# Collaborate to succeed

ISSN: 1741-0401

Publication date: 1 April 2004

## Abstract

#### Citation

(2004), "Collaborate to succeed", International Journal of Productivity and Performance Management, Vol. 53 No. 3. https://doi.org/10.1108/ijppm.2004.07953caf.004

### Publisher

:

Emerald Group Publishing Limited

## Collaborate to succeed

The collaboration market in the UK was worth over $2 billion in 2003 according to market analyst company Ovum. Ovum suggests that this will rise to more than$2.5 billion by 2006. Perhaps more significantly, it predicts that over this period time the market for next generation or advanced collaboration tools will double from $435 million to$923 million.

As ever, growth is being driven through a mixture of real progress on product architectures and functionality, and some vendor hype. Much of this hype has related to the business-to-business collaboration market.

Collaborative activity has been particularly strong in the areas of supply chain management, collaborative product development and cross-organisational team “work spaces”, as well as the integration of traditional collaboration functions into horizontal and vertically oriented business applications.

The rise of collaborative software tools has been rapid. Ironically, a number of these emerged from the domestic rather than business arena – peer-to-peer networking, instant messaging, etc. Others are more mainstream and include mobile computing, the adoption of real-time collaboration tools for e-learning, virtual meetings, and document sharing.

Perhaps what the adoption of such tools has dome most is to remind us that organisations typically work in teams, and that few important processes and decisions are made in isolation; rather they are the result of some form of collaboration, whether formal or otherwise.

The two leading players in the collaboration market are undoubtedly IBM Lotus and Microsoft. They are running almost neck and neck in the traditional enterprise collaboration market and both have taken a major share of the mid-size market. In addition, both companies are also starting to make a concerted push into smaller organisations.

IBM Lotus, with its Notes/Domino offering remains stronger in Europe than in North America since it seems to have particularly loyal customers. Recent pricing changes suggest that the companies have learned to live with one another – they are no longer pricing aggressively to convert accounts from one platform to the other.

However, both continue to look for migration opportunities wherever possible. The problem is that once a company “standardises” on either Lotus’s Notes/Domino or Microsoft’s Outlook/Exchange platforms as their collaborative backbone of choice, they rarely, if ever, switch over. The administrative “back office” burden is too great – and there are real fears about “frightening the horses” by giving users a new interface to learn.

Of course, the platform does not really matter – what matters is that an organisation builds an appropriate infrastructure to support collaborative working.