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Editor's note: The Forrester Research analysts quoted in this report were among the speakers at Forrester's 2011 Content & Collaboration and Business Process Forums, where they discussed these issues in more detail.



By most accounts, the business use of mobile devices is growing. Armed with their smartphones and tablet PCs, employees are finding new and innovative ways of getting their jobs done from wherever they happen to be. Often, this requires working together—collaborating—to strategize and improve productivity.

But while mobile collaboration can be good for business, it requires the IT organization to deliver services that put greater demands on the IT infrastructure.

Mobile collaboration: Definitions and trends

"Mobile collaboration means working together wherever you are. It doesn't matter where your location is," says Ted Schadler, a vice president and principal analyst at Forrester Research. "You're able to get the communication and the resources you need to work together."

Among the trends driving mobile collaboration is the fact that consumers are, by nature, social and collaborative. As they become accustomed to using those technologies in their personal lives, they want to use the business equivalents on their mobile devices.

"Increasingly, people are wanting to use their mobile devices—smartphones, touch phones, tablets—to do all the same things they can do on their computers," says Schadler, who is co-author, with fellow analyst Josh Bernoff, of "Empowered: Unleash Your Employees, Energize Your Customers, Transform Your Business" (Harvard Business Press, 2010).

Applications for mobile collaboration

Forrester identifies eight types of applications that businesses should consider as they begin to mobilize their collaboration strategies.

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