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Social software & collaboration ripe for innovation, says Gartner

26 Sep 2019

Social software and collaboration products such as Microsoft Teams and Slack are in a sweet spot, but there’s still plenty of room for innovation, according to Gartner.

The market, currently estimated to be worth US$2.7 billion (NZ$4.3 billion), will swell to us $4.8 billion (NZ$7.5 billion) by 2023.

Gartner research vice president Craig Roth says that it’s not yet a ‘winner takes’ all space, and there are opportunities for innovation. This is because there are many different submarkets that often don’t compete with each other.

 “The future of social software and collaboration will leverage new capabilities like social analytics, virtual personal assistants (VPAs) and smart machines,” Roth explains.

A recent Gartner Digital Worker Survey found that 58% of respondents reported using real-time mobile messaging tools daily, and 45% reported using social media networks daily.

“Digital workers turn to tools that are common in their personal lives to get work done. Real-time mobile messaging is quite common in support of enterprise endeavours, as are social media and file sharing tools,” says Roth.

“The use of such tools effectively blends workers’ personal experiences and their work experiences.”

Furthermore, business decision makers want a foundational platform but they understand that no single vendor can provide everything they want.

With such a fragmented market, the barriers to entry are “extremely low”, Roth says.

The market is also demanding social and collaboration tools.

“By 2023, we expect nearly 60% of enterprise application software providers will have included some form of social software and collaboration functionalities in their software product portfolios.”

Additionally, collaboration tools are becoming more like infrastructure services, and every one is different.

According to Gartner the collaboration market will continue to be tool-driven.

“Slack is the vendor most often associated with the workstream collaboration market. However, Microsoft and Google have entered the market and bundled their workstream collaboration offerings in cloud office suites that are deployed by vast numbers of global organisations to address general productivity needs,” the company states.

Vendors that don’t work within a cloud environment would need to focus on specific business needs such as marketing, supply chain, and sales.

“This will enable them to build stronger value propositions for organisations that have deployed cloud office environments across the enterprise in order to address general productivity and collaboration needs,” says Roth.

Gartner adds that growing amounts of routine work are also fuelling the use of collaboration software in the workplace.

By 2023, the number of knowledge workers in the world will increase to 1.14 billion, with more than four-fifths of that growth coming from the emerging world.

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