Let's get together! Why integration is the key in social collaboration

By Angela Ashenden posted 12-16-2015 07:06

  

Earlier this week, I published a blog outlining my top 5 social collaboration vendor trends for 2016, with number #4 focused on the continued investment by collaboration vendors in providing integration with other technologies, in three particular areas:

 

It's an area of capability that I've long been championing with vendors, because I believe integration is one of the key attributes that will help social collaboration technologies become more widely adopted within organisations. Interestingly, it's often not top of the list of priorities for organisations selecting their social collaboration tool in the beginning, but as the initiative matures, and the organisation becomes clearer in the ways in which the tool can add value across the business, the importance of integration increases dramatically. Part of this is to improve ease-of-adoption, for example to enable the collaboration tool to be inserted more naturally into the individual's day-to-day activities (making it harder to avoid), for example bringing conversations to them via email, or in their most-used business application, as described in the extract above. But ultimately this is about embedding collaboration into their daily routine, making it something that is not additive to what they need to do, but an integral part of it. It comes back to the idea that better collaboration is about bringing about cultural change, shifting the mindset of leaders and employees alike to recognise the power and benefits of a more open, interactive way of working, and to do it without thinking about it.

 

In terms of vendors' commitment to this need for broad integration support, it's perhaps not surprising that it's been the application and infrastructure vendors (see my social collaboration vendor landscape report for an overview of the key groups of suppliers in this space) that have been key innovators here; their prioritisation of integrating social collaboration with their own business applications (e.g. Salesforce, Oracle & SAP) or integration technologies (e.g. TIBCO) is clearly a no-brainer in the context of their own upselling and cross-selling opportunities, but it has helped to provide focus around some of the key use cases for social collaboration within organisations, and has driven other players to provide comparable integrations.

 

It's true that there's still plenty of room for improvement across the board, but as the emphasis on specific use cases for social collaboration in vendor marketing and sales strategies increases, integration in all its guises will remain a vital investment priority for vendors. And that is very welcome indeed.

 




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