Collaboration Software Trends in 2016

eXo Platform Blog

Collaboration software helps you get more visibiIity and control over your projects and tasks.

I recently had the opportunity to discuss collaboration trends with Patrice Lamarque, eXo Platform Chief Product Officer, and I asked him a few questions about collaboration software trends in 2016.

What are the collaboration trends for 2016 ?

With the billions of smartphones and tablets out there, mobile work is becoming a reality. Beyond sporadic chatting and reading, more extensive uses are possible, such as conducting live meetings and reviewing documents. Collaboration software vendors are designing user interfaces specifically for different form factors while keeping mobile use cases in mind. Typically, you won’t write lengthy paragraphs on a phone, but you may take the time to review and annotate a draft report on a tablet.

Real-time collaboration, such as video conferencing, co-editing, and whiteboarding, is becoming a de facto way to co-work externally and internally. It has become so popular because it removes a lot of the friction associated with physical meetings (e.g., finding a room to book and traveling to meetings).

Enterprise work management is another great trend. As businesses march toward digital workplaces, more business processes and workflows can be supported by systems such as social intranets. In addition, social collaboration tends to generate many interactions and capture tasks. We are seeing more teams outside IT adopt agile teamwork models to drive all sorts of formal and informal projects.

Email remains a widely used yet broken system for enterprise collaboration. However, new ways of consuming information and coordinating work, such as activity streams, co-editing, and task management, are converting more knowledge workers.

What technologies support these trends ?

Web technologies are becoming more mature, and they have become more widely adopted as they begin supporting new collaboration trends. For example, WebRTC has reached maturity, supporting a unified, online communication application. Modern browsers are also progressively adopting standards such as web push and web notifications, which allow richer collaborative experiences.

Mobile device hardware is increasingly becoming more powerful. Smartphones and tablets have larger and higher-resolution screens, more battery power, and more capable processors. With these advancements, some tasks, such as document editing, are no longer awkward. For example, it’s now very easy to review and annotate a large document on a tablet.

Machine learning and other artificial intelligence technologies are becoming fairly accessible today. They allow you to leverage the large volumes of data enterprises can accumulate due to cheap storage. Capturing and mining the billions of micro-signals in our enterprise IT systems to provide relevant cues will help knowledge workers collaborate more efficiently by making smarter decisions at the right time.

How can enterprises benefit from these new collaboration tools?

Having the freedom to choose where they work is a strong motivation factor for employees. Therefore, enterprises can expect better engagement from their employees if they enable them to work anywhere on any device.

Flexible work management and socially enabled business processes should increase individual productivity and provide improved business agility to enterprises pursuing a digital workplace strategy.

As technology becomes more frictionless, it is being adopted by end users who are (rightfully) more demanding. Hence, enterprise collaboration software design has embraced the simplicity and pragmatism of consumer applications.

Enterprise collaborators don’t want technology to get in the way of their work; they simply want the technology to help them get results. Nobody takes pride in mastering complex software anymore. Instead, knowledge workers are motivated by concrete achievements.

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