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Key Collaboration Trends for 2017

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In 1984, Marvel Comics creators Tom DeFalco and Herb Trimpe showed a futuristic version of Iron Man named, ‘Iron Man 2020.’

Having 2020 only three years away gives you a very different perspective on Arno Stark’s armor.  One that will probably have you laughing so hard that you would not be able to finish this post (which is why I opted not to include an image).

The key to reading and predicting trends are data points.  For DeFalco and Trimpe, their data points were severely limited back in 1984 as to what 2020 would bring (let alone what 2000 would bring).

For collaboration.  I have significantly more data points since I continue to speak to customers at different conferences, work with our sellers to understand feedback from who they’re talking to and I do a lot of reading and watching videos of the analysts who cover my industry.

So, with the exception of the fourth trend which I see as a bit newer, most of these are trends that I see continuing from previous years well into 2017 for collaboration.

Tools Must Conform To The Strategy

Every customer has a different vision of their IT strategy.  A different set of restrictions and requirements for their data governance and security.  A different idea of what they want and need to bring to their organization.

And they’re all correct, and will continue to be correct.  That trend will continue.

The shift to the cloud has opened up so many tremendous opportunities for IT to be able to bring not just solutions to current problems but to also pave the way for solving new challenges and developing new opportunities from new routes to market, new product ideas and even potential new revenue streams.

There’s a crossroads where the customer might consider changing course on their strategy to align with the tool because the tool isn’t flexible enough for their current trajectory.  Rewriting strategy brings with it a high level of risk.  It’s easier to find tools from industry leading vendors that have critical features like Application Programming Interfaces (APIs) and integrations with existing systems and making the tools work for the strategy.  Not vice versa.

Access, Access, Access

If real estate is all about ‘location, location, location’ than collaboration is all about ‘access, access, access.’

Access is about single sign-on (SSO).  How do my users at my company get into the collaboration solution in a secure manner?

Access is about all of my users being able to use whatever device they want to use for working with my organization’s intellectual property, while under the umbrella of IT’s management.

Access is about who has access.  Internal or external, are the right people being given access to content?  Granularity of access at this stage is critical.

So does your collaboration software allow for SSO, secure mobility and both internal and external access?

More Outside Cooks For The Content Kitchen

Moore’s Law, where Moore observed that the number of transistors per square inch on integrated circuits had doubled every year since their invention, is one of those things that people loved to quote; when it was valid.  However, now it’s not.

The same can be said with the phrase, ‘Too many cooks in the kitchen.’

Concept of crowdsourcingThe best content being built comes from having the right voices and perspectives; in particular the voices and perspectives both from within and from outside the organization.  Having the right people being able to join and having the right management system in place to manage it all will bring higher quality content.

The trend is going to be for more people to collaborate together, not less.  So a strong collaboration solution that is able to balance and manage the right users with the right access will be critical.

Convergence Is Not Just A River In Egypt

Along the lines of tools working together, there’s also a lot of tools out there.

So many windows.  So little time.

Interoperability is critical.  Ensuring that tools (and content) don’t become silos are essential to the success of collaboration.

Tools are only useful when they’re adopted and used.

So one of the trends we’ll see with collaboration is bringing everything together under one umbrella and one structure.

For now, consider these trends and if you’ve not done so already be sure to start your 30 day free trial of Box and see how you can implement content collaboration in your organization to take advantage of these trends.


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