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Posted by TJ Keitt on September 28, 2010
For those of you who have followed my research of the collaboration software space, you'll find that I have argued that the real whitespace for vendors is in facilitating interactions between different companies (see examples here and here). This advice, though, has always been given in the spirit of helping vendors enter the market and tell a differentiated story; my goal is always to get product marketers away from spinning tales of travel savings (which everyone does). Recently, I finished a report that explored why intercompany collaboration is important to the actual running of a tech industry business. Like any good story, it's a three-part narrative:
While there are many process issues that hinder intercompany work between companies, collaboration technology vendors are only now starting to build toolsets that actually facilitate work between businesses. Of course, the product managers at these firms can't move fast enough because this is the next battleground of the collaboration software market: We see vendors starting to build customer and partner communities to interact with these constituencies for purposes of ideation and support. There are still issues that need to be sorted out by the collaboration vendor community, though: Standards, federation, and access control are but a few of the issues that hinder certain tools for intercompany collaboration. But the mandate is clear: Intercompany collaboration is a vital business necessity, and collaboration vendors have an opportunity -- an obligation -- to help their clients accelerate the associated business processes. The vendors that are slow to move will find they are left out as their competitors that can facilitate both internal and external interactions gobble up market share.