The worldwide social software and collaboration market is expected to reach US$4.5 billion in 2021, up 17.1 percent from 2020, according Gartner.
Two key growth factors are the need to support remote work during COVID-19, and social software integrations within other enterprise applications.
“Many of the existing use cases propelling the social and collaboration market, such as coordinating a distributed workforce and providing a ‘virtual water cooler,’ got a sudden jolt from the pandemic. Social and collaboration tools went from a ‘nice to have’ to a ‘must have’ within a matter of weeks,” said Craig Roth, Research Vice President of Gartner.
Even as some workers start returning to offices, COVID-19 has caused a permanent change in workforce structure that will require additional investment in technologies to facilitate, capture and organise open conversations and information sharing.
Another key trend driving market growth is the integration of social software as an embedded capability in other applications and platforms. Gartner predicts that by 2025, nearly 65 percent of enterprise application software providers will have included some form of social software and collaboration functionality in their software product portfolios.
“Providers of packaged business applications, such as ERP and CRM software, have previously offered basic social and collaboration functionality. However, they are now facing heightened expectations about the seamless inclusion of non-routine tasks, such as conversations and marking up content, within their process-oriented products. Partnerships between software providers will take on more importance, as a close relationship is required for tight integration of disparate application functions,” said Roth.