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Gartner Forecasts Worldwide Social Software and Collaboration Market to Grow 17% in 2021

The worldwide social software and collaboration market is forecast to total $4.5 billion in 2021, an increase of 17.1% from 2020, according to the latest forecast by Gartner, Inc. The need to support remote work during COVID-19, as well as social software integrations within other enterprise applications, is driving significant growth.

“Many of the existing use cases propelling the social and collaboration market, such as coordinating a distributed workforce and providing a ‘virtual water cooler,’ got a sudden jolt from the pandemic,” said Craig Roth, research vice president at Gartner. “Social and collaboration tools went from a ‘nice to have’ to a ‘must have’ within a matter of weeks.”

Even as some workers begin to return to offices, COVID-19 has caused a permanent change in workforce structure that will require additional investment in technologies to facilitate, capture and organize open conversations and information sharing.

Another key trend driving market growth is the integration of social software as an embedded capability in other applications and platforms. Gartner predicts that by 2025, nearly 65% of enterprise application software providers will have included some form of social software and collaboration functionality in their software product portfolios.

“Providers of packaged business applications, such as ERP and CRM software, have previously offered basic social and collaboration functionality. However, they are now facing heightened expectations about the seamless inclusion of nonroutine tasks, such as conversations and marking up content, within their process-oriented products.

“Partnerships between software providers will take on more importance, as a close relationship is required for tight integration of disparate application functions,” said Mr. Roth.

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