Digital collaboration platforms are flourishing as enterprise demand increases for productivity tools that enable team members in different locations to discuss ideas and strategies.
A new report from Global Market Insights projects the collaboration software market will see a 13% average compound annual growth rate from 2016 to 2024.
Collaboration tools include unified communications platforms that offer phone services, messaging, conferencing and more; enterprise social networks; content and project collaboration software and apps. Many of these collaboration platforms are cloud-based, enabling greater scalability and accessibility for remote and mobile workers.
One of the most effective collaboration tools — video conferencing — historically has been underutilized in enterprises due to a number of barriers, including poor performance, low employee adoption and cost.
However, video conferencing technology has improved greatly in recent years, making it not only much better quality, but less costly, easier to integrate and manage and accessible on multiple devices.
And just in time, because the Millennial generation that soon will dominate the workforce not only is used to video conferencing — through apps such as Apple’s FaceTime — they pretty much demand it.
A survey earlier this year by Redshift Research shows that 87% of Millennial workers want to work for a “video-enabled” enterprise, with 75% adding that poor video quality would be unacceptable.
Enterprises can only benefit by meeting those standards. As James Harkness writes in Dynamic Business, “Video collaboration is a hugely impactful tool for preventing ‘presence disparity.’ Being able to see others makes everyone on the video conference more engaged: If you’re a teleworker, you can’t be changing the laundry around or watching the footy like you could on an audio-only call where you are invisible. Not only does this make people pay attention, but it also helps to drive stronger team culture and unity. People work better together when nobody gets to be ‘anonymous.’”
All true. But video conferencing provides another benefit to the employee: It gives them invaluable practice in “sharpening up.” People on a video call are much more attentive and alert — OK, at least seemingly — than a group of people slouched around a conference table.
That’s almost entirely because when you’re on a video call, you feel as though everyone is looking at you, whereas when you’re in a conference room, the focus typically is on you only when you’re speaking.
Further, as video conferencing becomes even more commonplace, people who already know how to “present well” will stand out. So if you’re one of those workers who dreads the thought of that red light going on at the top of their laptop, it’s time to get ready for your close-up. You’ll be glad you did.