Global social software and collaboration market to grow 17% in 2021 — Gartner

The need to support remote work during Covid-19, as well as integrations within other enterprise applications, is driving significant growth worldwide for the social software and collaboration market, according to Gartner.

Despite some workers returning to office spaces, the workforce structure has been permanently changed by the pandemic, according to the forecast, which will require additional investment in tech to facilitate, capture and organise open conversations and information sharing.

The pandemic shifted the long-term curve of the social software and collaboration market upward, with double-digit (14%) year-on-year growth projected through 2022.

“Many of the existing use cases propelling the social and collaboration market, such as coordinating a distributed workforce and providing a ‘virtual water cooler,’ got a sudden jolt from the pandemic,” said Craig Roth, research vice-president at Gartner.

“Social and collaboration tools went from a ‘nice to have’ to a ‘must have’ within a matter of weeks.”

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Another key trend driving market growth is the integration of social software as an embedded capability in other applications and platforms.

Gartner predicts that by 2025, nearly 65% of enterprise application software providers will have included some form of social software and collaboration functionality in their product portfolios.

“Providers of packaged business applications, such as ERP and CRM software, have previously offered basic social and collaboration functionality,” Roth continued.

“However, they are now facing heightened expectations about the seamless inclusion of non-routine tasks, such as conversations and marking up content, within their process-oriented products.

“Partnerships between software providers will take on more importance, as a close relationship is required for tight integration of disparate application functions.”

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Aaron Hurst

Aaron Hurst is Information Age's senior reporter, providing news and features around the hottest trends across the tech industry.