Collaborative technology beginning to find groove

By Jennifer DiSabatino, Computerworld |  Software

GlaxoSmithKline is also testing Groove to see how it works in real, collaborative situations.

Like Fisher, Philip Connolly, head of IT communications at GlaxoSmithKline, is drawn to Groove's ability to link people in disparate geographical locations without having to get the IT department involved. "Too many of us are spending too much time on airplanes," Connolly said. He added that he hopes Groove will help reduce the company's travel expenses. "It seems to connect people to people, whereas Notes seems to connect people to documents," he said.

Both Raytheon and GlaxoSmithKline are fairly devout Notes shops. Connolly and Fisher agreed, however, that Groove has an edge over the collaborative Lotus products Sametime and QuickPlace when it comes to setting up quick workgroups.

"Groove has the potential to be easier to set up," Fisher said. "If it's that easy to use, kind of like IM, maybe it's something that we should consider."

Groove attempts to position itself as corporate P2P standard bearer

Peer-to-peer is being touted as the hot new technology. Whereas Napster in Redwood City, Calif., has been something of a bastard child, Groove is setting itself up as the standard-bearer, particularly for corporate use. To be viable, however, it's adopting some IT mainstays, like a data repository, to lure corporate users.

Network Services for Groove 1.0, for example, is designed to allow IT managers to centrally control the deployment and behavioral characteristics of widely dispersed Groove software, according to a press release issued with the launch of the software last week. Some of those centralized tools include the deployment and management of client software and licenses, the dissemination of component and tool security policies, the dissemination of user identities to be consistent with a corporate directory, the dissemination of software version upgrade policies and the aggregation of software usage, behavior and fault information.

Groove spokesman Richard Eckel said the software is also working toward storing data on central servers. As a partner in Microsoft's .Net program, for example, Groove would access line-of-business software. The changes users make while in a Groove session would then be stored on a central server.

In fact, little of the technology now being sold as peer-to-peer is exclusively run from desktop to desktop, which is the simplest peer-to-peer model, according to Gartner analyst John Pescatore.

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