Collaborative suites: use value and alternatives

14 avril 2021 | ACTUALITÉS, Cigref in english, Communiqués, Publications du Cigref

Cigref publishes the report “Collaborative suites: use value and alternatives”, the result of the work of its working group led by Stéphane Rousseau, Chief Information Officer at EIFFAGE and Vice-President of Cigref.

Collaboration, the keystone of the digital enterprise

Electronic messaging, which was the alpha and omega of corporate communication for over thirty years, has seen its use stagnate and its image tarnished in recent years. It has gone from being an effective aid to a source of frustration due to the need to devote more and more time and effort to managing its growing flows of messages and decreasing relevance: the number of emails continues to increase while their value decreases. This has led to the advent of new tools for collaboration and exchange, offering an alternative user experience, taking advantage of other communication vectors derived from the private sphere: real-time dialogue, voice, image, video, co-editing, task sharing, mobility, etc.

Already underway well before the health crisis, we are seeing a major change in the way companies work, with teams physically dispersed over different sites, countries or time zones, and the disorganisation of organisations. Performance now finds its source in collective intelligence, shared expertise, transversality, the ubiquity of professional activity and porosity with private life

The use value at the heart of the concerns

These developments now make collaborative tools critical, moving them from the status of tools or resources to that of applications with recognised use value. The investment capacity of hyperscalers quickly transformed the supply landscape into a duopoly. However, the growth in the functional scopes of these tools, the need for deployment flexibility, users’ maturity, their diversity of profiles and the high expectations in terms of user experience, take-up and autonomy vis-à-vis major suppliers are all reasons that encourage companies to take back control of their collaborative suites.

Open source: the emergence of a third way?

Cigref’s members wanted to examine the potential existence of a third way, whether through the emergence of a best of breed, the advantages of which have been widely demonstrated. The working group’s research shows that while the migration and deployment aspects are significant, there is a credible alternative offer covering a broad collaborative functional spectrum, but which requires designing a system of interoperable modules. Depending on its culture and operating methods, each company will be able to choose solutions from among the proposals available on a dynamic European market.

The report in brief

This report deals with the use value of collaborative suites and the conditions for the emergence of alternatives (open source as well as proprietary) to the Microsoft O365 and Google Workspace duopoly. It shows the key points of dependency on these major suppliers, and possible strategies for developing modular approaches that allow for the integration of certain open source components into collaborative suites. The working group developed a typology of alternatives to the main components of collaborative suites:

This report provides the keys to:

  • Identifying the various enterprise collaboration tools for which there are alternatives and to analyse their use value.
  • Assessing the conditions for the emergence of alternatives to monopoly collaborative software suites (Office 365/Google Workspace) and knowing how to implement these alternatives (change management, cultural/technical/organisational aspects, etc.).
  • Determining the criteria for adopting these alternative systems (reliability, security, compliance, interoperability, etc.).

The Cigref report “Collaborative suites: use value and alternatives” is also available in french

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