Future Trends for Collaboration Technologies

What’s ahead for collaboration technology? According to research firm Gartner, you can expect a lot of energy and investment on this front for the next few years – especially under the “social” moniker.

Gartner offers several key predictions for collaborative technology:

  • By 2014, social networking services will replace e-mail as the primary vehicle for interpersonal communications for 20% of business users. Greater availability of social networking services both inside and outside the firewall, coupled with changing demographics and work styles will lead 20% of users to make a social network the hub of their business communications. Gartner recommends that organizations develop a long-term strategy for provisioning and consuming a rich set of collaboration and social software services, and develop policies governing the use of consumer services for business purposes.Companies should also solicit input from the business community on what collaboration tools would be most helpful. After all, user adoption must be wide-spread in order to increase the value your organization can achieve from increased connectivity.
  • Through 2012, over 70% of IT-dominated social media initiatives will fail. When it comes to collaboration, IT organizations are accustomed to providing a technology platform (such as, e-mail, IM, Web conferencing) rather than delivering a social solution that targets specific business value. Through 2013, IT organizations will struggle with shifting from providing a platform to delivering a solution. This will result in over a 70% failure rate in IT-driven social media initiatives.A dearth of methods, technologies and tools will impede the design and delivery of social media solutions in the near term. But long term, enterprises will realize that social media is not a “hit or miss” activity naturally prone to high failure rates, and that a calculated approach to social media solution delivery must be an IT competency. At that point, post-2012, the social software market growth will accelerate as will the overall impact of social media on business and society.It’s time to consider enterprise “social” technology solutions such as Cisco’s Show and Share for video communities and conversations to enable continuous learning and collaboration that promotes better decisions and improves productivity.
  • Within five years, 70% of collaboration and communications applications designed on PCs will be modeled after user experience lessons from smart-phone collaboration applications. As we move toward 3 billion phones in the world serving the main purpose of providing communications and collaboration anytime anywhere, Gartner expects more end users to spend significant time experiencing the collaborative tools on these devices. The experience with these tools for all who use them will enable the user to handle far more conversations within a given amount of time than their PCs simply because they are easier to use.Gartner’s advice? IT organizations should continue to procure leading-edge smart-phones for testing and accumulate knowledge on how collaborative applications on such devices accomplish business tasks. As more organizations consider replacing desk-phones with cell phones, they may wish to anchor their collaboration tools also on the cell phone.

“A lot has happened…within the social software and collaboration space. The growing use of platforms such as Twitter and Facebook by business users has resulted in serious enterprise dialogue about procuring social software platforms for the business,” says Mark R. Gilbert, research vice president at Gartner. “Success in social software and collaboration will be characterized by a concerted and collaborative effort between IT and the business.”

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