IDC Identifies the Next Opportunity for Collaborative Computing

FRAMINGHAM, MA – MAY 15, 2001 – At a time when the largest segment of the collaborative applications market, integrated collaborative environments (ICE), is maturing, a new opportunity is presenting itself to the collaborative applications marketplace. Companies who can bridge the gap separating most collaborative applications and business process applications will help a larger group of end users to collaborate more effectively than ever before, according to IDC.


IDC has coined the term "contextual computing" for this new approach that will be the key to bringing collaboration to the masses by enabling people to be more interactive and collaborative in many different business situations. Contextual collaboration will give employees the power to leverage corporate information, immediately reach out to colleagues and partners in their ecosystems, and make decisions.

"Most collaborative applications are deployed in the same environment and often for the same end users as are other business applications, yet collaborative and business applications are almost always separated by different information repositories and user interfaces," said Mark Levitt, research director for IDC’s Collaborative Computing program. "What needs to happen for collaboration to rise to the next level and reach a much broader audience is for collaborative functionality to be available as an integral part of business applications and Web sites."

"Contextual collaboration will usher in a tighter integration of existing offerings with business process applications like customer relationship management (CRM) and enterprise resource planning (ERP) applications. Application developers will also take a modular approach to collaborative products and hosted services to make it easier to embed collaborative functionality on an as-needed basis within specific business contexts," said Robert Mahowald, senior analyst for IDC’s Collaborative Computing program. "People will have a better window on corporate information and a clearer path to discussing that information with the right people to make quick, informed decisions."

IDC’s new bulletin Contextual Collaboration: On Tap, Targeted, and Inside Web Sites and Applications Near You (IDC #B24573) looks at new opportunities for collaborative computing. The bulletin defines contextual collaboration, outlines the benefits for end users, explains how vendors can move their products toward contextual collaboration, and provides examples of vendors who are already moving in this direction.

To purchase this bulletin, contact Cheryl Toffel at 1-800-343-4952, extension 4389, or at

About IDC

IDC is the foremost global market intelligence and advisory firm helping clients gain insight into technology and ebusiness trends to develop sound business strategies. Using a combination of rigorous primary research, in-depth analysis, and client interaction, IDC forecasts worldwide markets and trends to deliver dependable service and client advice. More than 700 analysts in 43 countries provide global research with local content. IDC's customers comprise the world’s leading IT suppliers, IT organizations, ebusiness companies and the financial community. Additional information can be found at

IDC is a division of IDG, the world's leading IT media, research and exposition company.


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