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Gartner forecasts huge collaboration market growth, despite return to offices

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Although some workers are expected to return to their offices this year, many will remain remote or operate in a hybrid working model, driving significant growth in the social software and collaboration market.

This is according to a new report from analyst house Gartner, which expects the market to be worth $4.5 billion this year, representing a 17.1 percent increase over 2020.

It’s not just current communications and collaboration tools that will attract more users; social software will also become an embedded capability in other applications and platforms.

By the time we reach 2025, Gartner believes roughly two-thirds (65 percent) of enterprise application software providers will include some form of social software and collaboration functionalities in their products.

“Providers of packaged business applications, such as ERP and CRM software, have previously offered basic social and collaboration functionality. However, they are now facing heightened expectations about the seamless inclusion of nonroutine tasks, such as conversations and marking up content, within their process-oriented products,” said Craig Roth, Research VP at Gartner

“Partnerships between software providers will take on more importance, as a close relationship is required for tight integration of disparate application functions,” said Roth.

Collaboration tools went from being a nice-to-have to an absolute essential within a matter of weeks at the start of the pandemic, Roth noted. Covid-19 drove a massive surge in the usage of these platforms, with Zoom achieveing growth of 1,788 percent between February 17 and December 20 last year.