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New software and cloud trends support enterprise collaboration evolution

Digital transformation plans are becoming popular; and for some organizations, enterprise collaboration is at the heart of it all.

The days of collaborating only in the office with a set number of tools are long gone. Now, collaboration occurs between internal and external users, and employees often bypass IT to use the apps they want.

Communication tools need to adapt to these collaboration trends, said Nick Patience, an analyst at 451 Research, a tech research firm based in New York. Nearly one-third of organizations have a formal digital transformation strategy, and another one-third is in the planning stages, he said.

In a recent webinar, Patience described a hierarchy of enterprise collaboration. The largest tier in the hierarchy is the individual user who needs to collaborate seamlessly across devices.

The middle tier is teams and departments where employees want to collaborate across the organization. The smallest tier is cross-organizational where employees want to collaborate with outside users and not worry about security, Patience said.

IT decision-makers see file-sharing tools, such as Box and Dropbox, as the enterprise collaboration software that will have the most transformative effect on workflows, he said. Social networking tools, project management tools, and web and video conferencing are also expected to affect digital transformation.

Supporting enterprise collaboration with cloud infrastructure

A cloud-based infrastructure has become increasingly important to support the evolution of collaboration software.

The percentage of organizations that don’t use cloud services is declining, according to Melanie Posey, research vice president at 451 Research. Organizations are increasingly deploying software as a service, infrastructure as a service and private cloud platforms to support employee workloads and business apps. Posey said 76% of workloads are expected to run in the cloud within two years.

“This is where digital transformation comes in,” she said in a webinar. “Cloud is the foundation on which digital transformation is happening.”

Organizations seem to be split on their approach to cloud deployments. In a survey of 935 IT decision-makers, one-third reported deploying new apps they didn’t have before the cloud, one-third are modernizing their current apps by moving to hosted software and one-third are migrating existing apps to cloud infrastructure.

Hybrid cloud will come into play as organizations opt for IT environments that mix on-premises and cloud services. A second facet of hybrid will see organizations focusing on the interoperability of cloud environments, such as private and public clouds working together to deliver business apps, Posey said.

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