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Content-Centric Collaboration: A Growing Focus


Introduction

"Collaboration” is a term that is often used to describe a wide range of goals, processes, and technologies. Irrespective of the exact definition applied, collaboration is a growing focus for a range of businesses and processes.

In late 2004 InfoTrends/CAP Ventures surveyed 245 IT professionals, executives, and line of business managers to understand the business drivers, applications, and technology requirements for using content and document-oriented collaboration technologies.

The findings are analyzed and explained in the new research report Content-Centric Collaboration

Strong Growth Potential for Technologies to Support Collaboration
To get some sense of the extent to which content-centric collaboration technologies are needed in organizations, we asked survey participants to indicate the percentage of technology users in their company that currently meet certain criteria.

The first question asked the respondents to identify the percentage of technology users that collaborate as a daily part of their job; need collaboration technology; and use document management (DM), content management (CM), and other tools to support collaboration. To provide a point of comparison, users were asked to predict the percentage of technology users that would be meeting the criteria in 15 months.

Table 1: Percentage of Technology Users that Use DM, CM, or Collaboration Technologies Today and the End of 2005

 

 Today

 End of 2005

 % Change

Technology users that collaborate daily   51.4%   58.6%   14.0%
Technology users that need collaboration technologies  51.8%  55.9%   7.9%

The question specifically asked for “technology users” rather than employees to not preclude any external participants such as contractors, suppliers, partners, or customers that will participate in collaboration. The growth in contributors, and to a lesser degree those needing collaboration technologies, can possibly be attributed to an expectation of the inclusion of external participants that are not encompassed in the collaboration needs today.

Table 2: Percentage of Technology Users that Use DM, CM, or other Technologies to Collaborate Today and the End of 2005

 

 Today

 End of 2005

 % Change

Technology users that use document/content management   39.5%   53.7%   35.9%
Technology users that use collaboration technologies other than e-mail   31.2%  47.6%  52.6%


The most noticeable result is that all four criteria projected significantly higher percentages next year than they do now. In particular, the use of document or content management to facilitate collaboration as well as the use of other collaboration technologies rose by 35.9% and 52.6%, respectively over the course of a little more than a year. This upward trend will likely continue beyond the measured timeframe, presenting an attractive proposition for content and collaboration solution vendors.

Based on the findings above, InfoTrends/CAP Ventures has developed several vendor and end-user recommendations to help you stay ahead of the trends:

Vendor Recommendations

  • The number of technology users that collaborate as a daily part of their job is expected to increase over the course of 2005. It should be expected that some of this growth will be a result of incorporating external participants into processes. Although still early, be certain to include support for participants outside the firewall.      
  • Increasingly, collaboration will be used for the full gamut of information creation through consumption. Do not focus solely on one or the other.      
  • There is strong growth potential for document and content management and other collaboration technologies. Articulate how your products cans help an organization improve collaboration.      
  • Recognize that although e-mail usage is expected to decrease as other technologies come to the front, a significant part of collaboration will still utilize the technology. Your product needs to embrace the use of e-mail, rather than to solely be a replacement.

User Recommendations

  • Inefficient, error-prone collaboration methods are no longer the norm; it can be a competitive disadvantage not to upgrade collaboration technology to improve efficiency and reduce errors.   
  • Making the switch from in-person and paper-based collaboration is a big step. It is important to consider implementing technologies in addition to e-mail for truly efficient collaboration.   
  • Plan to accommodate a growing number of contributors, including the incorporation of contractors, partners, suppliers, or customers in the not so distant future.   
  • Recognize that the shift from traditional collaboration methods may be more gradual rather than dramatic as users become accustomed to using newer technologies.

The preceding is an excerpt from InfoTrends/CAP Ventures’ report Content-Centric Collaboration. The complete document is available immediately. To learn more about the report or to make a purchase, please contact Alison Hipp at , ext. 126 or .

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2011 InfoTrends