Battle between enterprise social platforms and mails will continue in 2016

If we are to forecast enterprise collaboration's growth in 2016 then it still lags behind to emails.Not only cost, ease of use and duration are definitely two strong aspects of emails that are tough to beat.

It is true that as we step on 2016, we already have high end collaboration platforms available in the technology space that are indeed capable of matching up to your needs and demands, but then why is it still not there where it should be when it comes to adoption levels, especially in India? Well, the answer is definitely emails.

Subramanyam Putrevu, CIO, Mindtree, acknowledges the fact that enterprise collaboration tools are evolving faster than before but then he says that the major challenge is collaboration tools are not as easy as emails. “Emails are easy to use and furthermore, when it comes to collaboration, emails have become a de facto kind of tool for enterprises for a very long time now and hence employees are used to and comfortable with it,” says Putrevu.

Leaving out cost, ease of use and duration are definitely two strong aspects of emails that are tough to beat, but the story does not end here. There is a darker side to it as well which certain OEM and sellers are either not realizing or not willing to accept. They need to understand that collaboration platforms are not “a box of chocolates”.

Subramanyam Putrevu CIO Mindtree

“Yes, enterprise collaboration platforms are still battling against traditional means of communication like emails, the reason is, product companies or providers try to sell it like a box pack of chocolates. They try hard by all means to make prospective buyers taste it. I mean, sign a contract for good number of users and come on board for a year or so.  They forget that enterprise collaboration is simple in terms of technology but it is a critical decision for a company,” says Sanjeev Kumar, Director & CIO, ApOn India.

It is absolutely true that today enterprises do not want too much or too less. Instead a balanced approach is preferred for functionalities, costs, technology, change management and projected gains over a time period.  

Kumar believes that enterprise collaboration OEMs and sellers both grossly lag in creating a joint effort on need assessment, deciding success factors and coming out with a right recipe  that varies customer to customer and that ‘one size fits all’ approach does not work. 

Sanjeev Kumar director & CIO ApOn India

Today enterprises are going mobile and employees work on the go. This in turn has resulted in BYOD making its way into organizations. So, availability of enterprise collaboration platforms on different devices also happens to be a barrier which needs to be addressed in the coming year.

“In my opinion, unless the collaboration platform is available on the device of a choice it will not be my or any employees' favorite means to collaborate. For example if the platform that I provide for my people at office is not available on mobile phone it will never become a de facto where I can easily access and exchange information using smart devices,” Putrevu added.

It should not be a lesson learnt in time. Both CIOs and enterprise social platform providers should understand the needs of enterprises before implementing or helping implement a social platform, else the initiatives doom will be destined to happen.

“Success story of one company, one can’t cut and paste everywhere and go on selling. An unique and special effort is needed. Either such crafted decision should come from internal decision maker or strategic advisors. I have personally implemented a solution that is still number one in totality and it provides as many things, but needs improvement in customer connect,” Kumar says.

Kumar also adds that few OEMs think that they have engaged re-sellers and they will do all the jobs, including solution architecting, for them.