I work for a big company that makes a great team collaboration tool, MiTeam. But it’s not the only great collaboration tool in the world. In fact, users have a lot of choices when it comes to team collaboration, and many of their best choices—such as Slack—don’t come from big companies at all.

Not that I’m suggesting that Slack is the only answer for collaboration. Or MiTeam, for that matter. Where collaboration is concerned, it’s clearly a multiple-choice market with everyone choosing the app that works best for them in a given situation. But there are trends emerging in the collaboration space that would seem to favor the little guys over the big guys:

Trend #1: Email use is declining

Unified email/voicemail is a big selling point for unified communications (UC) platforms, but it’s not such a big deal to the millennials who will soon make up the majority of the workforce. Many millennials rarely, if ever, check their voicemail (myself included) and email use is clearly declining in favor of text/IM and in-app communications.

Trend #2: There are a lot of good, free apps to pick from

Just as consumers don’t want to pay a premium for long-distance voice or texting, collaboration is quickly being perceived as a low-cost commodity because of the influx of free or “freemium” apps available. The big UC platforms will need to adapt to this trend by offering richer services and/or free features.

Trend #3: In-app is where it’s at

Even business users are drowning in apps at the moment, which limits the value of new apps—no matter how cool they are. The real value for collaborative apps lies in their ability to keep users in the app experience as long as possible, and that means adding more interoperable tools and feature.

Trend #4: App mash-ups will drive innovation

Expect to see UC features condensed into apps as developers spend more time combining collaborative functionality into a simpler, single-app interface. The UC environments of tomorrow will be as simple to use as an app like Slack is today.

What does it all mean?

The competition between larger UC platform providers and smaller app developers is clearly a good thing for collaboration because it accelerates innovation and fosters integration. After all, the “U” in UC is all about unity, and the more communications features you can bring into a single environment, the better collaboration you’ll have. On that front, expect both big players and smaller start-ups to meet somewhere in the middle as they look to serve customers better.

To see how one big company is adapting to the changing landscape, check out team collaboration tool MiTeam >


Daryl Reva

Vice President of Product Marketing

At the heart of it, Daryl is a cloud guy dedicated to helping companies and partners understand the value of the cloud. Today, Daryl looks to help businesses find the simple, flexible and scalable cloud-based business communication systems and applications that they want, and to help businesses get the most out of them.

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