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Bluescape 2021 Predictions: Forget the tool - the future of work is the open platform

vmblog 2021 prediction series 

Industry executives and experts share their predictions for 2021.  Read them in this 13th annual series exclusive.

Forget the tool - the future of work is the open platform

By Peter Jackson, CEO, Bluescape

The direction of the collaboration market is shaping up for 2021, from Zoom's recent investment in a messaging upgrade to take on Slack to Google's integration of Google Meet into G Suite to Microsoft's placement of Teams in the core of its productivity suite. Technology giants like Google and Microsoft have been gearing up to dominate the collaboration market for years -  and Zoom is making a similar move, fresh off its recent success around the pivot to remote work. The coronavirus pandemic has forced remote collaboration across industries, which has further evolved the need to meet people where they are and turn to technology to continue work as usual.

The consolidated platform, not the isolated tool, will rule the next phase of business collaboration - and the real winners will be those that choose to prioritize open versus closed systems. Closed, proprietary systems are the birth of vendor lock-in and the death of market innovation, and the future of work must be open. With this in mind, here are three predictions for the year ahead: 

Data ownership and security will remain top priorities 

Companies shouldn't be held captive to the whims of a large corporation or have to worry about their data from any single app being compromised by breaches or government investigations beyond their control. Instead, companies should be able to own their data -- and that starts with democratizing virtual collaboration. The ability for people to own and control their data should be a human right. Open source collaboration tools have the potential to shift the balance of power, especially as users continue to expect more control over their data. As the future of work evolves, security and data ownership will always remain a top priority.

Antitrust will pick up steam

As the recent Big Tech hearing and the Justice Department's recent antitrust lawsuit against Google have shown, antitrust is increasingly on the minds of US legislators. In addition, private companies like Slack have filed lawsuits against Microsoft Teams for stifling competition.

In the year ahead, antitrust momentum will continue to gain ground as startups face the constant threat of Big Tech swallowing their products (especially as it relates to business software).

This isn't to say that major providers won't still own much of the market, but it does open the path for players like Oracle and IBM that have thus far avoided antitrust scrutiny. Businesses seeking cloud computing services will be happy to receive collaboration solutions as part of an all-up, full stack package, which is why it will be important to track alignments like Zoom and Oracle's recent partnership.

One tool won't be enough

In today's new working world, employees rely on multiple collaboration tools to meet all their daily needs (think Slack for messaging, WebEx for video conferencing, Google Suite for documents/decks, and Adobe Suite for visual, etc.). Rather than worrying about vendor lock-in from one large corporation, players with open ecosystems that let users choose their favorite collaboration solutions will increase in popularity. And with 71% of workers desiring a centralized place to view and manage their work, it's clear that having these solutions in one platform, rather than tool sprawl, is especially important.  

An open platform gives users greater flexibility and control over their systems. In 2021 and beyond, the real winners will be those that choose to prioritize innovation through collaboration. When we create open platforms that enable developers and user success, everyone wins. By doubling down on the open platform, the next phase of business collaboration will be stronger than ever before.


About the Author

peter jackson 

Peter Jackson is the CEO of Bluescape, which incorporates disparate technologies into one, unified virtual interface so that employees of Fortune 500 companies like Ford, Mazda, JP Morgan, Intel, Dell, and the U.S. federal government can work remotely in a seamless, safe and effective way. Its users can work on mission-critical projects leveraging all other technologies such as Webex, Zoom, Slack, G Suite, and more, while doing so from any location or on any device. Peter is a serial entrepreneur and advisor with a broad and deep knowledge of technology, business, and financial markets. Prior to Bluescape, he co-founded Ziploop Inc. (acquired by SNIPP in October 2017), served on the Boards of Eventbrite, DocuSign, and Kanjoya; took Intraware to IPO, and was President/COO of Dataflex (NASDAQ. DFLX) following its acquisition of Granite Systems, among other achievements.

Published Tuesday, November 24, 2020 8:01 AM by David Marshall
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