Collaborative software or groupware is application software designed to help people involved in a common task to achieve their goals.
In terms of the level of interaction it allows, collaborative software may be divided into:
- Instant messaging and Communication.
- Audio/Video conferencing.
- Real-time collaborative editing.
- Version control (also known as revision control and source control) platforms.
Collaborative software is a broad concept that overlaps considerably with computer-supported cooperative work (CSCW). The use of collaborative software in the work space creates a collaborative working environment (CWE).
Finally, collaborative software relates to the notion of collaborative work systems, which are conceived as any form of human organization that emerges any time that collaboration takes place, whether it is formal or informal, intentional or unintentional. Whereas the groupware or collaborative software pertains to the technological elements of computer-supported cooperative work, collaborative work systems become a useful analytical tool to understand the behavioral and organizational variables that are associated to the broader concept of CSCW.