Software that's designed to capture data and disseminate information can roughly be classified into one of the following, according to increasing levels of sophistication:
  1. Electronic forms, or E-Forms

    Help collect data and impose structure upon what otherwise could be a chaotic mass of information. These can also marry CAD-like tools to desktop publishing capabilities and bring new efficiencies to forms design and output.

  2. Automated forms

    Electronically link fields on the forms to database, e-mail and information security technologies. The cost savings that accrue from automating complex paper-based business processes include reduction in storage, transportation, obsolescence, and modification. According to the Gartner Group, a leading high-tech research firm, for every dollar spent on a pre-printed paper form, another $50 to $150 is spent managing it.

  3. Document management

    Facilitate retrieval, annotation, archival and filing of documents. Internet-enabled versions allow convenient publishing of documents to be served on the web.

  4. Workflow

    Apply rules to govern where electronic or automated forms go, once processed. The Internet has greatly extended the 'reach' of these forms.

  5. Groupware

    Sometimes referred to as 'collaborative computing', these address issues pertaining to information sharing and group conferencing. Collaboration is often asynchronous, meaning that participants don't get immediate feedback.

  6. Synchronous collaboration

    Offers real-time or near-real time feedback.

Examples of products in these various levels of the continuum are presented below. Although many of these existed before the advent of the Web, software companies have leveraged the Internet in various ways:


Construction Legal Forms provides construction-related electronic forms that can be downloaded and used with the Contractor's Suite for Windows. This site is an example of how software companies are using the Web as a distribution channel.


F3 Logo F3 Forms is a 32-bit object-oriented electronic forms system with an open architecture that allows development of secure, cross-platform forms applications.


AIIM Logo Association for Information & Image Management International is a website dedicated to document management technologies as well as document imaging and interoperability standards. Aside from addressing the needs of end-users and the document management community, it also provides manufacturers, integrators, resellers and consultants a way to reach more users.
AutoDesk Logo AutoDesk , makers of AutoCAD, is a recognized leader in CAD software. The company's virtual corporation developers now offer products that manage every phase of a building's life cycle--from conceptual design through maintenance and renovation to its ultimate demolition. The integrated productivity software in the AEC Professional Suite helps users design, detail, visualize, and communicate with colleagues, consultants, and clients.
Bentley Logo Bentley is a leader in engineering software products serving primarily professionals in building engineering, GeoEngineering, and mechanical engineering. MicroStation, Bentley's range of professional CAD products, allows users to access engineering information -- such as image libraries and part specifications -- on the Web without having to "fire up" a standalone browser.
PC Docs Logo PC DOCS is a world-wide provider of open document management systems for enterprise networks. Click here to see how the County of San Bernardino used PC DOCS to manage a large construction project.
Primavera Logo Primavera Systems, Inc is a leading developer and publisher of PC-based project management software that help managers plan, track and control projects in a broad range of industries. Prominent products include Primavera Project Planner and Expedition . This website includes case studies on the use of Expedition at the Beers Construction Co., Construction of the World's Tallest Building with P3, and Building the Skydome using Project Management.
WST Logo Welcom Software Technology's Open Plan Professional is a project management software that allows real-time access to schedule information directly on the Internet. This product allows users to access project documents simultaneously. Included is a list of actual case studies., including construction of the Centenary Bridge, the British Association of Project Manager's Project of the Year for 1995.


Action Technologies Logo Action Technologies provides organizations with an infrastructure that coordinates the flow of work processes between and across networked enterprises. A list of case studies is presented.
Collabra Logo Collabra is a subsidiary of Netscape whose products help teams distribute information, share ideas, solicit input, solve problems, communicate decisions, and reduce the need for meetings. Click here to see how an engineering contractor took advantage of Collabra's capabilities.
Novell's Groupwise line of products has captured significant market share in the groupware category , according to Kinetic Information, a research and consulting firm dedicated specifically to studying how organizations are transforming the way they move, manage, and share information.
Lotus Logo LotusNotes offers messaging, workflow and groupware capabilities, as well as Internet products.

Read how Dalla Vera, a $120 million construction company, used LotusNotes to manage sub-contractors.


Synchronous Collaboration is a list of links to white papers and efforts at closer-to-real-time collaboration capabilities. Extending WWW for Synchronous Collaboration describes how bidirectional, synchronous collaboration between data producers and their consumers can be supported by exploiting the Web's ease of access and use, and by incorporating a peer-to-peer model that provides real-time collaboration services.