Dec 12, 2019 What’s in Store for Collaboration in 2020?
2019 was a year of rapid transformation for workplace collaboration. Cloud platforms matured while the vendor landscape rapidly transitioned to a cloud-first approach. Video, after years of hype, seems to have finally cemented itself in both the desktop and meeting space. Programmable communications also continued to emerge, enabling support for digital transformation initiatives that blend collaboration, applications, and workflows. With 2019 almost in our rear-view mirror, what does 2020 hold in store?
Through our research we’ve identified several key trends that will both continue, and grow in 2020. In no particular order these are:
- A continued shift to the cloud. Our Workplace Collaboration: 2019-20 Research Study, based on data gathered from approximately 645 end-user organizations, showed that 19.1% had adopted UCaaS as their sole platform for calling, messaging, and meetings, while another 12.2% use a combination of UCaaS and on-premises platforms. In addition, more 63% are using or planning to use team collaboration, which is almost always delivered via the cloud. Of those using meeting applications the vast majority are using cloud-based services as well. We expect these trends to rapidly grow in 2020, especially the shift to cloud calling as more than 43% of those currently running an on-premises PBX plan to, or are evaluating, a move to the cloud
- Team collaboration applications are the Future of Work: As noted, 63% are now using, or planning to use team collaboration applications, but just 22.6% of companies doing so enterprise-wide. Our research shows two strong correlations with identifying quantitative business benefit of adopting team collaboration: Enterprise-wide deployment, and viewing team collaboration as a work-hub, the later defined as centralizing workflows, business application integrations, and real-time communications into a team space.
- Video continues to become pervasive: With just about all meeting platforms now video-first, video conferencing has finally entered the enterprise mainstream. Already nearly half of our research participants are connecting their existing meeting rooms to their new video-enabled meeting services. We’ll have more research to share on the spread of enterprise video in early 2020.
- Collaboration-as-a-Platform. Two converging trends are uniting collaboration with workflows and business applications: The growing availability of APIs and CPaaS services, and increasing hiring of developers into collaboration teams. Those that still view their communications and collaborations environments as stand-alone apps will fail to gain the operational efficiencies and improved productivity available via app-workflow integration
- AI continues to emerge. While we see AI rapidly transforming customer engagement, it has been slower to penetrate the collaboration market. Emerging features are often simply improving existing capabilities, e.g. through facial recognition, automatic speaker framing, improved noise cancellation, voice control, and so on. AI-enabled meeting assistants are starting to see growth, allowing for note-taking and capturing of action items. I expect in 2020 we’ll see a continued push to differentiate via AI, and more disruptive AI-powered capabilities enter the market.
Beyond these trends I think you’ll continue to see a renewed focus on operations, management, and security. Key topics of interest to our clients included E911, especially in light of new regulatory requirements going into effect in the United States in 2020, as well as performance and administration management, security, and PSTN connectivity. It continues to be an exciting time in our industry as the shift to software and cloud creates rapidly emerging opportunities to change. Stay with Nemertes in 2020 and we continue to share actionable insight into emerging technologies.