Workgroup computing means information processing within a social unit of people defined by tasks and objectives. Workgroup computing is based on personal computers (PCs) networked via a LAN. Today, the hardware and software structure is usually based on the client-server architecture. The size of a workgroup varies between a few and a few dozen people, depending on the environment and the tasks.
The workgroup is the nucleus of information processing. As such, it is connected to other workgroups and, if necessary, to other infrastructures. The workgroup uses application software that is derived from conventional PC software, but which is capable of communication and cooperation and realizes natural multi-user operation. This software is generally referred to as groupware.
Today, a wide variety of computer systems usually exist in large companies or in larger organizations. This results in the coexistence of different forms of information processing, from mainframe-based time-sharing operations to modern CAD workstation networks. It is not to be expected that workgroup computing will abruptly replace the classical forms of information processing. Rather, with appropriate software, workgroup computing will permeate and integrate existing structures where possible and useful.
For planning purposes, however, this also means that in the future there will have to be even greater independence between the technical network, the logical network and the application network, as well as the devices, protocols and programs that are directly related to these networks than is the case today, in order to avoid dependencies blocking opportunities.