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Gartner tells IT executives how to enable enterprise collaboration

Matt Kapko | May 14, 2014
Gartner analysts encourage CIOs and other IT executives to think more broadly and holistically about a digital workplace driven by mobile, social, cloud data technologies.

Collaboration is the essence of teamwork and probably the most important reason businesses build teams in the first place. Ironically, however, many companies struggle to embrace and enable collaboration among today's digital workforce?

Analysts, CIOs and other IT executives at Gartner's Portals, Content and Collaboration Summit last week discussed why businesses are failing to meet this challenge and offered advice on how to develop a more enriched digital workforce.

Enterprise Collaboration
"Because we have access to very good tools in our private lives we expect the same level of functionality and performance in business," says Jeffrey Mann, a vice president of research at Gartner.

Workers are often disappointed by legacy applications that can drag down productivity and workflow. As a result, Mann says, many employees have stopped using these ineffective apps or at least avoid using them as much as possible.

These issues are ignored at every business's peril, Mann says. According to a recent Gallup poll, only 13 percent of employees are engaged at work. "What you'll find is that disengaged employees will potentially be killing your business," he says.

Content can become the "connecting tissue" between employers, customers and business goals, but if company data is not available at the right time in the right context it will slow down the machinery of an entire business, says Mann. "Just like oil, if it stays buried underground well there's not going to be any value created from it."

Susan Landry, managing vice president of Gartner Research, reminds her colleagues that IT has been digitizing business since the dawn of computing. "We've been spending billions bringing things together, [but] our data and logic is scattered all over the place," she says.

Experiment With Mobile, Social, Cloud and Data
Enterprise collaboration is being transformed by the nexus of mobile, social, cloud and data, says Monica Basso, a research vice president at Gartner. While the hurdles to success may be daunting, she encourages businesses to not be shy about experimenting with newer tools and resources.

"Collaboration can turn into something more contextualized and more impactful in terms of the business," she says. "This new collaboration is going to be a differentiating factor for the competitiveness of your company going forward."

Basso says four trends — mobile devices, BYOD, mobile apps and personal cloud storage/sharing services — are driving the adoption of mobile collaboration today.

By 2017, Gartner expects 3 billion new device units to be shipped annually, bringing the total installed base to more than 8 billion connected devices by then.

"Collaboration styles or apps that used to be available on PCs are going to be transferred or need to be transferred to the mobile environment," she says.


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