Modernizing enterprise collaboration software

Last updated:October 2014

Editor's note

For consumers, social media, instant messaging and file-sharing apps have forever changed the way we share information. We can instantly find answers to our questions, connect with people around the globe, and take part in virtual communities.

This kind of fast, simple information sharing has permeated enterprise collaboration software as well, with vendors touting social features and cloud-based models to make collaboration easier to access. While some businesses seek a simple, secure way to share documents, the value of enterprise collaboration software can be extended well beyond document sharing. Companies are creating knowledge-sharing communities that not only boost the productivity and effectiveness of internal employees, but also bring external collaborators into the fold. And social business extends business operations into the consumer realm, encouraging customers to share expertise and impact product development on social media channels.

But businesses face hurdles in modernizing their approach to collaboration, including poor user adoption, and security and governance concerns.

This guide explores the challenges of effective business collaboration in a world that's both more connected and less connected than ever before – as well as the promise of collaboration technology for not only sharing information, but also generating new ideas.

1Social business involves customers in collaborative process

For some companies, even customers have become part of collaboration processes. Social business taps into customer activity on social media channels, not only to improve brand exposure and customer service, but also to generate new product ideas. While social media may seem like the perfect platform for endless knowledge sharing, companies need to take control of online communities to guide conversation in a substantive direction and to prevent sensitive company information from being exposed.

2How to modernize a collaboration strategy

A common problem with enterprise collaboration software is that companies expect the tools to automatically make workers more productive. But like any technology, collaboration tools have to be matched with a business problem to solve in order to succeed. Companies should link collaboration initiatives to use cases to prove the ROI to upper management and the everyday workflow value to employees.