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The Collaboration Market is Dead! Long Live Collaboration!

by Craig Roth  |  February 7, 2019  |  Comments Off on The Collaboration Market is Dead! Long Live Collaboration!

I’m busy churning away on our Market Share process, where I’m in charge of the content services platforms, content collaboration platforms, email+authoring, and collaboration markets. Or rather, I was in charge of the collaboration services market until it was removed from market share.

Whodunnit? It was me (… in the Office, with a spreadsheet – for you Clue players out there). For the 2018 market share “Collaboration services” will be added in to “other application software.” instead of being a separate market.

That seems like market cruelty, so I want to offer some explanation.

First, collaboration continues to be extremely important for the success of all organizations. Organizations, large and small, struggle with working toward shared goals using the tools and processes they currently have. And many vendors have included collaboration features to meet these needs.

So why eliminate it as a market segment? Well, look back to that statement about how many vendors have included collaboration features, often around their particular area of interest. Collaboration features are present across task specific enterprise applications such as project and portfolio management, enterprise resource planning, and customer experience and relationship management. And they exist in productivity applications for intranet packages, enterprise social networking, meeting solutions, employee communications, innovation applications and collaborative work management.

But those are a bunch of sub markets, with vendors that are either too small for us to accurately track or they are small bits of large vendors that don’t separate out those revenues. And, moreover, products across these markets can’t be compared since they don’t have common objectives. A collaborative work management vendor like Asana doesn’t displace or compete with an employee communication platform like Dynamic Signal. And that’s the basic definition of a market: a set of large, competitive offerings with common objectives.

Instead, collaboration has emerged as a feature more than a market. For the few sub-markets that have a set of competitors that are large enough to track we are tracking them, such as content collaboration platforms and workstream collaboration (as a market guide).

So be assured that I still believe in the power of collaboration to unite people toward shared goals – and to rake in some cash for vendors. Just not as a multi-vendor market of standalone, competitive players.

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Category: collaboration  

Craig Roth
Research VP, Tech and Service Providers
7 years at Gartner
28 years IT industry

Craig Roth is a Research Vice President focused on cloud office suites, collaboration tools, content management, and how they are being impacted by digital workplace and digital business trends...Read Full Bio




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