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Cloud Collaboration Tools: Big Hopes, Big Needs

Cloud-based collaboration tools give enterprises valuable advantages, but vendors must step up now to answer some key questions on security and integration.

The online cloud-based collaboration services market is heating up. Established software vendors — think Google, Microsoft, and IBM, as well as new entrants to the space — are building impressive client lists that include large enterprises across the vertical spectrum.

This isn't just vendors trying to one-up each other — there's a real and growing market demand for these tools. A recent Forrester survey found that more than 56% of software decision-makers are using or would use software-as-a-service (SaaS) offerings to replace or complement their existing collaboration technology.

Why are online collaboration services so appealing? Because SaaS gives business leaders the following three advantages:

  1. Tools that make the business more agile and responsive. As Gap and Netflix recently demonstrated, customers who are informed and empowered with easy-to-access information can force a company to quickly change a strategic decision. To respond effectively, businesses need tools that allow employees to share information among themselves as well as with partners and customers. Online collaboration tools provide a centralized workspace that allows all participants in a company's ecosystem — suppliers, partners and customers — to work and innovate collectively.
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