Published on December 13th, 2010 | by Isaac Garcia
Collaboration IS the Future of Work
Last week, I attended Dreamforce 2010 for an afternoon and participated as a panelist at the Gigaom Net:Work conference. At both conferences, the topic of collaboration was at the center of discussion.
At Dreamforce, outside the entrance to the Moscone Center was a large “Collaborate” sign that promoted Salesforce.com’s newest product, Chatter:
Kinda reminded me of the pictogram we use on some of our promotional t-shirts here at Central Desktop:
At the Gigaom conference, the entire topic of the day was collaboration. The panel I participated on was entirely comprised of collaboration software companies: Chuck Dietrich, CEO of Sliderocket, Aaron Levie, CEO of Box.net
and Andy McLoughlin, co-founder of Huddle. The main topic of the panel was about how businesses discover, try, adopt and buy collaboration software.
While each of our companies approach the market from different angles, there were a few themes that clearly stood out amongst us all:
1. Virality and the “inherently social nature” of collaboration software propels software both within and across an enterprise and beyond.
At its core, collaboration is the art of working with other people – whether those other people are our colleagues sitting right next to us, in the next office, in another city, the other side of the world, or whether those other people reside outside of our firewalls as a supplier, a vendor, a partner or a customer – in any of these cases, “working with others” is collaboration. And, the viral nature of collaboration software is redefining how people try, buy and adopt software from the bottom up.
2. We are in the midst of a revolution
Aaron Levie was right when he boldly stated, “We’re experiencing a revolution in the enterprise.” The difference between Lotus Notes and each of our collaboration software solutions is beyond the features – it’s the
revolutionary delivery model (the cloud and SaaS), the simpler user interfaces and adoption patterns (bottom up instead of top down). The business world is dramatically changing as a result of the cloud. The cloud is changing what applications businesses consume, how they consume them and why they get used and adopted.
3. Everything will be collaborative in the future
I think Chuck Dietrich summed it up best when he stated, “…this panel on collaboration probably won’t exist in 2-3 years because collaboration is inherent to everything. It’s like table stakes” (meaning, it’s obvious and pervasive). Storing apps and data in the cloud make it inherently easy to share and collaborate with others. Chuck even states that “…it might already be ‘table stakes.'”
The mere mention that cloud-based collaboration is becoming pervasive supports my theory that enterprise 2.0 (and collaboration), as an industry, are beginning to cross the chasm. When Microsoft is advertising about cloud
and collaboration during NFL primetime or when Novell is “going all in” with collaboration or when Salesforce.com’s flagship conference theme is “collaborate” – then surely the market is maturing and expecting collaboration to be part of their business in the future (now).