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Workplace collaboration tools aren't a nice-to-have anymore

Workplace collaboration software isn't just about convenient employee chat options. It's making employees and external partners more productive.

As remote teams and digitization redefine the workplace, the collaboration software market is brimming with options to improve teamwork among employees. Workplace collaboration tools have become the engine for worker productivity; team cohesion; and secure, streamlined processes among employees, customers and partners.

From Jive to Huddle to Slack and Microsoft Teams and Salesforce Chatter, there's no shortage of collaboration app options for teams that want to share documents, chat in real time, videoconference or bring partners within the four walls of the organization without compromising security. The explosion of workplace collaboration software in the market has been fostered by a need for greater business process efficiency and faster, more-real-time communication, according to Global Market Insights. The research company projects that the enterprise collaboration market will exceed $8.5 billion by 2024.

But despite this abundance of tools, users have had a checkered past with workplace collaboration tools. Most users have found it onerous, hard to learn and poorly integrated with software that's part of everyday functionality. Today, collaboration vendors are starting to deal with these realities; they're responding with software that's more user-friendly and lightweight and geared more toward enabling existing workloads and less toward adding new work to those workloads.

"It's gone from being a digital watercooler [that didn't help users] get their work done" to adoption in specific scenarios where collaboration promotes efficiency, Forrester Research principal analyst Craig Le Clair reports. This handbook examines how workplace collaboration tools are changing the way teams work in a highly competitive marketplace.

Next Steps

Other articles in this handbook:

What's next for workplace collaboration?
Workplace collaboration tools are becoming an integral part of efficient teamwork -- and the software is finally catching up. 

Enterprise collaboration tools get their mojo
Companies have struggled to show ROI for enterprise collaboration software, but the tide may be turning as organizations securely extend collaboration beyond their walls. 

Microsoft Teams takes aim at Slack
Microsoft's new collaboration tool makes sense for Office 365 customers, but it would be a tough sell for companies using a different platform and alternate chat tool.

This was last published in March 2017

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