Collaboration is good business. Wired quotes a study by Aberdeen Next-Generation Communications observing that companies who prioritize collaboration increased their performance substantially over companies that did not. Moreover, Wired argues that collaboration, in addition to being a good team performance strategy, makes good practices visible, further driving performance. It is, therefore, an optimal business strategy.

Trends in Collaboration

So collaboration as a method is here to stay in the workplace. There are four key trends.

  • The first is technology news: Technologies abound that enable sharing and networking.
  • The second is demographics: Millennials, who are tremendous users of digital, will make up 75% of the workforce by 2025. Generation Z, coming behind them, has never known a non-digital world. Digital practices enable collaboration between offices, and between employees at the office and those who work at home.
  • The third is a flattening of the organization, from the pyramid structure of yore to a more team-like model in which team members approach the leader in terms of importance — or can become the leader, depending on the approach.
  • The fourth is the move toward increasingly flexible workplaces. Remote workers are likely to constitute more and more of an organization’s total. Teams comprised of both remote and physically present workers will become more and more common.

Digital Trends that Enable Collaboration

Because the preponderance of these trends is connected to the digital world, it is worth looking at specific digital trends. Here are the important trends for 2017.

  1. Cloud services are becoming more and more frequent, replacing company-specific platforms. Why? One crucial reason is that cloud services are viewed as able to keep up with proliferating security threats more effectively. Forty-five percent of people polled by Nemertes Research viewed cloud computing as more secure than on-premises systems. About 40% currently use cloud systems, as they can be more cost-effective and more flexible.
  2. Platforms that allow immersive group collaborations (“next-generation whiteboards”), already in use in 70% of organizations, will become more frequently, largely because they allow on-premises workers and virtual ones to communicate. The “whiteboards” are placed on walls and can be seen and utilized by both groups of employees at the same time.
  3. Video streaming will be used more and more in both customer interface area and internal corporate processes. Over 50% of companies use streaming video today. Employees can record videos as well as management. They can be used remotely. In addition, video streams and video from drones is increasingly used for security purposes.
  4. The functions for instant messaging, video chat and calling are more likely to be team-based rather than individually based. Microsoft, Apple, and Facebook all have applications for team messaging and chat, and apps like Slack and HipChat are increasingly used for business.

Collaboration is good business and it allows for the capture of good ideas and good processes. Many trends in collaboration partake of digital innovation and digital capture. Trends for the future will enable technology to make even more of a contribution.