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Enterprise Collaboration Software: From Simple Sharing to Purposeful Collaboration

Executive Summary

How to Benefit from the Evolution of Enterprise Collaboration Platforms and their Business Use Cases

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Advances in technology and culture are influencing organizations of all sizes to modernize the business platforms they use for both internal and external collaboration, as well as scenarios that bridge the two. These projects involve augmenting the traditional toolset of email, instant messaging and office documents with additional “social” tools such as blogs, wikis, file sharing services and enterprise social networks. When implemented correctly, these new tools enable people to create, find and share information, connect with colleagues, customers and business partners and participate in communities more effectively than ever before.

Unfortunately, many organizations experience adoption challenges with these new platforms, especially when the tools are not part of the business processes employees use to get their jobs done. To solve this problem, a new generation of collaborative platforms is starting to emerge, where social features are built directly into the business tools employees are already familiar with. These new tools do not replace traditional enterprise systems of record, such as Human Resources (HR), Customer Relationship Management (CRM) or Enterprise Resource Planning (ERP). Instead, they enhance them, allowing people to get their work done in new and more powerful ways. This type of collaborative work, where social is part of a core business process, is called Purposeful Collaboration.

This report covers the evolution of collaboration platforms, showing how they have grown from stand-alone applications, to platforms supporting the integration of external data, to business applications that have social features built right in. For each model, an overview will be given, along with advantages and disadvantages, sample use cases and a list of vendors delivering this type of platform. The report concludes with a look at what is coming next in the market and how your organization should begin preparing for the future.

Purpose and Intent

This research report helps organizations understand the evolution of collaboration/social business platforms and how they can help connect content, colleagues and communities (both internal and external) in ways that help drive improved business outcomes. This Big Idea research report offers insight into one of Constellation’s primary research themes: The Future of Work.