Ray Ozzie: Groove Will Benefit From Peer-To-Peer Networks

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InformationWeek Staff, Contributor

October 4, 2002

2 Min Read

It should come as no surprise that Ray Ozzie, CEO of Groove Networks Inc. and the original developer of Lotus Notes, sees collaboration through peer-to-peer-colored glasses. Groove, which is backed by a heavy investment from Microsoft, made early bets on XML and Web services, and Ozzie believes the latter is the key to the future of collaboration technologies in a mobile, sometimes connected work environment. His vision is of a world of contextual collaboration, in which Web services let IT managers easily embed collaboration tools in enterprise software, intranet portals, and other information apps, while enabling employees to access those tools whether they're online or not.

Ozzie sees other vendors moving in the same direction. But where many collaboration technologies depend on ubiquitous connectivity, Ozzie doesn't think the dream of always-on, high-speed connectivity will come true. That's why he expects Groove's peer-to-peer architecture to succeed.

Ozzie says collaboration needs to fit into the way people work -- and although today's workforce is increasingly mobile, it isn't always connected to the home office. That means process-oriented technologies are useful only some of the time. "During the Web era, everyone had this dreamy vision of people being connected all the time," he says. "People need to understand that companies that sell processes aren't addressing the way people work."

Ozzie expects to see vendors selling software components as Web services that offer more flexibility in how they're delivered to employees. "It'll be easy for developers to whip up applications that combine transactional pieces and collaboration pieces," he says. He predicts that during the next 18 to 24 months, companies will focus on solving specific, short-term problems as they try to address business agility and resiliency.

That goal is in line with Ozzie's view of collaboration as revolving around people. "A people focus is very appropriate for this time," he says.

For thoughts on collaboration from Al Zollar, general manager of IBM Lotus Software, visit informationweek.com/909/ collab_online.htm.

Photo by Jason Grow

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