Journal of Management Information Systems

Volume 29 Number 4 2013 pp. 159-194

Facilitator-in-a-Box: Process Support Applications to Help Practitioners Realize the Potential of Collaboration Technology

Briggs, Robert O, Kolfschoten, Gwendolyn L, De Vreede, Gert-Jan, Lukosch, Stephan, and Albrecht, Conan C

ABSTRACT: The potential benefits of collaboration technologies are typically realized only in groups led by collaboration experts. This raises the facilitator-in-the-box challenge: Can collaboration expertise be packaged with collaboration technology in a form that nonexperts can reuse with no training on either tools or techniques? We address that challenge with process support applications (PSAs). We describe a collaboration support system (CSS) that combines a computer-assisted collaboration engineering platform for creating PSAs with a process support system runtime platform for executing PSAs. We show that the CSS meets its design goals: (1) to reduce development cycles for collaboration systems, (2) to allow nonprogrammers to design and develop PSAs, and (3) to package enough expertise in the tools that nonexperts could execute a well-designed collaborative work process without training.

Key words and phrases: collaboration, collaboration engineering, collaboration support system, collaboration technology, computer-assisted collaboration engineering, process support application