Social and Collaboration Market Forecast Released

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The pandemic in 2020 altered the long-term course of social and collaboration technology. In 2019 — when the words most commonly attached to “remote” were “village” and “island” — social and collaboration tools were mostly targeted at office-based workers. And despite many happy customers and a variety of use cases, this market was underperforming since it was difficult to do an ROI on “better collaboration.” It was difficult to persuade management to sponsor a virtual water cooler when the real water cooler was over in the corner! Well, by 2020, the word “remote” was most commonly attached to “learning” and “working” (see Oxford Languages). Social and collaboration products went from “nice to have” to “must have” in just a few weeks. And much of that newly remote work is going to stick around. A hybrid flexible workforce is the future of work. This new direction is reflected in our new social and collaboration software market forecast.  The report shows that the pandemic bent the long-term curve of this market upward, resulting in the five-year market growth increasing from an estimated $2.1 billion in our 2019 estimate to $3.0 billion today.  The net effect is expected growth from an estimated $3.5 billion in 2019 to $6.9 billion by 2024. We found that the need to support remote work during COVID-19, as well as social software integrations within other enterprise applications, is driving significant growth. Social and collaboration are a composite market, since it consists of several sub-markets that don’t directly compete with each other. The biggest segments are employee communication applications, enterprise social networking, and a catch-all segment for social intranets. There are some other collaboration tools that we track in separate forecasts: collaborative authoring (as part of office suites), workstream collaboration, and content collaboration tools.  Yes, there are now a lot of ways to collaborate with teammates and associates virtually. And no one of them is enough to encompass the full set of needs any organization has.
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