The Social Collaboration Software Market is Toast

Posted by Bill Cushard on December 09, 2014

by Bill Cushard (@BillCush)

The social collaboration software market is big and set to boom, growing at 43% annually and on track to reach $4.5 billion by 2016, according to IDC. There are many good reasons for this growth, including the confluence of cloud technologies, freemium business models, and the consumerization of enterprise applications. Most importantly for businesses is that social collaboration tools can improve productivity by as much as 25%, says a McKinsey Global Institute report. This has been great news for tools like Yammer, Jive, Chatter, and the rest of the "enterprise 2.0" movement.

But the story is not all roses:

  1. Many social collaboration tools are just one other system to log in to, taking people away from applications in which work actually gets done.
  2. Not surprisingly, many of these tools struggle with adoption.
  3. In fact, research on enterprise software adoption consistently shows that effective software usage barely gets to 50%.
Vendors are clamoring to integrate with enterprise applications, and managers and consultants are begging employees to use these tools, like parents trying to convince children to eat their vegetables. Certainly, these tools can increase communications, if people actually use them, but that doesn't solve the other two problems that these systems take people away from their work and are just one more place to log into with yet another password to remember. No thanks. I’ll stick with revising documents in email.

Collaborating on work should not be separate from work

While the social collaboration software market is focused on trying to solve the adoption problem, Atlassian has spent the last 12 years building products to help teams collaborate, build software, and serve customers better. In other words, Atlassian did something different from what all the other enterprise social networking companies did. It created collaboration products in which people actually do their work – there is no “other" place to log in to or one more password to remember. By doing so, Atlassian solved the adoption problem.

The social collaboration software market is not going to know what hit it.

On September 9, 2014, Atlassian held its annual Summit Conference, at which it made six important announcements showing further evidence that Atlassian is changing the way people work. And while many people outside of the software development community may not have heard of Atlassian yet, they will, and soon. The company built its business, and crossed the chasm, by creating world-class collaboration software for software development teams. Today Atlassian products have expanded to accommodate the needs of every team – including business teams. Atlassian co-Founder and co-CEO Scott Farquhar made it clear that Atlassian is focused on building enterprise-ready collaboration software to help teams improve productivity: "There’s only one company that wakes up every morning and thinks about teams, and that company is Atlassian."

Not just about software development teams, Atlassian now focused on every team

Atlassian customers are collaboratively writing HR handbooks, transparently tracking employee service requests, writing and reviewing sales proposals, and forking, branching, and committing code within Atlassian products. You cannot do all of that on an enterprise social network. Enterprises that are struggling to convince people to use the enterprise social network, when it is not part of their normal workflow, are eventually going to throw up their hands and call Atlassian. And I don’t think the social collaboration software market is going to see it coming.

Topics: Customer Success, Tech, Enterprise Software, Atlassian

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