Future employees will face a very different work life from today – never tethered to one location and able to share and access knowledge more easily – thanks to the acceleration of consumerisation and the influx of devices and platforms entering the workplace, predicts Ovum. 
A wide range of interconnected, social, mobile and cloud-based collaboration platforms on multiple devices will enable employees to participate in the “shareconomy”, a key theme at CeBit last week.
Businesses must act now to adapt to this changing landscape or risk being left behind by both their markets and their employees, warns the global analyst firm.

Ovum has published its “Enterprise 2020” study into the future of enterprise collaboration and its role in fostering greater productivity and innovation. It has highlighted Citrix, Google, VMware and Yammer as the disruptive players leading the charge in this transformation.

These companies offer their own unique vision of how continued growth in enterprise mobility, the cloud enterprise application ecosystem, and the behavioural impact of social networks can enable businesses to function more efficiently and creatively in the future.

“The way in which we work will change dramatically over the next seven years, more than in the previous 30, meaning the enterprise of 2020 will need to be more agile and more responsive than it is today,” says Richard Edwards, principal analyst at Ovum.
“To remain successful, there will have to be significant change in operations, systems and cultural levels. By 2020, knowledge workers will need and want a set of tools far different to those of today, so for the CIO, the important choice will be which vendor to follow.”

But enterprises do not have to make such crucial decisions alone; the IT industry is already delivering tools for today and roadmaps for tomorrow.

Ovum’s study outlines the vision and roadmaps of the four disruptive players and provides guidance for the enterprise on the journey to 2020:

* Google – Google is at the apex of consumer Web behaviour, and this behaviour is finding its way into the enterprise and affecting employees’ expectations of the collaboration tools and connected devices they use for work. Google’s position across cloud services markets, mobility and social networking means that it brings a unique perspective on the road ahead for enterprise IT.

* Yammer – a true enterprise IT disruptor, Yammer has pioneered what social networking and collaboration can do in the enterprise, taking behaviours learned in the consumer space on platforms such as Facebook and converting them into business productivity and new models for management.
It is an exciting business with an exciting take on the future of work. Microsoft thought so too, acquiring it in the middle of this project and making it part of the Microsoft Office Division.

* Citrix – Citrix is evolving as the IT market evolves. A long established partner of the IT department, enabling it to increase the range and reach of enterprise applications, Citrix is also now also directly reaching connected employees to empower them to collaborate from anywhere, accessing apps and data across any connected screen.
Citrix’s goal is to bring its core capabilities in collaboration, mobility, virtualisation and cloud networking, to any business looking to strike the delicate balance between the governance needs of the IT department and usability and accessibility requirements of the increasingly connected employee.

* VMware – in line with the impact of consumerisation, VMware is transforming from an IT-focused organisation to one focused on the end user, enabling end users to connect to their data, applications and desktops from any device without having to sacrifice IT security and control.