The way that digital tools enable collaboration in the workforce is set for one of the largest shifts in years as new technologies and techniques provide several paths forward towards effective new methods.
The root causes of these advances appear to be a confluence of three things:
a) New emerging technologies,
b) a trend back towards lightweight text chat, and
c) newly successful experiments in integrating productivity tools together with collaboration apps.
On the emerging tech side, this includes major technologies like machine learning, artificial intelligence, natural language processing, and bots, along with new workplace hub-like models for collaboration that support in-place app integration for a more seamless and contextual user experience.
These shifts have led to a recent crop of major new product entrants in the space, as well as adjustments to some of the leading enterprise products in response.In fact, one has only to look at IBM’s Watson Workspace, IBM Connections w/ AppSpokes, Microsoft Teams, Cisco Spark, Slack Enterprise Grid, and Workplace by Facebook to see how the top players are attempting to develop new collaboration offerings that reflect these advances and the evolving sensibilities of their customers. All of these new tools either involve lightweight chat, cognitive technologies, or app integration, or all three. And notably, they’re almost all very mobile friendly, unlike previous generations of enterprise collaboration tools.
In short, the collaboration world is exciting again. It also underscores the point that when the next new innovations are hard to determine, their arrival tends to be punctuated. We’ve not seen a new wave of collaboration offerings like this from major vendors since enterprise social software first arrived over a half-decade ago.While digital collaboration itself has a surprisingly low barrier to entry