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M-Files, develops solutions to the problem of different data sets stored in a variety of silos by enabling users to find data use metadata driven search and enabling those users to pull all that data together.

Google’s G Suite, like many other productivity suites, has always struggled with the problem of data silos. Pulling M- Files and G Suite together through the new M-Files for Google G Suite offers a powerful way of managing this problem by bringing a bunch of new technologies to bear on this old problem and, in doing so, pulls all the different parts of G Suite tighter together.

Using collaboration and content creation with artificial intelligence (AI)-assisted document management, workflow automation and rich metadata capabilities along with enhanced security, governance and compliance capabilities it enhances G Suite’s collaboration and compliance capabilities.

In practical terms, this means that in a single step, users can save important emails, along with attachments, from Gmail to M-Files, with metadata for long-term preservation and better team access. It also enables users to convert native Google documents to PDF or Microsoft Office file formats and save these renditions to M-Files, providing a full audit trail.

But that’s not all. While the compliance elements alone make this an interesting release, the addition of AI-driven automated tagging not only provides access to data wherever it is located, it also offers-up that content in context and according to users’ access rights.

More to the point — and this will be a major advantage — the new release enables IT to connect G Suite applications with other business systems and repositories, such as Salesforce and network folders, without requiring migration. The result is that organizations gain visibility across enterprise systems with the ability to access email and documents in one place using the familiar Google G Suite interface.

In the context of ongoing competition between productivity suites, this is a significant addition for G Suite. That is not to say that G Suite is not already a strong alternative to the likes of Office 365 or Slack’s collaboration abilities, but for enterprises that have multiple data repositories — and lets fact it, who doesn't — this provides not only a way of unifying access to that data, but also enables G Suite users to access that data from a single place, which has the effect of tightening the link between individual G Suite tools as well as providing access to data stored in other workplace apps or platforms.

Digital Workplace Plagued By Unapproved Apps

Many enterprise managers suspect some of their workers are using unapproved collaboration apps, and research from Unify Square appears to confirm those suspicions. In fact, according to the Teamwork and Collaboration: Rise of Millennials and End User vs. IT Discord (registration required) report, millennials are twice as likely to use unapproved collaboration apps in the workplace.

The problem for companies is that many of them have invested heavily in tools like Slack or Teams and for workers to be bringing unapproved apps into the enterprise defeats the purpose of those investments.

This is particularly true when you consider the security implication of exchanging enterprise data through unapproved channels.

As collaboration tools like Slack and Teams become more popular, collaboration across the enterprise will inevitably evolve, and companies need to be strategic about deployment.

The research was done to understand how end-users are employing applications like Microsoft Teams, Slack, Zoom and Workplace, and the benefits that each generation realizes from their use. The market for these kinds of applications — workstream collaboration (WSC) and unified communications (UC) — is large and growing. According to the report, IDC estimates that the market will be $3.2 billion annually by 2021. Consequently, as the market continues to grow and evolve, the discord between IT and end users is magnified.

To complicate matters further, the workplace is changing. As more and more millennials enter the workforce, the way end users go about their daily jobs is changing. The findings of the research are surprising and should help in making decisions about developing digital workplaces:

  1. End users are relying on a different set of applications than the official collaboration and communication apps that IT teams have deployed.
  2. 85% of end users report using multiple collaboration app platforms.
  3. While the overall consensus is that things have improved as a result of the use of the primary UC or WSC apps in use, there was not one category in which users overall responded that things were now “much better” as a result of their use
  4. The lack of appropriate management for many WSC and UC apps, coupled with the large number of them in use, may be extending the utility of email as a platform for communications and collaboration despite its shortcomings.

Workers Use More than Two Collaboration Apps

The Unify Square report is not the only noteworthy research published recently. Okta has published its fifth Businesses @ Work report, which looks at how organizations and people are working and reacting in the digital workplace. This was a large survey of Okta’s 6,500 customers to find out what apps they are using. It found that despite the massive investments in workplace suites like Office 365, G Suite and other productivity suites, many workers are also using other collaboration apps.

Take for example the use of Teams. The research showed that many businesses that subscribed to Office 365 also use Slack and Zoom, despite having access to Microsoft Teams. The report presents and analyzes data from Nov. 1, 2017 to Oct. 31, 2018.

There is good news for everyone here. It shows that Office 365 increased its lead and continues to dominate the total pool of apps by number of customers, and it's growing its active unique users by 55% year over year. While G Suite’s user base is growing more quickly than Office 365’s, at 116% year over year, Okta's survey found that 67% of survey respondents still prefer Microsoft Word over Google Docs.

However, while these results were to be expected, what also emerged was that 76% of Okta’s Office 365 customers have one or more apps that are duplicative of apps offered by Microsoft. Over 28%, for example, are chatting on Slack. Nearly 24% are connecting with their colleagues on Zoom, while over 28% of Okta’s Office 365 customers are “double bundling” themselves.

One other figure that enterprise managers should note is of Okta's Office 365-subscribed customers using Slack increased from 28.1% to 31.2% between October 2018 and June 2019. Among the same group, Zoom use rose from 23.7% to 29.6% during the same period.

While the report shows it's unlikely the big players will be toppled, it does indicate that companies will support apps with overlapping capabilities once workers are prepared to use them.

Microsoft Releases Content Camera

Larger vendors keep building up collaboration apps, take for example Microsoft Teams, which this week added a new meeting room capability, Content Camera. 

First previewed in March at Enterprise Connect, Microsoft is now rolling this feature out a as part of a Microsoft Teams Rooms Update. A Microsoft blog explained: The room user experience is simple: during a meeting, a presenter uses the console to select the Content Camera and from there the app can intelligently detect, crop and frame the whiteboard. Content drawn on the board is shared with remote meeting participants.

Remote attendees get a clear view of the whiteboard even when a presenter moves around in front of it, which makes the presentation easier to follow and keeps everyone engaged.

Capacity Raises $13.2 Million

Capacity, which recently rebranded from Jane.ai, has just closed a $13.2 million Series B, funded entirely by Midwestern private investors and angels.

The workplace startup pulls organizational data together into a platform that makes company information more accessible to people inside the company.

Alongside Capacity’s name change, the company opened its platform to let developers connect apps to the Capacity network so that more information can be integrated. The newly announced funding round will enable the startup to continue driving product adoption in new markets and brings its total raised to more than $21 million.