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We examine the recently released report “State of Collaboration: Software Implementations” by Forrester Research, which highlights the increasing use of collaborative software on corporate strategy.

The report stated that while enterprises are actively investing in collaboration tools to support their increasingly mobile workforce, 62% of companies say that these tools still mainly benefit reduced travel costs and improved corporate communications.

Surprisingly only 9% report that collaboration technology has impacted their time-to-market for new products, with better customer engagement, improved innovation and partner relationships also ranking low on the list.

With social network usage and the consumerisation of technology driving easier and more intuitive software applications, 46% of enterprises report upgrades or new implementations to team workspaces in the next year and 42% spending on social tools like blogs and wikis.

Real time communication is being added to the desktop with new investments in desktop videoconferencing (33%), unified communications (32%), instant messaging (30%) and web conferencing (31%).

Forrester recommended that the way to accelerate the benefits of collaborative technologies is to make them more intuitive and integrate these tools into business processes like product development and workflows.

Almost mirroring the iStore concept, Forrester suggested that enterprises should implement a suite of collaboration tools so that when the need arises for a particular tool it is there ready and waiting. The key is to map employee work processes to understand the challenges; define the workflows that can best be supported by collaboration tools; select the most appropriate software application; and define policies and procedures for using the tools implemented – above all, making the applications intuitive.

In many respects implementing collaboration tools to achieve success in reducing travel costs and improving corporate communications is an easy win. The next phase of adding collaborative capabilities to business processes is more complex – what applications do you use? How are they deployed?

In the next part in our series on enterprise collaboration we will look at the 8 key collaborative categories for an enterprise.

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