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Team Collaboration Takes Center Stage

Team Collaboration AdobeStock_79567418.jpeg

Picture of business colleagues over world map
Image: Syda Productions -
In a presentation he’ll deliver Aug. 5 as part of the Enterprise Connect Digital Conference & Expo, Irwin Lazar of Nemertes Research breaks down the current state of play with regard to team collaboration. According to Nemertes data, 42% of enterprises currently have more than one team collaboration application. As to which applications currently serve as enterprises’ primary collaboration app, Microsoft Teams is the clear leader at 40.3%, followed by Cisco Webex Teams at 27%, Slack at 9%, and Google Chat at 8.5%.
Enterprise Connect has been using team collaboration as the term to describe this class of product for the past couple of years, and Irwin’s definition comprises these characteristics:
  • Contextual collaboration
  • Persistence
  • Integrations, integrations, integrations… and MORE integrations
  • Workflow optimization
  • Mobile friendly
Though “unified communications” still seems to be the umbrella term for communications platforms that reach beyond telephony, it seems likely that team collaboration will soon overtake UC as the default core system for enterprise communications — and then we’ll either refer to everything as team collaboration, or it’ll get sucked into the UC term.
Either way, team collaboration is where the action is these days when it comes to enterprise communications platforms, primarily of course because of the way the pandemic forced enterprises to roll out systems like Teams and users found these tools no longer just interesting but indispensable. The growing centrality of team collaboration to enterprise communications is probably what’s driving so many industry developments around it. Two, in particular, have recently made headlines.
In the first development, Slack — which arguably invented or at least perfected the concept of team collaboration — is pursuing a case against Microsoft in Europe for alleged anticompetitive practices. Slack argues that Microsoft’s bundling of Teams into Office violates European regulations. For us old people, the case hearkens back to the dawn of the Internet, when a very different incarnation of Microsoft was accused of similar tactics when it bundled the Internet Explorer browser into the Windows operating system.
Slack’s action clearly shows the stakes of the team collaboration battle, as does the most recent announcement from Google, which has long possessed most of the piece-parts of a team collaboration app, but didn’t have a unified product that competed head-to-head with Teams, Webex Teams, and Slack. Google made its move last week, announcing a new version of its G Suite of collaboration and productivity tools that unifies these tools in an experience that No Jitter blogger Angela Ashenden of CCS Insight described as, “a more integrated, unified, and seamless experience that reduces the context switching between different collaborative features and brings e-mail, chat, and meetings into a single experience.”
Perhaps the most interesting thing about Google’s take on team collaboration is that, as Ashenden pointed out, the centerpiece is Gmail. Slack famously spent its early years proclaiming itself an email killer, but time has shown that email is not going away, and remains most people’s single most important communications medium.
So the battle lines are drawn as the enterprise communications industry redefines itself yet again to meet the real-world challenges of a new era. I hope you’ll register for Enterprise Connect Digital Conference & Expo, where you can see Lazar tackle the most immediate iteration of this new struggle as it’s playing out for enterprise communications organizations. His session is entitled, “Survival Guide: Working with Multiple Team Collaboration Applications,” and you can sign up for free to participate in this and all of our sessions. I hope you can join us.