Table of Contents
Content Collaboration Platforms—2016 Buyers' Guide : Document Collaboration for the Internet Era
This Frost & Sullivan market insight provides an overview of the content collaboration market, which includes the business-grade tools necessary to support creation, modification, editing, sharing and storage of business content. This study defines the content collaboration market, identifies the current market trends and that drive the current market, as well identifies future trends that will affect end user adoption and the competitive landscape.
Along with defining the market itself, this research study provides competitive profiles on a number of the top competitors in the content collaboration market today. Finally, this research suggest that other vendors of collaboration tools could extend their products to compete in the content collaboration the market.
Business collaboration tools are most often associated with real-time unified communications applications. The entire unified communications (UC) stack, including telephony, instant messaging/presence, group chat, conferencing tools, and mobile applications are all designed to enable business users to connect and communicate without needing to be in the same room. However, connecting users is only half of what is required to ensure effective collaboration. Business content such as word processing documents, spreadsheets, images, and presentations, are typically created by individuals, yet are destined to be shared and modified by other people both within and outside of an organization.
Real-time UC tools only partially address the way content is edited, approved, and maintained. Content collaboration happens both in real-time mode, with users discussing and modifying content at the same time and/or location, and asynchronously, whereby users each contribute to a shared piece of content at varying times and locations. Tools and services that facilitate and optimize content collaboration integrate closely with real-time UC tools, but stand on their own as part of a greater unified communications and collaboration (UCC) application stack. Historically, content collaboration has been focused on two technologies: network storage and virtual private networking (VPN). Network storage, either on corporate servers or dedicated network attached storage, enables content sharing across local area networks (LANs).
Desk-bound office workers can upload files to a virtual work space shared with colleagues, allowing them to open and edit content at any time. As an alternative to copying files to a physical media such as USB flash drives and then hand-delivering the file to a colleague, network file sharing is highly efficient. Network file sharing was later extended to remote or highly mobile users through VPN access. Using a VPN, organizations can replicate the “on-network” experience for remotely connected users, however accessing network storage across wide area networks (WANs) or the Internet can be a slow experience.
Alternatively, many of the business processes around the creation, editing and approval of business content rely heavily on email. As its use has evolved from simple text-based messages to include file attachments, the fundamental design and nature of email precludes it from becoming the most effective tool for ongoing collaboration and instead could represent a security risk for sensitive business data. File attachments in an email are static captures of business content at the moment it was sent, creating an issue of version control. In a worst-case scenario, if a piece of business content is sent to multiple collaborators, each could make his or her own edits to that content before sending a new attachment to the others. Without an effective way to manage these edits, dozens of versions of the same piece of content emerge that need to be rationalized into a final version.
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