Where Next for Business Collaboration?

Slack, Salesforce Chatter, Huddle, Box – the list of enterprise collaboration tools goes on. But what’s behind the proliferation of these tools and what impact will they have for businesses?

Enterprise collaboration tools have well and truly earned their stripes – they work wonders in facilitating collaboration between different arms of the business, from file-sharing and cloud storage to calendaring and reporting. And with improved collaboration promising to help businesses streamline internal communications – through increased work agility and improved decision-making, for example – it’s no wonder more and more companies are investing in these apps.

Collaboration tools are helping organizations drive competitive advantage, too – never mind lowering the costs associated with travel and desk space.

According to recent research gathered by Clinked, organizations that use collaboration tools enjoy higher productivity levels – an increase of almost 13 percent. What’s more, 97 percent of businesses say that using these tools allows them to serve their clients more efficiently.

It’s no wonder then that 82 percent of businesses that currently use collaboration tools want to increase their use in the future. And it’s thanks to this growing appetite that the market is predicted to be worth around €65 billion by 2019, compared to roughly €43 billion in 2014.

So what exactly is behind the proliferation of these tools and how will the future of team engagement look?

In a nutshell, collaboration tools are, ostensibly, designed to eliminate silos – one of the biggest inhibitors to digital transformation today.

A huge and very common problem that businesses encounter today involves having to deal with multiple silos where collaboration at work exists. For many employees, for example, email is a go-to method of communication; in fact, today over 200 billion emails are sent per day, compared to just 12 billion in 2000. At the same time, however, employees may be using a separate document management system, like Google Docs, to collaborate on long-term projects; a separate chat or IM platform for real-time interaction with colleagues; or a separate document management system, like Dropbox, to store files.

While each of these separate tools are useful in their own right, especially in terms of team-based projects and discussions, a better solution exists for streamlining teams to engage with one another. Organizations should work to aggregate these separate and siloed tools into one centralized space to ensure a more streamlined and less disruptive user experience.

That’s where advanced collaboration tools come into play for bolstering the enterprise workspace. These kinds of tools are very purpose-focused and seamlessly tie in important workflows that exist today, from project management to document management to content creation and sharing. They also support common workflows, like managing tasks and staying on track with due dates, which is advantageous for any deadline-driven organization.

As more and more businesses work toward fully adopting advanced collaboration tools, we’re seeing the definition of collaboration and communication being challenged. Not only does this help encourage adoption in the industry but it also challenges collaboration solution providers to innovate in order to continually improve the user experience and encourage the next generation of team engagement.

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