CPSC 689/602--Spring 1997
Computer-Supported Cooperative Work

Paper Report

Title: Building the Business Case for Group Support Technology
Authors: Brad Quinn Post
Citation: Proceedings of the Twenty-fifth International Conference on the System Sciences, January 1992
Reprinted in: Baecker, R.M., Readings in Groupware and Computer-Supported Cooperative Work 1993, pp. 85-96

This paper is essentially concerned with building a business case related to group support technology and evaluating the same using business case variables. The author deals with this first by identifying the variables, then building a Group Process Model and an Evaluation Model, and finally evaluating the Design and Processes that were carried out.

The variables that were identified to form part of the process were Effectiveness, Efficiency, Decision-making, Customer Satisfaction and Quality. A Group Process Model as shown in the paper was constructed to bring out how technology supported group work differed from the traditional ones. The essential features of any technology in this field should concentrate on performance and satisfaction. For the evaluation model, a leading technology in the area, namely the IBM TeamFocus was reviewed. Its technical feasibility was reviewed by a team of technical and management personnel.

Business case parameters (Flowtime, Quality, Return on Investment, Value and Cost Benefit) were defined and tested for their performance. The testing was done at an initial stage by the team itself and then followed by customers. The life cycle was spread over 5 stages - Cuctomer Acquisition, Session Planning, Session Activities, Evaluation Administration and Post-session Follow-up.

The important points that are to be observed in this paper are its emphasis on quality and customer satisfaction and not treating them as by-products of performance. Also the author feels that the trainig program fell short of providing sufficient information on all the packages. The results of the study showed tremendous improvement in utility areas of this new technology especially in customer satisfaction.

Report prepared by: Thottikalai Rajavelu Email: rajavelu@cs.tamu.edu
Discussion date: January 24, 1997            Report date: January 27, 1997