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Enterprise Collaboration - Delivering Better Business Results and Outcomes

The business issues that are forcing IT management to re-evaluate their information worker strategies are, of course, many and varied; but the management and exploitation of business social networking and transactive information (i.e. that associated with specific communities of interest, their interactions, and their ‘products’ or output) is, in Butler Group’s opinion, key. Within any given market or economy, business transaction costs always tend towards a fixed point, and so it then becomes the value-add that a business can bring to these transactions that makes the difference. Maybe this is better customer support, faster delivery, or more flexible working; but whatever the difference, it will undoubtedly be linked with the way an organisation marshals and focuses its people.

Technology Issues

Collaboration means working with people through ‘shared spaces’ that may be Internet service based, enterprise server based, or connected directly by using peer-to-peer technology. Collaboration means working within and across locations, such as home(s), hotels, and offices; it also means working across and within different businesses, organisations, workgroups, and projects; and it also means working across and between different IT regimes, business processes, and corporate policies. Enterprise Collaboration systems enable the information worker to create, find, organise, and share documents and data among all of the different desktops, devices, servers, and services to which he or she has access.

However, despite the availability of such a broad range of collaboration products, the vast majority of user-oriented, ad hoc business processes remain hampered and ineffective due to one thing: e-mail. Collaborating via e-mail is something we all do, every day; it has become second nature to us. There are better ways of collaborating, and the so-called ‘Net Generation’ is slowly but surely introducing new models of working as they shun e-mail in favour of more socially-oriented systems.

Synchronous collaboration features are a fundamental component of the ‘new world of work’. Whether it is Instant Messaging, video conferencing, whiteboarding or application sharing, moving to a unified communications and collaboration environment is something that all IT managers should be thinking about. It is clearly a mistake to think that Enterprise Collaboration is all about technology, but it is also a mistake to dismiss the technology altogether. Therefore, selecting and implementing enterprise social software solutions, next-generation collaboration solutions, and Rich Internet Applications requires careful thought, consideration, and planning. In particular, adapting information security and corporate governance policies to fit with the cloud/Web 2.0 delivery model will, in the opinion of Butler Group, prevent many organisations from going down this path at present.

Butler Group believes that Web 2.0, and advances in collaboration models, are capable of transforming the work ‘place’. Fully-featured mobile phones are now in common use, and high-speed telecommunication networks provide connectivity to a large percentage of the mobile workforce. As the cost of using these networks decreases, so more opportunities will be created for an organisation’s mobile workers. As a result, Butler Group expects that Enterprise Collaboration solutions will be tuned to mobile form factors rather than the traditional desktop PC. With high-quality voice, video, and data available almost anywhere, and with input and output technologies evolving also, the pace of change in the Enterprise Collaboration market looks set to quicken as we approach the end of the decade.

The only environment more complicated than the workplace is the ‘other place’; i.e. the home, the train, the car, the plane, the hotel, the motel, the customer office, and the coffee shop. This is where consumeroriented technology comes alive, and this is why the consumerisation of corporate IT will have a big effect on the Enterprise Collaboration systems of the future.

Market Issues

The continued evolution of the consumer-oriented Internet, with its Web 2.0 architectures and models, is starting to have an effect on corporate IT. The last couple of years have seen some organisations experimenting with Web-native ‘social software’ (such as blogs, wikis, and communities), and so as we move towards the end of the decade Butler Group believes that we will see established Enterprise Collaboration vendors – such as IBM and Microsoft – accelerating their ‘Enterprise Web 2.0’ solutions, and challenging Web-native vendors such as Google.

However, the question being considered by many CIOs is whether to stick with the establishment – i.e. IBM and Microsoft – or to perhaps consider something new and innovative from the likes of consumer-oriented technology companies – such as Google.

Although advanced collaboration environments, such as virtual meeting spaces and the 3D Internet, are currently confined to specialised use-cases, evidence from the consumer world would suggest that this form of virtual collaboration could prove extremely useful within the enterprise. IBM and Sun Microsystems (soon to be part of Oracle) are both investing in this new area of collaboration, and Cisco and HP are also providing ‘hi-resolution’ collaborative environments through the use of video conferencing technology. Butler Group expects this technology will be deployed much more widely over the next two years as usability improves and equipment becomes more commodity priced.

Google has finally removed the ‘Beta’ sticker from its Google Apps Premier Edition; the company’s cloud-based collaboration software. With this offering, Google is aiming to tap into a growing market for productivity tools that allow for online collaboration. While Google may be struggling to meet its rivals in terms of functionality, those organisations seeking a ‘good enough’ solution could save a small fortune by moving to the cloud. Existing enterprise vendors – such as IBM, Microsoft and Adobe – are also readying cloud-based offerings, and with compatibility and familiarity important considerations for the Enterprise Collaboration market, Google’s attempts to enter this particular sector will not be easy.
Section 1: Management Summary

1.1 Management Summary

Section 2: Introduction and Business Perspectives
2.1 Report Introduction and Objectives
2.2 Enterprise Collaboration Past, Present, and Future
2.3 Enterprise Collaboration Drivers and Requirements

Section 3: Reducing Operational Costs Through Enterprise Collaboration
3.1 Reducing the Cost of Information Work
3.2 Increasing Business Efficiency Through ‘Smart Work’
3.3 Adapting to a New World Economy

Section 4: Efficient Collaboration with Remote Workers, Partners, and Customers
4.1 Improving Collaboration with External Stakeholders
4.2 Using Collaboration Tools to Enhance Flexible Working
4.3 Mobile Applications

Section 5: The Impact of Web 2.0 and Cloud Computing on Enterprise Collaboration
5.1 Cloud-based Enterprise Collaboration Solutions
5.2 Extending Collaboration Through Cloud Economics
5.3 Enterprise Collaboration Meets Web 2.0

Section 6: Market Analysis
6.1 Butler Group Enterprise Collaboration Features Matrix
6.2 Butler Group Enterprise Collaboration Decision Matrix
6.3 Enterprise Collaboration Market Analysis

Section 7: Technology Audits
Adobe Systems – Adobe Acrobat Connect Pro 7
Cisco – Enterprise Collaboration
EMC – CenterStage
Google – Google Apps Premier Edition
IBM – Enterprise Collaboration
Microsoft – Enterprise Collaboration
Novell – Enterprise Collaboration
Open Text – Collaboration & Community Management
Oracle – Oracle Beehive 1.5

Section 8: Vendor Profiles
Day Software
Leverage Software
Ramius Corporation
Traction Software
Vignette (OpenText)

Section 9: Glossary
Companies Mentioned
- Alfresco
- Atlassian
- Autonomy
- blueKiwi
- Citrix
- Day Software
- GroveSite
- Huddle
- Jive
- Leverage Software
- NextPage
- ONEsite
- OutStart
- Ramius Corporation
- SocialText
- Telligent
- Traction Software
- Vignette (OpenText)
- WorkLight
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