improved? Telephone Emails If given a different collaboration technology, would they want to use it, or would you still use your preferred collaboration technology? Telephone Emails Response 1
The tool of technology chosen is the email. The email often comes in handy when inquiring on the status of projects with the clients. It is also a cheap and easy way to send messages or files to fellow colleagues.
The major shortcoming of the email as a collaborative tool is that malicious people can override passwords and hack into emails accessing personal information.
One of the major advantages of using an email is the ease with which bulky files can be zipped and sent to longer destinations. This eases movement when compared to having to deliver loads of data in person.
This form of technology can be improved by checking on the issues to do with security. Certain measures can be taken to prevent confidential messages or information from being accessed by hackers.
Given an alternative collaboration tool, I would choose an internet enabled phone. This supplements the use of email with the ability to verbally communicate with colleagues and clients.
Choosing the collaboration tools is very easy. As a matter of fact, one may already be putting it to use in his or her everyday life. Most people usually collaborate by using tools that are chosen for them by others or may be using them by default. In the todays world, most of the drafts are exchanged as saved Microsoft Word files that are attached to unencrypted emails and sent over an open internet to the mail systems with questionable security systems. The message may encounter spam filters that delete it before it reaches its desired destination. Before a person selects the preferred collaboration tool or change to a new one, it is important for them to reconsider the current ways in which they are working with others.
Amram, M.,(1999). Real options. Boston, Mass.: Harvard Business School Press.
Kalay, A., (1999). Continuous trading or call auctions. [Tel-Aviv]: The Israel Institute of Business Research.
Kennedy, D., & Mighell, T. (2008). The lawyer's guide to collaboration tools and technologies. Chicago: ABA, Law Practice Management Section.
Townsend, J., Riz, D., & Schaffer, D. (2004). Building portals, intranets, and corporate Web sites using M
Wilkinson, P. (2005). Construction collaboration technologies. London: Taylor & Francis. icrosoft servers. Boston: Addison-Wesley.
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