I’ve been spending a lot of time thinking about how collaborative platforms are going to evolve or the next few years. After starting my vendor review series I was really able to get much more insight into what vendors are thinking and where they are going. I was also able to look at what organizations are doing that are actually deploying these collaborative technologies and strategies. Of course every emergent collaboration vendor has their own vision of where they want to go and where they see the future of collaboration. However, I believe the next evolution of these products is going to be to “smart” platforms.” In a subsequent post I’ll look at what I think some of the characteristics of “smart” platforms are but for now I just want to introduce the concept.
Currently many organizations that use collaborative solutions internally do see significant business value from their efforts but the platforms are still largely very manual. In other words the platforms we have today change where we work and allow us to work more efficiently. But these platforms are mostly just empty vessels which require work from employees to function. Basically we’re still driving Flinstone cars instead of the modern cars we have today.
So what could a “smart” platform look like or do?
A “smart” platform will make certain decisions and take actions on our behalf. For example this type of a platform might be able to allow us to drag and drop a document into our file storage system which then creates any necessary project groups (with proper taxonomy and naming conventions already built in) and invites all the right people without us having to do any of the work, it just “knows” who needs to be a part of that project. Another example might be that the platform “sees” the type of work that an employee is doing and automatically recommends a person to collaborate with or suggests additional relevant information that the employee might benefit from (with context around why). This platform will be able to, for lack of a better word, understand how individual employees work and will adjust accordingly. Another example might be that the platform dynamically adjusts what the user experience looks like or feels like based on how the employee uses the platform.
It’s funny, when SIRI first came out the first thing that I thought of were the enterprise applications. In fact I have a hard time trying to see a future where we don’t interact and get work done through our devices without using our voice. This is also what I think of when I see Watson, IBMs new super computer which is already making it’s way into the enterprise.
I personally find it fun and interesting to think about what the future of collaboration and work can look like. But, it’s interesting to do so without focusing on any limits that technology might impose. In other words assuming that anything can be done, how do you think work change over the next 3 years, what about 10 years?