Title: Designing Group Enabled Applications: A Spreadsheet
Authors: I. Grief
Citation: In D. Coleman (Ed.), Groupware '92, pp.515-525 Morgan Kaufmann Publishers.
Reprinted in: Groupware and Computer-Supported Cooperative Work, pp.621-631, Edited by R.M. Baecker
This article describes the extension of the Lotus 1-2-3 spreadsheet
and a separate "new" product, Chronicle, to support
sharing of spreadsheet information. The general problem addressed
is the annual budgeting planning process which takes place in
most organizations. This process generally involves one central
budget staff working with all of the departments throughout the
organization. The information between typically exchanged via
a budget template which is developed by the central budget department
and requires information to be completed by the various departments.
The exchange of this information takes various forms, e.g. paper,
shared network files, floppy disks, etc. but typically requires
a great deal of coordination to keep the proper versions throughout
this iterative process. This notion of versions exists at both
the departmental and the organizational level. The department
may be working with several different sets of assumptions covering
items such as income and expense.
The design project resulted in a multi-stage plan for workgroup
enabling spreadsheets which integrate the spreadsheet with communications
software. The work was completed in two phases. First the notion
of an alternative scenario is implemented as part of the standard
worksheet. This allows the use of cell ranges which can be saved
as alternatives or scenarios without duplicating the entire worksheet.
Second the file sharing is upgraded suing database technology
to support concurrency and access control.
The authors state that they believe that the requirements for structure, versions, and user identity which were incorporated into the spreadsheet can be generalized to other applications and project the wide appearance of such features in the future as group-enabled products appear on desktops of individuals.
Report prepared by: Gary Baker Email: firstname.lastname@example.org
Discussion date: 3/19/97 Report date: 3/2597