NextGen Collaboration Tools: Where Are the NextGen Tools?

Jun 6, 2023
NextGen Collaboration Tools: Where Are the NextGen Tools?
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“CIO Perspectives” is a white paper series by Mark Settle that explores the top-of-mind technical issues confronting today’s CIOs and IT leaders. Mark is a seven-timeCIO, a three-time CIO 100 award winner, and a two-time book author. His most recent book is Truth from the Valley, A Practical Primer on IT Management for the Next Decade.

There was rampant speculation during the Covid crisis about the ways in which knowledge work would be performed in a post-Covid world. Now we know the answer. Today’s workplace is physically dispersed, virtual-first, always-on and increasingly asynchronous and team-centric. The need for effective and efficient workforce collaboration has never been greater.

Unfortunately we find ourselves saddled with a set of 2019 era collaboration tools that have only been modestly improved since they were initially deployed on an enterprise-wide basis at the outset of the Covid crisis. Knowledge workers have generally adapted their work practices to the capabilities of these tools without questioning whether existing tools truly optimize their personal productivity and effectiveness.

The absence of disruptive innovation in this space is perplexing. Perhaps the majority of knowledge workers are experiencing the technological equivalent of theStockholm syndrome. They’re collectively trapped in an abusive situation and have decided that the only way of coping with it is to develop positive feelings towards the collaboration tech stack they currently have (i.e. their captors), even though they routinely express dissatisfaction with the limitations of existing tools.

The purpose of this report is to assess the progress that’s been made over the past year in bringing new collaboration capabilities to market regarding workplace communications, task prioritization and scheduling, and work life well-being. Recent progress, by almost any measure, has been disappointing. Perhaps we need a seismic event to dislodge the grip that current tools have on our thinking and creativity?  Perhaps the explosive interest in generative AI is that event?