Collaboration in 2014

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Collaboration in 2014

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Today we published a report with Principal Analyst Angela Ashenden’s view on what we expect to see over the next 12 months in terms of Collaboration adoption and practice, as well as technology and supplier trends. In this blog we’d like to share the first part of the report with you. This includes our top 5 trends for Collaboration for 2014, as well as our ‘state of the nation’ summary. We’d love to hear your views on what to expect for the coming year – feel free to leave your comments below.

If you’d like to delve into the details of what we see as the key trends in adoption and practice, as well technology and supplier trends, you can do that by downloading the full report here (it’s free).

In the meantime, here’s what we think!

Top 5 trends for Collaboration in 2014

  1. Beyond the hype: towards value-based adoption of social collaboration technology
    While we remain some way from mass-market adoption of social collaboration technologies, we will see adoption continuing steadily throughout 2014, with businesses more carefully examining the value to their specific business from social collaboration, rather than feeling pressured to respond to market hype.
  2. Five social collaboration use cases will dominate
    Whether taking tentative first steps or expanding adoption throughout the organisation, we expect the focus of the majority of these initiatives to be around five key business scenarios: implementing a social intranet, supporting team collaboration, improving employee engagement, enabling corporate unification, and promoting idea generation.
  3. Beyond people-based collaboration
    While social technologies and concepts continue to play a central role in collaboration offerings, we’ll see vendors fleshing out their social collaboration platforms to support task- and content-based collaboration use cases in addition to people- or relationship-based scenarios.
  4. Analytics to drive user experience and adoption
    As competition and customer awareness increases, we expect to see increased vendor investment in analytics technologies, both to drive social collaboration user experiences, and also to support adoption, monitoring and community management.
  5. A shift in vendor development strategies and priorities
    As business acceptance of SaaS deployment models and expectations of employees around accessibility grows, we will see greater emphasis on “cloud first” and “mobile first” product development strategies among vendors, accelerating rates of innovation and further increasing competition.

The state of the nation for Collaboration

Although the concept of collaboration is far from a new idea, investment by businesses in actively encouraging and improving collaborative working practices for reasons such as increasing efficiency, better connecting disparate teams and driving innovation has only begun to gain momentum in a mainstream, strategically-led way over the last few years. This has developed hand-in-hand with the emergence of a new area of collaboration software which embraces “social” techniques, technologies and ideas to turn “old school” approaches to sharing and exposing knowledge and expertise on its head.

For several years now, this area of social collaboration has been the subject of much hype and confusion, with vendors jostling for position and recognition as part of the new wave, and businesses feeling pressured to adopt social strategies or risk being left behind. However, through 2013 we have started to see signs that we are now finally moving beyond this phase towards a more practical, pragmatic era where the emphasis is less on the hype around “social” and jumping on the latest bandwagon, and more on the real business issues around how these technologies can actually deliver value for organisations, and what is required from a business change perspective to enable this to happen. We’ve also seen a growing backlash against the term “social” – both in the context of collaboration, and also more generally in association with this area of technology – suggesting that we need to refocus on the business challenges involved, rather than the origins of the technology.

From a market maturity standpoint, the collaboration software market has continued to evolve throughout 2013, with new entrants (such as BCSocial, Clarizen and Intralinks) broadening prospective customers’ choice and sparking innovation, a rapid rate of product development and ongoing product releases across the industry, and a continuing stream of mergers and acquisitions (notably Telligent’s acquisition of Zimbra, Jive’s acquisition of CLARA and StreamOnce, and Mindjet’s acquisition of Spigit). However, this is far from a mature marketplace, with much more still to play out both on the vendor side and on the end-user organisation side of this exciting and fast-moving space.

In the next two sections of the report we look at Key trends in adoption and Collaboration practice in 2014 and Collaboration technology and supplier trends in 2014. To download the full report (it’s free) click here.

(By the way, if you’re interested in what we think the future holds for Analytics and BPM too, click on the links to download those reports too.)


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