Our Top 5 Collaboration Predictions for 2021

2020 will hardly be remembered as a vintage year, but now it’s behind us we can look forward, start planning for the challenges ahead and predict how this last year has changed the world of collaboration and the trends we will see in 2021.

This year will see a lot of change geared towards improving internal processes and workflows to increase efficiency. While that is usually true the challenges most businesses face this year may even accelerate digital transformation plans to succeed in a difficult economic time.


1. Offices won’t be quite the same..

Keeping staff safe and productive is a real challenge during these times. Social distancing and COVID safety measures will be in place for at least the first half of 2021 and perhaps longer.

Some organisations have found remote working works well for them and keeps the costs of running an office down.

Some have seen the benefits but are missing connecting face to face and are planning to support a hybrid workforce in the future to reduce the amount of office space needed, but still provide spaces for those who wish to work.

But others still have struggled to maintain morale and good levels of communication and are desperate to get their staff back into the office.

This decision will be different for across each industry type and specific to the company, it’s leadership and company culture but all offices will change and evolve in some respect.

Adopting a hybrid workforce approach may be the most flexible and likely to be the most popular option, but it presents its own challenges to IT leaders who will have to consolidate their cloud solutions, securely, with their on-premises meeting solutions to offer seamless communications between those working in the office and those.


2. The year of connectivity and consolidation

Most workers and people in general are more familiar with videoconferencing and collaboration tools than they were at this point last year. Lockdowns and travel restrictions have forced most people to adopt new communication technology to stay in touch with colleagues and teams, as well as friends and family.

We will be relying on collaboration tools heavily again this year to allow us to do our jobs, work with our teams and stay in touch with our clients and partners. The rapid swing to dependence on videoconferencing will be forcing a lot of organisations to review their collaboration estates and some may find it is more dis-connected than they thought with cloud platforms adopted during 2020 now required to work with legacy equipment in meeting spaces.

With efficiency and keeping teams productive a key priority, the need to create a fully unified collaboration estate will be more important than ever.


3. Protecting User Workflows

IT departments have had to adjust to supporting their teams remotely and keeping them secure. Often overlooked is the need to understand and protect user workflows. Unfamiliar, incompatible, or hard-to-use platforms can drive users to different platforms, creating issues with shadow IT and security risks.

IT have reduced oversight with remote workers and the security risks caused by users adopting their own platforms can be high, we will see more IT leaders factoring user workflows into the digital transformation and collaboration plans for 2021.


4. Remotely deployed

Remote deployable collaboration platforms will continue to be popular in 2021 with so many remote workers for at least the first half of the year. Easy scalability will be in-demand feature and remote monitoring and analytics will see big growth as IT leaders try to shift from being reactive and catching issues before they develop.

With IT departments working remotely and only sending staff into offices to fix hardware or network issues, remote monitoring to identify faults and issues will be an even more essential tool to keep separated IT teams on top of potential issues.


5. Interopability

Continuing a trend we saw in 2020, platform and service providers are increasingly responding to their customer’s requests to increase interopability between their platform and others. The fact is with videoconferencing becoming such an integral communication tool, issues still exist in seamlessly bringing guests into meetings using their own chosen platform, or connecting with colleagues in other offices using different platforms.

For platforms such as Cisco Webex and Microsoft Teams, we expect to see more baked-in interopability and ways for users to easily join and bring in guests using other platforms or standards-based meeting rooms, and a move away from separate CVI solutions.