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Butler Group: Current Document Collaboration Sucks


A new report, just published by Butler Group, a European IT research and advisory organisation, argues that employees spend up to 25% of their working day on non-productive, document collaboration related tasks.

ebizQ received the following details:

The report, ‘Document Collaboration’, goes on to say that organisations risk a great deal more than poor business performance by not managing the production of their high value business documents, and that the time has come for Document Collaboration to move on from simple intra-company collaborative exchanges to more sophisticated inter-company collaborative experiences.

“Organisations are now looking to extend the reach and range of their Document Collaboration capabilities in order to support high-value, low-overhead joint ventures and collaborative commercial undertakings”, says Richard Edwards, Senior Research Analyst at Butler Group and co-author of the report. “However, technology issues, business constraints, and information formats combine to make the job of Document Collaboration a much more arduous one than it should be.”

Butler Group maintains that the business value of any collaborative endeavour is embodied within the business value of the end-product. “In the ultra-competitive ‘new world of work’, Document Collaboration tools and technologies must support, encourage, and facilitate high-value interactions in a manner that ensures information confidentiality, integrity, and accessibility.” says Sue Clarke, the report’s co-author and Senior Research Analyst at Butler Group.

A common business function links all organisations: Document Collaboration

“Documents, in whatever format they may exist, are an integral part of every business and institution, and organisations that cannot manage the production of documents effectively and efficiently risk a great deal more than poor business performance.” says Sarah Burnett, Senior Research Analyst at Butler Group and the report’s third co-author. “Organisations cannot exist without documents, and therefore the efficacy with which documents are created, revised, and published should be of utmost importance to business managers.”

Despite disappointments of the past, organisations have not yet given up on the quest for the perfect solution to aid collaboration

Business managers continue to seek out new means by which that most expensive of all human corporate resources – i.e. the information worker – can become more efficient, effective, and productive. At the start of the decade, corporate IT managers were focusing on internal corporate collaboration solutions, content management, and Web conferencing products, and as a result the Enterprise Content Management (ECM) market sprang forth. Today, however, senior managers are looking for ways to reduce the excessive cost and complexity of high-level business interactions, and those scenarios relating to Document Collaboration in particular.

Butler Group estimates the size of the global Document Collaboration segment of the ECM market to be US$586 million in 2007

There are many overlapping technologies within the Content Management market that address the collaborative document production process, and based on figures produced by parent company Datamonitor, Butler Group estimates that the global market for Document Collaboration solutions will be worth nearly US$800 million by the end of 2010.

The analysis presented within Butler Group’s report suggests that this is still an immature sector of the software industry, and that new entrants to the market are very likely over the next 12 months. For this very reason, the report contains profiles of over 20 vendors offering ancillary products, technologies, and services relevant to this topic.

Microsoft looks set to do battle with ECM vendors in order to become the Document Collaboration platform provider of choice

Whilst competition to dominate the collaboration market intensifies amongst large players such as Microsoft and the ECM vendors, Butler Group believes that disruptive solutions based on Peer-to-Peer (P2P) functionality and new Web-based technologies will force both vendors and organisations to re-think their strategies over the coming year.

Sarah Burnett sums-up Butler Group’s view by saying, “Document Collaboration functionality will continue to be componentised over the next 24 months, allowing easy integration with Line-Of-Business systems and Enterprise Applications. In the meantime, however, more standards will emerge to improve collaboration functionality amongst products.”

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