The rising tide of online collaboration is highlighted by a new infographic. But why are businesses finally turning to online collaboration tools? 

Most businesses know that online social collaboration tools can form part of the solution to inefficient working practices, but they’ve been around for ages and, for various hotly discussed reasons, never seem to have caught on.

Until, now, it seems

According to a recent McKinsey Report office workers spend an average of 28 hours a week writing emails, searching for information and collaborating internally.

Apparently, most of us prefer to use email rather than actually speak to a colleague, resulting in companies like Debenhams having to store 13.8 million new emails a month - a figure that’s increasing 20% year on year for the retailer., a UK-based business collaboration start-up, has just published an infographic (below) which states that 75% of businesses say online collaboration tools will be “important” or “somewhat important” to their business during the next 12 months.

Clinked's founder, Tayfun Bilsel, says his team has noticed a shift in attitudes during 2012:

We used to spend half our time educating clients about the benefits of social collaboration. These days, businesses are approaching us with clearly defined strategies for reducing overheads and connecting remote working teams. The market has grown up. 

These sentiments echo those of Aaron Levie, CEO of, who described how start-ups offering freemium, cloud-based solutions that also work across mobile have “exploded the size of the [enterprise collaboration] market”.

The rapid emergence (and acquisition) of start-ups in this scene is testament to the size of the opportunity. itself recently took another $125m in investment. It's a rapidly emerging industry, and as Forrester understated somewhat in a recent White Paper “there is a real and growing market demand for these tools”. 

There are several theories as to why online collaboration tools are taking off. Firstly, there’s the recession, which is forcing businesses to do more with less including, in many cases, getting rid of the office and relying on shared working spaces for collaboration.

Secondly, with more than 1 billion people actively using Facebook, we’ve all become more familiar with news feeds, activity streams and @mentions – common features of enterprise social networks.

Lastly, the tools themselves have got better. Many now integrate with Google Drive, offer seamless synching with Google and Outlook calendars, have mobile apps and provide highly secure document storage. Most are easy to set up and use and come with simple monthly tariffs.

Now that it’s been put on plate for them, it seems businesses are finally taking to online collaboration. State of Online Business Collaboration

Luke Brynley-Jones

Published 30 October, 2012 by Luke Brynley-Jones

Luke Brynley-Jones is Founder at Our Social Times and a contributor to Econsultancy. You can follow him on Twitter or connect via LinkedIn

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Comments (9)

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Adi Gaskell

Social media has far more potential to change how organisations work than it ever does as a 'marketing' channel.

Hopefully more and more organisations will begin to use it for that and truly become social businesses.

over 5 years ago


Anita Rothgiesser

Social collaboration and project mangagement platforms are definitely the way to go as you say. The sooner businesses actively adopt one of the many platforms and make it work for them, the better. It will increase productivity, reduce the need for endless emails and keep team members better informed on what is happening. Our team is spread over several time zones and would not function as efficently as we do if we did not use Tracky,, a social collaboration and project management platform.

over 5 years ago


Russell Pearson

'Recent'? That McKinsey report was out month's ago. There's a lot happening in the social business space that you guys seem to miss. It's not so much businesses that are waking up to this, but eConsultancy's turn to.


over 5 years ago


Stephan Jäckel Unternehmensberater AKQUIKON

Social Media or Social Business..... lets face that businesses do not have the processes that could handle a sound internal social collaboration via IT (social collaboration though happens for decades in companies through talking i.e. during lunch-time).

Even less so do businesses have processes that would allow to socially engage with customers. And NO, online-contests and discount coupons for fans are NOT the core of social business or social interaction.

It is sad to see that people chase platforms as "solutiuons" for what must be a 100 percent self-grown solution with no external code involved for if not form the very own code-competence of the company, where should its IT supported social interactions and qualifications come from?????

You can't buy being a social business you have to GROW INTO BEING a social business.

over 5 years ago



Right on. Love the stats and the infographics. Moving forward I think what we will see is niche collaboration apps for specific industries. We are working on one right now. It is called and designed for marketing professionals and agencies in mind.

over 5 years ago



Good article but the stupid addon on the left of the article asking me to like or tweet this article is a pain it is blocking part of the writing.

over 5 years ago


jin O., consultant at personal

Great infographic!
We've started developing a Collaboration System of our own that can sync with Evernote and other platforms to centralize infornation management. We will be launching this app called Phoenary this month and to hear feedback on how we can create a better alternative for everyone through a closed-beta release. Limited beta slots available.


almost 5 years ago

Andrea Francis

Andrea Francis, Growth hacker at Twoodo

Hi Luke! Very cool infographic, and even though it's a year later I'm sure that people are still relying on inefficient and messy solutions (email!!!) to get their work done. Google Drive is a pretty sweet tool that we use all the time and recommend to anyone who doesn't mind having their life synced to Google :) We're also a collaboration tool startup, using a hashtag-based system of organizing. It's like Twitter-meets-Facebook but for getting things done. Would you like to check us out? We're really enthusiastic to hear any feedback that you have!

over 4 years ago


Jason Dill, Owner at R-Hub

Online Collaboration helps businesses in better communication, improved project management, better workflow, better management of invoicing etc. Various tools like webex, R-HUB web conferencing servers, gotomeeting, gomeetnow etc. are used by businesses for collaborating online.

about 3 years ago

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