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The Future of Collaboration July 28, 2009

Posted by Darwin in applicant tracking, business software, collaboration, enterprise software, futurism, technology.
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collaborationCollaboration:  it’s a term that suddenly became trendy with the rise of new cutting-edge web 2.0 software solutions.  Enterprise collaboration is a type of back-and-forth communication to promote innovation or take a product to the next level.  Collaboration is the glue that holds many businesses together, allowing owners, managers, employees, clients and customers to see eye-to-eye.

Back in the day, collaboration involved calling someone up and speaking on the phone, but nowadays it usually only takes a few mouse clicks to get a point across.  New web applications that span various industries are taking collaboration to a new level, setting a new bar in ease-of-use and efficiency.  The future of enterprise collaboration is also promising, with the potential to streamline and personalize data transfer.

I’d like to take this opportunity to take a look at the present and future of cutting-edge collaboration technology. Where does enterprise collaborative technology stand today? And what sort of advancements can we expect at the turn of the 22nd century?

Today, much of the front line collaborative technology is built on the trail that social networking cleared. Although social networking specifically refers to online communities like MySpace and Facebook, it also can be used as a broad term for any sort of ‘social’ collaboration.  In the past, technology most often trickled down from high-tech business and government projects to mass consumer products (like the conception of the Internet itself). Social networking curiously took the opposite route, starting as a consumer tool for teens and geeks and slowly re-inventing itself as business communication technology.

Not only do businesses around the world utilize their own proprietary collaborative networks, they also are starting to adopt consumer Web 2.0 tools. Google Documents is a great example of this.   It began as Google’s anti-Microsoft word document processing application, but has since evolved into a collaborative tool that businesses and consumers use to share data.

From the Google Docs site: “Google Apps lets us centralize and consolidate information, simplifying our company’s internal communication process and giving us better control over our business.” Alejandra Cifuentes – IT Manager for Takami, Restaurant and Food Services

Various other collaborative software tools allow businesses in every niche industry to efficiently share information across their network of employees.  Newton Software is another great example of an innovator.  As a developer of applicant tracking and recruiting software solutions, one of Newton’s primary goals is to simplify the line of communication between recruiters and hiring managers.  By making this collaborative process more efficient, the whole hiring process benefits.

So what does the future of collaboration hold? The Internet is such a powerful communication tool that it’s hard to imagine any sort of collaboration existing outside of our current ‘www infrastructure.’   Think ahead to when the ‘www’ may no longer be relevant. Perhaps instead of domains and urls, we instead will be accessing information via thought command.  Imagine accessing sites and information just as you currently access your memories.

Speaking of memories, want to play back that first kiss and share it with your closest friends?  Simply access it via your embedded neural chip and send it up  into the cloud, where your buddies can access it and relive the memory along with you.  On the business side of things, meetings can once again get up-close and personal.   Meet, greet and collaborate wherever and whenever you want.  Your client likes the beach?  Set up your meeting on two solitary hammocks in Fiji.   Or maybe have the meeting round-table style in the great hall of a European castle.

Although the future of collaboration might sound a bit intimidating to you and I, it will certainly be commonplace for the coming generations.