Consumer tech greens up the enterprise "collaboration desert": Gartner

Social networks take on the capabilities of traditional enterprise tools

Consumer technology is leading the way in greening the ‘collaboration desert’ that currently exists in the enterprise, according to Gartner analyst, Robin Simpson.

Speaking at the firm’s Symposium in Sydney, Simpson said consumer technology had developed a range of collaboration capabilities in recent years and there was lots of potential for those tools to fill the collaboration gap in the enterprise.

“The tools that are emerging are converging to support a number of interaction styles, such as email, instant messaging and social networking — and they tend to be on the mobile platforms first,” he said.

Gartner has taken wireless email off the hype cycle, a sign of the technology’s maturity. The “hot new rising stars”, according to Simpson, are mobile social networks and the tools that enable interaction.

“Some of these are consumer-based, but a couple of tools are also emerging that are specifically for the enterprise.”

Simpson calls the rise of these tools “the democratisation of personal messaging”.

“Enterprises are now starting to push email down much lower into the organisation,” he said. “They’re not always giving everybody a Blackberry; if your employee already has a phone you don’t want to buy them a corporate phone, so managers are starting to enable the technology.”

Social networking tools are taking on some of the capabilities of traditional enterprise tools, according to Gartner, and the influence of a younger workforce will also drive communication and collaboration.

“For younger people, Facebook is their email system,” Simpson said. “They have different expectations and experiences of how they communicate.”

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