Collaboration software helps companies to operate more efficiently by enabling both on-site and remote employees to easily cooperate on projects and communicate with little hassle.
With the number of employees working remotely increasing, the collaboration software market has grown to be valued at $10.48 billion as of 2020.
See below to learn about collaboration software and some of the key trends driving the market's continued growth:
Collaboration software helps teams to cooperate on files in various ways, depending on the permissions given to team members. Some files, for instance, are read-only files, while others can be edited. The overarching idea is that an entire team can collaborate on files and leave feedback if necessary. Collaboration software can also include communication features via text, audio, or video.
There are three main types of collaboration software:
Communication: Communication software allows for efficient communication and lets teams send messages to each other. This is a less cumbersome alternative to email. Communication apps are typically styled after instant messaging (IM) applications but are more business-oriented and allow for features such as reminders and file sharing.
Conferencing: Conferencing software lets team members video/audio chat with each other. Participants can also share files within conferencing software or share their screens.
Coordination: Coordination software lets organizations plan and organize their projects online using software. This software usually uses systems of lists to store information about tasks that need to be completed. Comments and feedback can be left on tasks, and the tasks can be assigned. Users are also usually able to share files.
The three types of of main collaboration software can also be further grouped into two broader categories, based on if they allow for real-time changes or not:
Asynchronous/non-realtime collaboration software: This software doesn’t allow for simultaneous collaboration by teams. There is usually one response at a time. Email is a good example that fits into this category.
- Synchronous/real-time collaboration software: Multiple users can collaborate simultaneously on files/projects with synchronous collaboration software.
5 trends in collaboration software
Uptick in telehealth usage
The COVID-19 pandemic made it difficult for patients to see doctors in person. In fact, some practices were restricted to mostly telehealth consultations, and their offices were only open to emergency cases. These telehealth consultations are carried out using specialized video conferencing software. While not every illness can be diagnosed or treated with a telehealth consultation, many of them can be addressed through telehealth. For this reason, the uptick in telehealth consultations may remain even after the COVID-19 pandemic.
More secure platforms
Unsecure platforms can hinder growth. After the COVID-19 pandemic hit, Zoom usage skyrocketed. However, this highlighted security flaws that hurt the massive growth the company experienced. Security will continue to be important for the growth of the collaboration software market. Companies like Microsoft have recognized this and implemented security features, such as end-to-end encryption.
Cloud computing facilitates the simultaneous nature of collaboration apps. While it is possible for organizations to collaborate using stand-alone software, having collaboration apps available in the cloud makes them more accessible and easier for employees to access the software they need to collaborate on projects. Cloud technology is also particularly useful for mobile field workers, since having access to cloud collaboration software means they can easily access information while on the go from their devices.
Simplifying collaboration software tools has had a big impact on their adoption and the growth of the industry. For example, Slack, an easy-to-use communications app, has over 10 million active users from over 150 countries. Slack's core functionality and interface is similar to a casual IM app. It also facilitates employee communication and allows for integrations with other services, like Google Drive and Asana.
Broad video conferencing adoption
Companies have realized that video conferencing can be more efficient than in-person meetings in many cases. While significant upticks in video conferencing have occurred in times of uncertainty, such as the Great Recession and the COVID-19 pandemic, the ongoing benefits are clear. Businesses are likely to continue to rely heavily on video conferencing, due to it being a convenient and efficient way to keep remote workforces connected.