Every year since 2006 Jane McConnell releases her report on digital workplace trends which is quite an in-depth piece of work. The most recent one clocking in at over 150 pages of information with online survey data from over 456 organizations around the world! Her most recent report looks at both the consumer and employee use of social and collaborative technologies. While it is quite comprehensive I will extract a few pieces of information which I found to be interesting.
As you can see from the image below most organizations are still at the early stages of their enterprise collaboration initiatives. In our report that we released last year we found the same to be true so it looks like not much has changed here. Although what does seem to be true is that organizations are starting to move up the ladder of maturity. While 33% of companies still have fragmented initiatives 27% of them have collaboration established in some parts of the organization (still, I’m curious as to how many organizations have absolutely nothing in place). Virtually every company that I speak with today has some sort of deployment in place, at the very least Sharepoint. Oftentimes leaders and managers are not even aware of the many rogue deployments that are already up and running within their company! I think we should start to see these numbers increase towards the top and decrease towards the bottom year over year.
I really like this comparison that Jane included in her report which looks at traditional and “newer” collaboration features which organizations are using. Traditional features include things such as discussion forums and document sharing. Newer features were those considered to be a part of “web 2.0″ technologies such as internal social networking, blogs, wikis, and commenting. As you can see this further shows that enterprise collaboration (or as Jane refers to, “social collaboration”) is still at the very early stages almost half of those who responded to the survey have been involved with enterprise collaboration for a year or less. Very early indeed! Consider that the consumer web as we know it today with Twitter, Facebook, and the like have been in existence and popular for around the past 6 years or so, we are nowhere near that with enterprise collaboration.
Below you can see the benefits that organizations are seeing as a result of their collaborative initiatives. When going over these keep in mind what I mentioned above, we are still at the very early stages of collaboration. Having said organizations can already clearly see value. Faster time to market, more engaged employees, and better knowledge sharing were some of the top business benefits that organizations said they were “absolutely seeing” and seeing “quite a lot” of. This to me is a very telling and powerful slide because it shows that organizations are seeing business value in many areas. Faster problem solving and discover and access to experts are also near the top as far as benefits observed. Many companies are also starting to see considerable benefits in areas such as process streamlining, decreased email, and cross-pollination and innovation.
Even with these business benefits that organizations are starting to see, there are still several concerns around business value to the enterprise. Although Jane doesn’t discuss the reasons for this directly in her report, based on what I have seen through clients and research I attribute this to two things. The first is a lack of education and training around collaboration and the second is the lack of support around making collaboration within the enterprise work, in other words, making this about more than just a technology deployment.
Almost half of the organizations who participated in this survey stated that they are going to be increasing their investments in collaboration which is something I find reassuring. After all, many analyst firms predict the rise of spending on collaboration to continue at least through 2016.
As I mentioned the report is quite extensive in its coverage and if you’re interested you can purchase and read the report from Jane. You can also participate in her most current research and receive a FREE copy of her upcoming report, more information here.
I think the report covers a lot of very interesting topics around both enterprise and customer collaboration and if either of these topics interest you then I highly recommend making the investment and getting the report.