A survey from Forrester Research, Inc. (Nasdaq: FORR) finds that firms are more concerned than ever with tactical collaboration tools like email, instant messaging, and Web conferencing that allow employees to more quickly and easily work together. As firms adopt these individual collaboration components, they must think beyond tactical quick fixes that leave them with silos of technology. Forrester today introduces its Collaboration Platforms TechRankingsTM, an objective, scenario-based product testing and evaluation process, to help firms select the single, unified solution that best meets their collaboration needs.

This year’s Collaboration Platforms TechRankings evaluation includes the following four market leaders:

  • IBM Lotus Notes and Domino 6.5.1
  • Microsoft Windows Server System and Office System 2003
  • Novell GroupWise 6.5
  • Oracle Collaboration Suite Release 2

“We see the collaboration platform market as a two-horse race, with IBM and Microsoft continuing to be the dominant players,” said Nate L. Root, senior analyst at Forrester. “However, Novell and Oracle have an opportunity to leverage their strengths to capitalize on the confusion of their rivals’ major platform changes — Microsoft’s major revamp releases of Exchange and IBM’s forthcoming move away from Notes/Domino to the new Workplace platform.”

While collaboration platforms are generally defined as integrated systems of collaboration tools like email, calendaring, task management, document management, instant messaging, and Web conferencing, Forrester’s evaluation revealed that none of the vendors offer a truly end-to-end collaboration platform. Critical components, such as message archiving and virus protection, have been left to partners. While this allows firms to pick best-of-breed capabilities for these components, the price tag of an end-to-end collaboration platform must include third-party add-ons and the cost of integrating them.

In addition, enterprise instant messaging (EIM) and Web conferencing are currently semi-integrated into the platforms and a year away from true seamless integration. The evaluated products do not deliver interoperability between private EIM networks and all of the major public networks, such as AOL Instant Messenger and Yahoo! Messenger. Until the political issues keeping unification from becoming a reality are resolved, Forrester recommends that large firms augment their collaboration and EIM platform with a third-party “gateway” product. This will allow them to log IM messages on multiple networks without true interoperability.

The February 3, 2004 Forrester IdeaByte “Results From Emerging Technology Showcase: Team Collaboration Tops Attendee Concerns” is available at http://www.forrester.com/Research/LegacyIT/0,7208,33798,00.htm, and the TechRankings research mentioned in this press release can be found on www.forrester.com/TechRankings.

About TechRankings

Launched in October 2000, TechRankings evaluates more than 70 enterprise software products through rigorous hands-on scenario-based product testing, in-depth research, and objective analysis of global vendor offerings. TechRankings allows Forrester clients to use online tools to customize the research — and product evaluation rankings — to focus on the most important criteria and vendors. Forrester invites all important vendors, based on their product fit and momentum, to participate in each TechRankings evaluation. Forrester does not charge vendors in any way to participate.