Enterprise collaboration software market to reach 'tipping point,' predicts Strategy Analytics

Cisco, Citrix, Google battle for collaboration software, service market share

The enterprise collaboration software and services market will reach a "tipping point" in two years as cloud-based collaboration software-as-a-service (SaaS) revenue surpasses on-premise software revenue, predicts research firm Strategy Analytics.

The market--which includes email and calendaring, instant messaging and presence, Web conference and social collaboration software and services--generated $7.4 billion in revenue last year, up 12 percent year-over-year, according to Strategy Analytics.

Firms vying for market share include Cisco (Nasdaq: CSCO), Citrix (Nasdaq: CTXS), Google (Nasdaq: GOOG), IBM (NYSE: IBM), Intralinks and Microsoft (Nasdaq: MSFT), the research firm noted.

"It makes a lot of sense for collaboration, which frequently involves people from different organizations on mobile and non-mobile devices, to be served up by trusted third party service providers with expertise in networking and connectivity," commented Andrew Brown, executive director of enterprise research at Strategy Analytics.

Forrester shares Strategy Analytics' enthusiasm for SaaS and collaboration. According to a survey of 631 IT decision makers in eight countries conducted last year on behalf of Cisco, Forrester found that "companies will increasingly leverage the cloud to access collaboration services--including voice-, Web-, and videoconferencing."

At the same time, Forrester does not expect that cloud computing will replace traditional collaboration service models; "rather, old, new and hybrid models will coexist for a time."

Forrester predicts that the cloud-based collaboration services market will increase at a 15 percent compound annual growth rate (CAGR) through 2018. "Cloud will also enable the development of new services like desktop IP videoconferencing and accelerate the adoption of other collaboration capabilities," it forecast.

Information workers are expected to increasingly use collaborative services on multiple devices, such as smartphones, tablets, PCs and laptops. "About half of the firms surveyed believe that the smartphone is best suited for video and mobility services, while nearly two-thirds believe that the PC is best suited for productivity, collaboration and email," the report noted.

Forrester also found that IT professionals are actually out in front in promoting collaboration services, although they prefer to get those services from a single provider.

The move to the cloud is accelerating as more enterprises use the cloud to enable various services such as collaboration. As Mark Levitt, director of business cloud strategies research at Strategy Analytics, observed: "collaboration cloud services, combined with real-time and mobile capabilities, empower workers without requiring that corporate IT staff continue to be collaboration and messaging system experts."

For more:
- see the Strategy Analytics release
- read the Forrester report

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