I thought this was a good article from the perspective of the collaboration market overall and where things are at today.  Quotes from Gartner's Gene Phifer and IBM Lotus's Michael Garbett fill in the picture on changing trends and market opportunities.  

The article is especially timely for me as it highlights many of the issues discussed when I presented on collaboration and social software at IBM's Innovation Center here in Chicago last week, as well as a collaboration/strategy view for IT students at the University of Illinois Chicago over the weekend.  As the article refers to "digital natives", I was not surprised to find in a class of 30 undergraduate students, 25 of them were active on Facebook and other online communities (more of the surprise was that the number was not 30/30).

The blending of personal and work lives is a reality in the workforce, according to Phifer.

People still create offline and closed format documents and organize their personal folders. But to facilitate work, people are also forging formal collaborative environments. They share bookmarks, join communities and discussion forums, create wikis, maintain blogs, send e-mails, and subscribe to RSS and atom feeds.

The importance of collaboration and communication during a global economic meltdown is highlighted by the fact that travel budgets are often reduced and there is a greater need for increasing productivity at a lesser cost. Enterprises need to foster social software for interaction and thus the need for innovation.

There are also more people joining the workforce who are "digital natives" or folk born in the Internet era and thus live their lives in this whole new world of social interaction.
The students I met with over the weekend wanted to know what the challenges of work/life balance and work-from-home are like, along with a sense as to the distribution of cloud vs. premises-based IT resources in the future.  This is also discussed in the article:
The use of the Internet or the "cloud" for satisfying computing needs of users delivered as a service has been in the horizon of the IT space for some time.

"It all boils down to economics," said Michael Garbett, director for worldwide sales collaboration of Lotus Software, IBM. "To look to outsourcing or moving to the cloud for certain capabilities to cut services may be viable for certain services."

He, however, said a lot of organizations may look to a hybrid model. Do they need tools for Web conferencing, e-mail, webinars, file sharing and transfer? The key, he emphasized, is to leverage technologies on communication and collaboration to help people work smarter.
Link: Philstar.com: IT companies play defense in a tight economy >

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