2020 was a transformational year for collaboration applications as organizations everywhere turned to “work from anywhere” business models to meet the challenges posed by the COVID-19 pandemic.
As a result, worldwide collaboration application revenues grew to $22.6 billion in 2020, an increase of 32.9% over 2019. According to a new forecast from International Data Corporation (IDC), this was the fourth consecutive and most significant year of double-digit, year-over-year growth for the market.
“While consumers and early adopter businesses had widely embraced collaborative applications prior to the pandemic, the market saw five years’ worth of new users in the first six months of 2020,” said Wayne Kurtzman, research director of social and Collaboration at IDC. “This has cemented collaboration, at least to some extent, for every business, large and small.”
The top 5 collaboration application vendors in 2020 based on worldwide revenue were Microsoft, Google, Zoom, Cisco, and Slack. Combined, the top 5 vendors captured 64.2% of the market revenue — 4.0 percentage points more than 2019. While all the top 5 vendors experienced double-digit year-over-year revenue growth in 2020, IDC estimates Zoom led the pack in annual growth with 277.1%.
Looking forward, IDC expects a new generation of collaboration tools will enter the market — not necessarily to replace the leaders but to augment them with new features. This will include new document and asset types that provide more ways to collaborate, document, and measure what is happening in the enterprise. Other key developments expected in the collaboration application market include:
- Deep integrations with third-party applications will increase insights, minimize context switching, and, according to IDC research, provide faster time to market or project completion.
- New metrics will emerge to measure performance in the fully connected enterprise, augmented with collaboration and intelligence.
- Artificial intelligence (AI), Machine learning (ML), and automation will move beyond workflows to remove friction from work for nearly every function.
“The future of collaborative applications will see the introduction of more intelligence, new and more visual ways of connecting with each other, and measuring true value for customers,” Kurtzman noted. “Fast-evolving features, intelligence, a need to work together from anywhere, and a still growing demand will drive collaborative applications to become a $50.7 billion market by 2025.”