Organizations are now looking to extend the reach and range of their document collaboration capabilities in order to support high-value, low-overhead joint ventures and collaborative commercial undertakings. However, technology issues, business constraints, and information formats combine to make the job of document collaboration a much more arduous one than it should be.
The business value of any collaborative endeavor is embodied within the business value of the end-product. In the ultra-competitive ‘new world of work’, document collaboration tools and technologies must support, encourage, and facilitate high-value interactions in a manner that ensures information confidentiality, integrity, and accessibility.
Document collaboration links all organizations
Documents, in whatever format they may exist, are an integral part of every business and institution, and organizations that cannot manage the production of documents effectively and efficiently risk a great deal more than poor business performance. Organizations cannot exist without documents, and therefore, the efficacy with which documents are created, revised, and published should be of utmost importance to business managers.
Organizations have not yet given up on the perfect collaboration solution
Business managers continue to seek out new means by which that most expensive of all human corporate resources – i.e. the information worker – can become more efficient, effective, and productive. At the start of the decade, corporate IT managers were focusing on internal corporate collaboration solutions, content management, and web conferencing products, and, as a result, the enterprise content management (ECM) market sprang forth.
Today, however, senior managers are looking for ways to reduce the excessive cost and complexity of high-level business interactions, and those scenarios relating to document collaboration in particular.
A multi-million dollar market
The size of the global document collaboration segment of the ECM market is expected to be $586 million in 2007. Furthermore, there are many overlapping technologies within the content management market that address the collaborative document production process, and it is estimated that the global market for document collaboration solutions will be worth nearly $800 million by the end of 2010.
However, this is still an immature sector of the software industry, and new entrants to the market are very likely over the next 12 months.
Microsoft looks set to do battle with ECM vendors in order to become the document collaboration platform provider of choice
While competition to dominate the collaboration market intensifies among large players such as Microsoft and the ECM vendors, disruptive solutions based on peer-to-peer (P2P) functionality and new web-based technologies will force both vendors and organizations to re-think their strategies over the coming year.
Document collaboration functionality will continue to be componentized over the next 24 months, allowing easy integration with line-of-business systems and enterprise applications. In the meantime, however, more standards will emerge to improve collaboration functionality among products.