Collaboration part 3: The future of collaboration

  • Unified communications and collaboration technology have changed significantly in the past 5 years.
  • Predictions about UC and collaboration point to businesses' growing appetite for collaboration.

Gazing into a crystal ball and predicting the future is problematic, especially when it comes to technology. Five years ago, the (then) CTO of Cisco, Padmasree Warrior, took up the challenge and made five predictions on the future of collaboration. With the help of the latest IDG survey on UC and collaboration, let’s take a look at how those predictions have unfolded.

Prediction #1: Collaboration networks will be to enterprises what social networks are to consumers

In 2009, social networks such as Facebook and Twitter were enjoying explosive global growth. The human need to share stories, information, and conversation was answered by fluid and intuitive technology that removed barriers and democratized communication. Today, most organizations are still on the journey but interestingly over 50 percent have deployed UC and collaboration technologies that enable analogous consumer experiences (social tools, instant messaging, content sharing, etc.), but in an enterprise context.

Prediction #2: It’s about the experience

Padmasree Warrior recognized that: “Ultimately, user experience is what matters.” In fact, just under 50 percent of organizational leaders consider their organizations to be highly effective in enabling collaboration.

Prediction #3: Innovation will be redefined by operational excellence

This prediction was focused on two options — either fostering innovation or driving operational excellence. Ms. Warrior suggested that collaboration will no longer make this an either/or choice. Today, business leaders state that UC and collaboration technology are key innovation enablers that improve operational efficiency.

Prediction #4: Organizations without boundaries will drive the next wave of innovation

Organizations must look beyond the corporate firewall and encompass stakeholders outside the company but inside the value-chain. According to IDG, the appetite for external collaboration is still growing on the list of business priorities.

Prediction #5: Information technology will evolve into an information fabric

The fifth and final prediction referred to a Deloitte report on “cognitive overload.” Essentially, the report reflected on human attempts to try and make sense of unsorted information (now known as ‘Big Data’) and a raft of multi-channel communications in order to make decisions. Perhaps human beings may ultimately decide to take control of their own information fabric on their terms.

How will the future of collaboration impact your organization?

Check out the current business priorities and drivers of future demand identified by IDG in the AT&T Global UC & Collaboration Survey Infographic.

Lisanne Powers Unified Communications Lead Marketing Communications Manager AT&T About Lisanne