Enterprise Collaboration: 4 Key Trends (and One Big Reality Check for Many Business Leaders)

SADA Says | Cloud Computing Blog

By SADA Says | Cloud Computing Blog

Enterprise Collaboration

It can be hard to keep up with all the enterprise collaboration news coming out these days. Enterprise collaboration growth is projected to experience 13% compound annual growth over the coming years, eventually reaching $8.5 billion by 2024 (according to recent projections from Global Market Insights Inc.).

Caught in this rapid growth, it can be challenging to keep a clear sense of:

  • How much collaboration is needed and wanted in the workplace?
  • Who the major solutions providers are?
  • What hot new platforms are arriving?

And, most important, and challenging, of all…What do all these trends mean for you and your organization?

To help you translate all this new activity into your day to day context, we’ve broken the enterprise collaboration market’s moves into four tangible trends that paint a clear picture of why this market is important for you, the business leader—and how you can get the most out of it.

Trend 1: Business Leaders Want More from their Enterprise Collaboration Tools

After a half-decade with their enterprise collaboration tools, business leaders are starting to want more. They are experiencing:

  • More collaboration between team members. According to Harvard Business Review, the average worker now spends 80% of their time collaborating with their managers and colleagues.
  • More demand for collaboration. A recent joint study from the Institute for Corporate Productivity and Rob Cross (Edward A. Madden Professor of Global Business at Babson College) has quantified the benefits of enterprise collaboration. Companies that promote collaboration are five times more likely to be high performing. And when individuals collaborate, they are more persistent, engaged, and energized than when they work on their own.
  • More value to gain from collaboration. Collaboration tools can do much more than improve operations. They are now recognized as a key component of organizational transformation. As AT&T recently summarized on their Networking Exchange Blog, “How collaboration technologies save money and increase efficiencies are still discussed, but business leaders are increasingly looking for ways that collaboration will change the workplace.”

To get more out of their tools, business leaders are beginning to benchmark their current enterprise collaboration maturity. But as they look at their organization and team’s use of these tools, they are facing a harsh truth.

Trend 2: Many Organizations Haven’t Yet Mastered the Fundamentals of Enterprise Collaboration

Business leaders are uncovering two sticking points in their enterprise collaboration maturity and adoption of tools:

  • The Technical Sticking Point: Organizations still haven’t pulled in a full suite of enterprise collaboration tools and platforms. According to a recent report by Technalysis Research, fewer than 30% of organizations have deployed new communications and collaboration technology.
  • The Human Sticking Point: Employees aren’t fully leveraging the collaborative tools integrated. New research by Harvard Business Review found, on average, only 3-5% of employees are delivering 20-35% of their value-added collaboration.

The result: many business leaders are realizing they need to go “back to basics” with their enterprise collaboration. To start, they are reconsidering their approach to integrating enterprise collaboration technology in their organizations by reevaluating their tools.

Trend 3: The New Wave of Enterprise Collaboration Tools is Making Integration Easier Than Ever

It’s unfortunate, but understandable, why most organizations have not yet deployed modern enterprise collaboration technology. The first wave of modern collaboration technology was consumer-driven, and defined by a diverse range of individual applications. It was also very fragmented and had to be pieced together. This first wave, defined by enterprise collaboration app proliferation, was hard to integrate well into a business context:

  • Each individual app often handled one task, and didn’t integrate well with other apps. The apps themselves couldn’t collaborate with each other.
  • Some businesses found a way to stitch these individual apps together. But these patchwork solutions didn’t always work. They were often a challenge to tie together and maintain, and customization tended to break them apart.
  • And in the off chance these stitched-together solutions worked, they often caused friction with internal IT departments, who worried about security, the ability of these solutions to work with existing enterprise infrastructure, and the added complexity of managing many individual services instead of a single holistic platform.

The new wave of enterprise collaboration solves these problems for one reason: they are platforms. Enterprise collaboration platforms like G-Suite offer a full range of applications and functionality all under a single cloud solution. Each function talks to, works with, and integrates seamlessly with each other function—helping to solve the technical sticking point blocking enterprise collaboration maturity.

Trend 4: The Human Side of Enterprise Collaboration Remains a Challenge

Choosing the right enterprise collaboration platform can solve some significant human-centered challenges. With the right platform, group management becomes easier through simple reporting, visualization, and automatic alerts. Everyone uses the same tools, reducing a diverse, personalized, and chaotic collaboration ecosystem. And team members receive actual collaboration tools —and not just new communication channels. A suite of apps that are all designed to play nice with allows multiple team members to contribute to shared documents and projects.

However, the biggest human-centered challenges cannot be solved by technology alone. It isn’t enough to pick the right platform and release it to your organization. Change management and user adoption are equally important.

Top business leaders are taking this point to heart. At SADA, we’ve realized the same thing in our work with clients—the more time we spend taking care of the human side of integrating an enterprise collaboration platform, the more successful the adoption and consumption, hence driving more ROI for the technology spend. SADA’s enterprise consulting and change management services have helped organizations large and small to gain the buy-in from various teams, taking into account their processes and goals within the department as well as cross-functional teams. You can read about how SADA Systems helped Digital First Media migrate over 6,000 users to Google’s G Suite.

Tackling the human side of integrating enterprise collaboration tools was at least half the battle—a reality more and more business leaders are coming to within their own contexts.
Which of these barriers are you struggling with? What has worked for you in rolling out new tools and platforms?

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