Traditional collaboration systems, which were designed for internal use and email sharing, are being phased out. It is estimated that modern workers use at least 4 collaboration tools in the work-a-day life and Forrester and Gartner point out that 62% of the modern-day employees are mobile workers. Therefore, there is an increasing need for workers to access information from beyond the firewall. Traditional collaboration tools just do not meet the speed and efficiency requirements that are demanded. They also do not address the issues that are raised by employees who have brought in their own computing devices under the Bring Your Own Device (BYOD) scheme that was popularized by the modern corporations.
The cloud is consumer oriented and device independent technology in which collaboration is just a button click away. The internal and external applications work together or independently allowing the employee to juggle many tools to obtain the desired results. Cloud collaboration dissolves boundaries and gives the worker the ability to communicate/collaborate from wherever they are, when ever they want and from whatever device they have on hand. Interestingly, even in organizations where the cloud is yet to be adopted, employees are finding ways to use applications in the cloud, along with in parallel to traditional collaboration ecosystems.
Corporate collaborative ecosystems in the cloud may include data and document repository applications such as Content Management Systems (CMS) or Document Management Systems (DMS) and Customer Relationship Management (CRM). There may be communication tools such as Instant Messaging and Email. Yet, others might be powered by shared file storage solutions.
Cloud enabled collaboration ecosystems generically display the following characteristics:
1. Integrates with legacy systems
2. Cloud-enabled rather than cloud-based
3. Highly secure
5. Embraces a broad range of digital formats
6. Flexible deployment options
8. Enables administrative control
9. Works equally well internally and externally
10. Ease of use
Collaboration tools for the cloud open up new, cost effective ways of addressing problems of the dynamic enterprise, the mobile workforce, the globalized business. If cloud enabled collaboration ecosystems are adopted, (to enhance the capabilities of the traditional system) before a large scale adoption of the cloud, it enables the enterprise capitalize on it with a minimum upfront expense while testing the concept and familiarizing the workforce with its potential.