Jiva Technology

Why Collaboration Tools are a big thing.

It took me a while, but about five years ago I realised that for all its rational, think-things-through image, the tech industry was as prone to fads and fashions as … well the fashion industry. As Erlich, occasional wearer of the Steve Jobs turtle-neck on HBO’s Silicon Valley will tell you, there are times when ‘social’ is hot, there are times when B2B is top of the investment pile and there times when its ‘all about mobile’, but there’s always something thats the flavour of the month, the thing to be in.

At the moment, you could say that collaborative tools are one of the hottest spots in tech. Sharepoint has over 50m licenses out there, Slack became the fastest company to reach unicorn ($1bn valuation) status and Atlasssian just got their IPO away to great fanfare. All the old school tech companies like Adobe and Citrix are rummaging through the closet to find product that can be re-purposed as a collaborative platform.

Under normal circumstances, I’d be thinking the only way from here is down. There will be a new ‘hot sector’ along any time soon and collaborative tools will become yesterdays man. But in this case, that would be a shame. Collaborative tools really are a big thing and here’s why: for all the talk of creative spark and the lone genius, the academic literature suggest that most innovation comes from teams, not individuals. If that’s the case, then the more that we can do to help people link together and work together over a distance, the more innovation we will get.

That’s important, because in my experience, if you want to work with people who are genuinely in the forefront of their field, then these days you’ll find they’re spread pretty far and wide. That means you either need to spend a lot of time on a plane (expensive, time consuming and bad for the planet) or you need to work on your remote working skills. Working in geographically dispersed but high performing teams means good collaboration tools. That means the likes of Confluence and Slack have a rosy future (assuming they can execute).

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