Forrester: the Future of Collaboration

Alex Mermod · November 7, 2009 · Short URL:

FORRESTER interviewed 3700 US & EU workers about collaboration habits and needs. Surprising results

October 2009 – For a new study titled « Building the Future of Collaboration », FORRESTER interviewed 3700 knowledge workers in the U.S. and in Europe to learn about their collaboration habits and their needs for improvement, leading to informative findings and a stunning conclusion.

The first finding is a strong intensification of remote collaboration in knowledge work on both continents. 80% of respondents collaborate every month with colleagues in remote locations and 67% with partners from other companies.

The second finding is that only one computer-based collaboration tool stands out and supports 77% of this collaborative work: e-mail. Other asynchronous collaboration tools (collaboration portals, discussion forums) come far behind (17%), but are still way better adopted than “Web 2.0” tools (Wikis, Blogs, Social networks) that don’t yet pass the 5% mark.

Will this change? Probably, but maybe not the way one would expect: a third finding is that professionals want improvements, but no radical change. They would rather keep the same tools and eliminate their most painful downsides: miscommunication, scattered files and delays awaiting replies from others. The most often cited areas for improvement are speed and efficiency of collaboration (68%) and the fluidity of the exchange of information and ideas (62%).

In summary, FORRESTER writes, “respondents hope tomorrow will be similar, but better”.

FORRESTER concludes the study by reckoning that knowledge workers still heavily rely on the e-mail and the telephone to collaborate, but that these tools don’t entirely satisfy their needs. There is interest for new improved methods for collaboration, but as the slow adoption rate of Web 2.0 technologies confirms, workers are not ready to radically change the way they work.

FORRESTER recommends that “enterprise IT promotes more effective collaboration that supports and improves existing email-based collaborative behavior while also facilitating the adoption of new and more efficient tools”.

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Calinda Software provides social collaboration solutions for SharePoint, to make SharePoint simple as social and efficient as collaboration.

Calinda Software’s solutions enable customers to create and customize Social Intranets, Enterprise Social Networks and E-mail Enabled Collaboration sites with Microsoft SharePoint easily and cost-effectively. All conversations are consolidated in a consistent, efficient and flexible collaboration stream. It includes patent-pending e-mail gateway technologies to collaborate with external guests without opening the firewall and giving direct access to the SharePoint sites.