What’s next for collaboration in the enterprise?

‘Organisations looking are looking for something that represents the true convergence of business and communications applications’

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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 organisations drive competitive advantage too – never mind lowering the costs associated with travel and desk space.

>See also: How consumerisation and collaboration are determining the workplace of the future

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

It’s no wonder then that 82% 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 eliminate silos – one of the biggest inhibitors to digital transformation today.

A huge and very common problem that enterprises 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.

Organisations should work to aggregate these separate and siloed tools into one centralised 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 workplace flows 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 organisation.

As more and more businesses work towards fully adopting advanced collaboration tools, the definition of collaboration and communication is 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. In short, there’s no room for resting on laurels.

>See also: Why collaboration is the key to business agility

While many suppliers today still take the approach of adding yet another client to the desktop, businesses increasingly don’t want that. They don’t want to have to use multiple applications to connect and communicate.

What they want is for the cloud-based applications they depend on – like Google Apps and Salesforce.com – to be engagement-enabled, with seamless access to voice, video, conferencing and messaging on any device.

Organisations looking are looking for something that represents the true convergence of business and communications applications. This is what’s behind the proliferation of enterprise collaboration tools, and this is where the future of team engagement is at.

 

Andy Litherland, VP of European channels, Avaya

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