Digital Collaboration In 2019 Is No Longer A ‘Nice to Have’

Greg Moran
12/26/18 1:43 PM

Sometimes the exciting things that happen are the obvious ones. It's always great when we get surprised by something new and cool. While that happens pretty often in the consumer world, it almost never happens in the corporate world. While 2018 was no exception to that rule, something really exciting happened that we've all been anticipating for a decade—consumer collaboration technology finally went mainstream in the enterprise!

Even though applying mainstream technology to the enterprise seems obvious, the transition has felt as slow as waiting for the melting of an iceberg the size of Texas.

With products like Workplace by Facebook, Microsoft Teams, Yammer and Slack are finally enterprise ready, 2018 has been the year of earnest widespread deployment.

  • Workplace by Facebook has enjoyed widespread acclaim. Enterprises enjoy widespread adoption of the tool with ease—due to the similarity in look and feel to Facebook.
  • Microsoft Teams was not well understood going into 2018, but by Microsoft Ignite, every single enterprise we talked to was both on the journey to Microsoft 365 and planning to implement Teams to some degree in either late 2018 or 2019.
  • Slack, after viral growth in the SMB, VC and developer world, took a huge $500M investment on a $7B valuation—either someone knows something we don't or a lot of really smart people think this enterprise collaboration thing is ready for a massive and rapid scale up.

This is not a ‘so what’ moment. I spend my days working for a company called Wiretap, and our team spends day in and day out working in this space. Our product, Aware, specializes in intelligent data classification of digital conversations in next-gen collaboration tools.

What we've learned from analyzing over 3 billion interactions on enterprise collaboration platforms is that people collaborate way more and in different ways than they ever did on email. This is because email was designed to replace inter-office mail—a formal mode of communication that involved typing a memo and launching it inside a goofy manila envelope with a weird string closure mechanism made famous as the prop Steve Job's used to launch the MacBook Air.

These next-gen collaboration platforms were designed from the ground up to emulate how we chat with each other and the traffic on them reflects that—chatty, informal, wide-ranging, emotional.

In short, it is a much better proxy for how we actually communicate with each other.

While these platforms miss much (but not all) of the non-verbal content in collaboration, we have taken a huge step forward. These tools have and will massively impact how we work together (in fact they already have, since there is huge viral usage of consumer platforms in business).

They will make you better as a company and—with the right set of tools—do so without increasing your risk profile (in fact, they will likely take your risk down materially as users migrate to sanctioned and managed solutions from shadow IT and consumer solutions).

Whether you are in a line organization driving a top and bottom line or a staff organization trying to support, protect and enable the line, now is the time to advocate for these platforms in your company.

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